How to Motivate Yourself to Run

Running is a great way to stay in shape and the best part is that it is accessible to everyone. It is inexpensive, does not necessitate a gym membership, can be performed virtually anywhere, and requires no skill or athletic background. All that a runner needs is a good pair of running shoes and motivation. However, taking that first step out the door is often the hardest, especially when starting a running program for the first time. Anna Weber, an elite runner and member of Oiselle’s Haute Volée team, gives us some advice on how to motivate yourself to run.

How to Motivate Yourself to Run

1) Set Specific Goals

One of the greatest motivators for a runner is his or her goals. Think about what you want to accomplish as a runner. In the long term, completing a 5k, half marathon, or marathon may be a dream of yours. In the short term, running 20 minutes without walking may be your aim.

Develop a range of goals, spanning your health, lifestyle, and running achievements.  Be as specific as possible, as “run more” is not nearly as motivating as “run 3 times per week.”

2) Find Accountability

How to Motivate Yourself to Run | Anna Weber | Linked Fitness CommunityAfter you define your goals, find an accountability partner. This can be in the form of a person to run with, or someone who will simply meet you at a designated spot before heading off on his or her own run.

Another option for how to motivate yourself to run is to join a running club, which can typically be found at running stores, breweries, or fitness clubs.

3) Keep a Running Log

A great strategy is to keep a log of your running progress. Dedicate a journal, spreadsheet, or online tool for tracking your runs and workouts. Log information such as run distance, weather, how you felt, who you ran with, pace, or any other relevant data.

By keeping a training log you not only have a tangible way to see improvement, but knowing you will have to write a “0” on a day you had planned to run can be enough to get yourself out the door.

4) Hire a Coach

Sometimes, runners struggle with motivation because they do not know how to start running. Hiring a coach or finding an online training program can help by providing a specific schedule to follow.

Knowing that a coach is expecting you to complete the workouts adds an extra layer of accountability.

5) Sign Up for a Race

How to Motivate Yourself to Run | Anna Weber | Linked Fitness CommunityNothing gets a runner going quite like signing up for a race. The thought of showing up to the starting line not properly prepared can cause anxiety for any level of runner, beginner or advanced.

To spur your motivation, consider signing up for a local 5k two to three months in advance and work towards finishing the race without walking.

6) Hack your Dopamine Levels

New research has shown that dopamine levels in your brain affect motivation. There are many ways to increase your levels of dopamine to help you get out the door.  One way is to listen to your favorite “pump up” song; another is to visualize what it will feel like to reach a goal.

To keep dopamine flowing long-term, set small goals throughout your training and reward yourself every time an objective is reached.  For instance, treat yourself to that Venti latte when you successfully go for a morning run 3 times this week!

Follow these tips and you will no longer have to struggle with how to motivate yourself to run.

About the Author

Anna Weber - Linked Fitness Community Author

Anna Weber is an elite runner from Indianapolis, USA. In July 2015 she made the brave decision to put her PhD in Analytical Chemistry on hold so that she could follow her true passion – running. Since then she has worked harder than ever before and in October 2015 she qualified for the Olympic Trials at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in a time of 2:38:39.

Anna’s huge success is recognized by the running apparel company Oiselle, whose mission is to provide inspiration and support to women of all running levels. Oiselle have made Anna a member of their Haute Volée team which is their Elite Team.

To find out more about Anna Weber, you can visit her blog and her website

Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in Motivation, Running, Training


  1. Active Woman

    Great tips @aeweber! I particularly like the one about being specific in your goals. I like to plan what runs I am going to do for the week ahead and then I feel committed to doing them! 🙂

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