What to Tell Yourself When You Need Motivation to Run

For the last few years, running has been a huge part of my life. I’ve finally reached a point where it’s built into my daily schedule, and it feels strange to go long periods of time without logging any miles. Rarely do I ever finish a run and regret it– in fact, it’s usually the opposite. But if I’m being honest, I’ve had my fair share of alarm snoozes and crazy excuses for why I shouldn’t hit the pavement– everything from “My hair finally looks nice today, do I really want to get all sweaty?” to “If I just take the stairs every day for the rest of my life, I’ll never have to do cardio.” But when I really think about it, the most convincing arguments I make are always for why I should run. Here are four arguments you can make against your inner couch potato when you need a little motivation.

It’s a chance to get outside and be one with nature

After an eight-hour workday, the thought of huffing and puffing your way through three miles is probably at the bottom of your to-do list. But think about it this way– you spent a good portion of your day sitting behind a desk, staring at a screen. Wouldn’t it be energizing to spend a half hour enjoying the fresh air and sunshine? Though I’m a proponent of year-round outdoor runs (even in chilly December), the period between April and October makes for some extra scenic jogging. The sun stays out longer, the trees have leaves on them, and Mother Nature is begging you to spend some time with her! Find a trail you love that makes running fun. You won’t regret it. Mapmyrun is a great resource for discovering new routes in your area.

You get to unplug and spend some time with your thoughts

An entire day staring at a screen is enough to make anyone want to chuck their phone out the window. We live in a time when we’re constantly tuned in to Facebook, email, and text notifications. Taking time out of your day to be alone with yourself, no iPhones invited, can be extremely rewarding. Of course, this is possible even without a sweaty workout, but being in tune with your body during a run is centering and spiritual. Some of my deepest reflections have come out of my sweatiest runs! Without the distractions of everyday life, I have an opportunity to truly listen to my thoughts and connect with my spirituality. Try noticing how the sun feels on your face, the sound of wind rustling through the trees, and the beauty of a stream or pond, and give thanks. This heightened awareness of your surroundings, coupled with the awesomeness of what your body is doing (despite the heavy breathing and muscle strain), will give you a deeper appreciation for being alive — and that’s not something you can necessarily get out of checking Instagram.

It doesn’t matter how slow you go, it just matters that you’re out there

There have been times when I’ve jogged a mile at the same snail’s pace that I could walk it, but I’ve reassured myself that just being out there is what counts. Three slow miles are three more miles than I would’ve logged if I stayed on the couch. Especially in the beginning stages of running, it’s important not to get caught up in numbers like calories burned or how long each mile is taking you to complete. When I first started running, I remember feeling disappointed in myself if I ran 2.75 miles instead of a true 5K, or agonizing over how long my miles took me to finish. Rather than worrying about time or distance, focus on how you feel when you’re out there.

A 30-minute run is more productive than watching Netflix

As we start taking on more real world responsibilities and life becomes more demanding, the thought of building a workout into the day seems impossible. When I first started college, I remember barely having time to eat lunch, let alone go on a run every day. But after an honest appraisal of how I spent my time, I realized it’s more possible than I initially thought. Start off with 30 minutes– a typical episode on Netflix. Try going to sleep a little earlier and waking up a little earlier too, and you may find that you can squeeze in a run before work. Or if you find that you spend a lot of time scrolling through Facebook when you get home, try changing into workout clothes right away and heading out on a run. You’ll likely feel better about how you’re spending your time, and gradually, you won’t have to think twice about it.