This may sound pretty obvious but… I love to run. A good heart-pounding, blood-pumping workout or relaxed, flowy mileage-builder can just really hit the spot sometimes, and I always feel better for having gotten it done. I’m sure you can relate. Heck, running is fun!
Except when it’s not.
About once every week or two I know I can count on having one of those days: I’m all dressed in my running clothes with a freshly-charged watch and absolutely no motivation to get my butt out the door to knock it out. There have been times when I’ve procrastinated a silly training run from 7am all the way until the sun starts going down. But hey, my house is spotless from all the procrastination tasks I did, so that counts for something… Right?
When my inner lazy runner makes her appearance I know I have to pull out all the stops to trick her into tackling a crucial run or workout. And don’t even try to deny it, I know you sometimes have the same problem, too. Lucky for you, I have a few Spearmint-tested, Spearmint-approved methods of self-coercion!
The best thing you can do to ensure you’ll get it done, is to anticipate the roadblocks. Think ahead about how your schedule will affect your motivation level and plan accordingly. If you know you have an early morning, it might be helpful to shift your run to the evening rather than trying to cram it in at 5am, when running is the last thing you want to be doing, and vice versa. For example, I’ve learned that I have to get up and run first thing in the morning every Friday, no matter what. Otherwise by the time 5pm rolls around and my brain is fried from the work week, I won’t want to do anything but head straight home, slip into my pajamas, and go into total couch-potato mode until Saturday morning.
Once you’ve got the timing down, make it mindless. In other words, do yourself a favor by planning your route and setting out your running clothes and trainers the night before so you don’t have to waste energy thinking about that stuff the morning of. Heck, you can even sleep in your running clothes if that helps.
Don’t run from home. I rarely run from my front door on days when I’m driving the struggle-bus because I know I’ll just be temped to turn around and head back to bed. Instead, get in your car and drive to a cool trail or park you know you’ll enjoy. You’re less likely to skip a run when you’ve already invested a little extra time and gas money into it. It really helps that I give myself time to grab a coffee on the way and be fully awake when it’s time to run. The promise of that coffee alone is enough to get me out the door!
Use the buddy system! Even if you run alone, make yourself accountable to someone. You are way more likely to get out and complete a run if you’ve told people you’re going to do it. I always text my coach the night before to let him know what time I’m going to run and how far. This way, I know he’s expecting an update text on how my run went, and there’s no backing out.
That’s the ‘scientific’ formula I use to trick myself into running even when I’m at my laziest. But even lazy runners need rest days. If you’ve tried all these tricks and you’re still not feeling a run, your body could be trying to tell you something. It’s a good time to look back at your training logs to think hard about whether or not you’ve been overdoing it, and whether you really need to take a day off.
As for me, I know I’m not due for a day off today, just maybe 20-minutes off… Or an hour… An hour and a half could be good… You know, I’ll just lie down and put my legs up for a little while before I head out the door…