Running Tips

How to Get Back on Track

Whether you’ve had a break from running due to illness, injury or life just got in the way, sometimes it can be hard to get your motivation back. Here are some tips and tricks on how you can get your mojo back and how to keep it.

1. Sign up for a race
I’m sure races aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but there’s no better motivation to get out there and train when you’ve got an event to train for. You don’t even have to go for a PB but it could be the push you need to ignite your motivation again.

2. Set goals
If you’re a bit of a planning and organising nerd like I am, setting goals can be a great incentive to move you forward. Print off a weekly or monthly calendar and plan out some short term goals and block your time out as if you would with any appointment.

3. Remind yourself why you started
Sometimes we lose sight of why we want to achieve the goals that we aspire to. If you have a specific goal in mind, such as completing a couch to 5k plan, remind yourself why you want to achieve that goal.

4. Get a running buddy
Many people find that having someone you’re accountable to will motivate you when you’re really not feeling like getting out there. Arranging to meet a friend will make the experience more enjoyable and you may even forget that you’re working out!

5. Get some new running gear
Personally, nothing motivates me more than buying some new running clothes even if I’m only taking them for a little spin around the block. You don’t have to spend a lot of money either, I’m often content with a running top or even a running belt or accessory.

6. Plan plan plan
You know what they say ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ so plan plan plan and I bet you won’t be able to wait to get started on your new goals. Even if you’re planning day by day, look forward to what you’ve set out for yourself the next day and the next day.

7. Give yourself small rewards
Sometimes, if I’m feeling really unmotivated, I’ll plan out each week and plan into the end of that week a small reward if I manage to do all of my runs and workouts. These don’t have to be in the form of designer bags or food treats they can be small things such as a pamper day or evening, going to the cinema or binge watching a favourite series.

8. Look to the future
While no-one can guarantee the future, we can shape it to a certain extent. You’ve heard that saying ‘imagine where you’ll be in a year’s time if you don’t give up’. Try and visualise where you want to be in a year and what great things you’ll achieve if you start now and don’t give up.

9. Get a personal trainer
If you’re lucky to have enough spare money or time, get a personal trainer who will kick your butt and get you motivated again. If you really like the idea of a personal trainer but you are strapped for cash, do some research into trainers near you as sometimes they’ll do deals where you can rope some friends in to share the cost with a group session and also you’ll be more accountable to each other to show up.

10. Lay out your clothes
If you’re one of those people who can only find time to run in the mornings or you just prefer to workout at that time, lay out your workout clothes the night before, that way you’ve only got to roll out of bed, throw them on and get out of the door. Equally, if you’re more of an evening runner, set your clothes out to get changed in to as soon as you get home from work.

11. Be kind to yourself
So you’ve fallen out of your routine, it’s not the end of the world. Try not to beat yourself up too much and if you feel like you need more time off, for whatever reason, don’t torture yourself if you don’t manage to get out there just yet. Just tell yourself that you will be back out there soon and look forward to the time you are.

12. Start small
Sometimes the thought of planning out a whole week, month, even year is a daunting prospect. If you really can’t think that far ahead in terms of how overwhelming it may be for you to get there, take each day as it comes. Set really small goals for yourself such as going for a walk instead of getting running or doing half a mile instead of a full mile. Every little bit helps towards your future progress.

13. Track your progress
I’m all for using stickers to track things that I’ve done well that week. If I’ve managed all of my planned workouts for that day or week, I’ll give myself a gold star. Looking back and seeing how well I’ve done and tracking any progress I’ve made will often motivate me to continue. Bullet journals have taken off in the past year so if that’s your thing, set out a habit tracker and check off each day.

14. Change your workout up
If you’re a runner and you’re feeling a little demotivated with it, why not try some other form of cardio such as a spin class, yoga, or even just changing up your usual running route. A change is as good as a rest, so they say.

15. Look at where you lost your focus last time
What was it that made you fall off the wagon the last time around? Were you setting yourself unrealistic goals that you just couldn’t meet? Make sure that if you’re planning in your workouts, it works for you. If you really can’t run first thing in the morning because of your lifestyle then plan to run another time that is more convenient. Look at where you think you fell down and try and work around these things so that you can achieve your goals. Don’t make things harder for yourself otherwise you’ll think of them as more of a chore than a pleasure and you’ll end up quitting again.

16. Cross train
It’s always a good idea to cross train rather than doing one form of workout which will help you avoid injury. You need to be challenging your body in as many ways as possible so that you’re constantly progressing and getting fitter and stronger. Make sure you’re planning in strength training and stretching into your weekly routines.

17. Give yourself a pep talk
Sometimes all you need is to give yourself a pep talk. You can’t be bothered to go out and run? So what, get out there, stop being lazy and do it anyway! The only person stopping you is you (unless you’re unfortunately injured). If you’re not great at giving yourself some tough love, ask a loved one to do it for you. Get that friend to text you and say ‘hey, get out there today’.

18. Have a quote or photo in a prominent place
If you’re motivated by a quote that you can really relate to, print it off and put it on your desk or set it as your phone background so you have to see it every day and serve as a constant reminder to you to get out there and achieve your goals.

19. Have a contingency plan
After suffering from multiple running injuries, I decided to invest in a spin bike for home use. Classes were just getting much too expensive and it’s not always convenient for me to get to a class. Now I had no excuse to not work out, even if it wasn’t the workout I had planned to do. I can sit on the bike and watch my favourite shows or I’ll make a banging playlist that I’ll sing along to. Plan for what you can do if you can’t get out and do your scheduled run. If plan A doesn’t work out, there are still 25 more letters!

20. Make it fun!
Life is supposed to be fun so make sure that you’re making your workouts fun too. You want to have a little dance while you’re running to your favourite tune… do it! I’ll let you into a little secret, I do this all the time and I don’t care if someone sees me singing while I’m running or having a little bop on the side of the pavement, I’m having fun and working out and that’s all that matters to me and it’s what keeps me going out time after time.

I hope some of these tips have inspired you to get out there and get your motivation back. If you’ve got any more tips on how you get back out there, leave a comment below I’d love to hear them.

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19 thoughts on “How to Get Back on Track”

  1. To go along with your running buddy tip, join a club. They aren’t just for elite runners and many do beginners groups like couch 2 5k. You’ll run with people of the same ability and those with more experience you can learn from. Youll also make loads of new friends. The best thing I ever did was join my club, it’s what has kept me running since I started just over a year ago.

  2. What a great post – full of really great tips. Tracking progress for me has been the largest motivator. I have always struggled to stick to a fitness plan until I found an app for my phone that tracks progress. Now I can see myself getting better OR in some cases a little worse. Community or partnering is another great way to stay motivated – someone to keep up with or try to challenge, which in turn challenges you back.

      1. I use Nike Plus Running – tracks your route using GPS, times, pace, it’s social because you can add friends, post to social media, and track mileage on your shoes. It’s really great app for smart phones. I love it 👊🏻👊🏻

  3. Good post. However, 😉 , Is it really necessary to ‘get back to it’ ? I’m currently injured and it’s so weird I’m having thoughts that I may not go back to running. I’ve been totally obsessed with running and racing for a full 7 years. I ran almost 3 years every single day, an official streak. Then I got injured. Now I’ve discovered that I’m not gaining weight, actually losing, and I have a lot more free time. Just musing. Wondered if you’ve ever thought about quitting?

    1. Thanks! To be honest I feel like I’m constantly ‘falling off the wagon’… I’m always losing motivation and have, in the past, spent months doing zero physical activity for no good reason at all so I do struggle with this. I’ve signed up for many races the past couple of years so that does keep my motivation high to keep at it. That’s a real shame that you’ve got injured which stopped you, if you enjoy it. I’m not sure I could ever quit forever unless I absolutely had to, exercising and keeping fit has been a massive part of my life since I was a child and I feel so much better for it (I’m also totally competitive which is probably why haha). You’re saying you don’t miss it much?

      1. I miss the routine but I don’t miss the stress of trying to decide where to run and wondering if the weather will be bad. I live in Texas and it’s really awful in the summer. But I do miss the sweating. It just feels good to sweat! Walking doesn’t have the same effect. And I miss the feeling of accomplishment after a good run. 🙂

  4. Your BLOG is super helpful, thanks for posting. Do you have any advice on someone dealing with Plantar’s Fasciitis or when one of your arches partially collapses?

    1. Thank you so much that’s kind of you. Well I’m definitely no expert on plantar fasciitis but I do suffer with it. I find rolling my foot over a tennis ball helps (I keep one under my desk at work!). I also found stretching out my leg a lot helped and I bought some resistance bands and worked on my ankles too to strengthen them. This is just what helped me though. There’s a YouTube channel called the run experience who have tons of videos on help with it too 👍🏻 hope some of these help you recover

      1. This is extremely helpful, Belle! I’ve been using the frozen water bottle trick at home. Maybe I’ll keep a tennis ball around for the convenience. I’ll definitely check out that YouTube channel. I love your BLOG, thanks for sharing your thoughts about your passion!

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