How To Get Motivated To Run When You Don’t Feel Like It

If you’ve run long enough, at some point you’ve had the feeling that you just didn’t want to go out on a particular run. Maybe there was a time when turning off your alarm and rolling back into your sheets sounded like the best thing ever. Or maybe it was early in the week and you rationalized that you could postpone your run because you have time to make it up later in the week.  Or maybe you don’t have a race coming up and it’s easy to convince yourself that you can miss a workout here and there.

Or maybe you just wussed out.

Image Courtesy of Feelart;

Image Courtesy of Feelart;

Regardless of the reason, every runner has felt like not running at some point.

So what’s it going to take to get you up and out the door? Why are you – the person who at some point made the conscious decision to label yourself a “runner” going to follow through with that decision? The next time your motivation is running low, remind yourself of these three things:

You Want To

Remember when you decided to start running? ‘You decided‘ are the operative words there. This is something you chose to do and regardless of why, at some point being a runner is something you decided you wanted. You likely bought new shoes and all the moisture wicking gear and mapped out all those running routes for a reason. You were serious about wanting to become a runner and runners don’t stay in bed or skip out because of some awesome TV show when it’s time to run.

Whether you decided to become a runner for better fitness, to be a part of the running community, to just get out and get some fresh air or whatever reason that tipped the decision scales for you, you decided that you wanted this. You know why you wanted to become a runner – tap into that reason before you nix your run for the day.

You Have To

While it’s true that missing one workout won’t set you back too much, is that really a habit you want to start? You maybe saying, “one missed workout does not a habit make” (and if you did say that, I’d ask you if you really talk like that). You’d be right in assuming that missing one workout isn’t habit-forming – the first step you take toward any habit rarely is – but you will have taken that first small step down that road by not  following through on your commitment to run.

The more you talk yourself into accepting skipped workouts, the closer you get to become the person who says things like “I’ll get back into running someday” or “I need to start running again”. Simply put, if you want to keep building on the endurance and fitness habits you’ve already built up, you have to get out there and keep at it.

You Get To

The idea that it’s a privilege to run isn’t new. You see this a lot when you look up “running motivation” or if you read anything about getting motivated to run.

There’s a good reason for that – it’s 100% true.

As you’re laying there rubbing sleep from your eyes or sitting at work thinking about hitting up that happy hour instead of lacing up your running shoes, the one thing to remind yourself – if all else fails – is that you get to run and you shouldn’t take that for granted.

Maybe they’ll come a day when you can’t. Maybe there will come a day when whether you run or not isn’t your choice. I sincerely hope everyone reading this runs well into their 90s and beyond. Having said that, injuries happen. People get sick. Being able to run forever isn’t a given. Reminding yourself that running is potentially a finite gift is pretty powerful.

Once you actually get out there to run, the feeling of not wanting to quickly subsides, but sometimes you just need the kick in the pants to get out there to take that first step. These reminders usually do the trick for me.


  1. Great post, PJ! And so true. It’s so easy to roll over a lot of mornings, but as soon as you DON’T, you feel great about it.

  2. Thanks Will!

  3. Tim Foley says:

    P.J., you are like the Kanye West of the running world. You are the nucleus of the world, the hub, like Steve Jobs, and your footsteps that pound the pavement will bring this world together and increase your awesomeness because you are simply pure and simple awesomeness.


  1. […] Run Yoga Thrive by P.J. (Thanks for recommendations.) The site offers a great balance to some of the more competition based blogs above. I’m going to be reading and hopefully learn to incorporate some better stretching into my routine. I recommend their post on motivation for running. […]

  2. […] I write a lot about how to get motivated to run. […]

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