Nicole Hagobian, a marathon runner, running coach and sport and exercise scientist at Cal Poly, knows just how hard it can be to lace up her running shoes and get herself out the door.
Here is what she does to stay motivated →
She schedules her runs like meetings.
Dr. Hagobian treats her runs the same way she treats her work — with deliberation and deadlines.
“I personally put it on my calendar like it’s a meeting,” she said. “So it’s part of what I’m going to do that day no matter what.”
To accommodate her schedule, Dr. Hagobian runs early in the morning. If she’s feeling less than enthusiastic, she’ll remind herself how it’ll feel when she’s finished, and that if she doesn’t run in that moment, she’ll lose her chance for the day.
She enlists help.
Having a partner or group to run with or to talk about runs with) can be a great source of encouragement, Dr. Hagobian said, especially if their strengths are different from yours.
For instance, Dr. Hagobian prefers speed work (runs broken up by bursts of high-intensity effort) over long tempo runs (runs that maintain a challenging pace for long stretches of time). Her running mate prefers the opposite, so they rely on each other for motivation when the training gets tough.
She uses smart reminders.
Visual cues — sticky notes on a mirror, alerts on your phone, running gear laid out the night before — will make it as easy as possible to get going when you’re busy.
She quiets negative emotions.
Dr. Hagobian reframes negative thoughts before and during runs into positive language instead. If she wants to avoid starting a run too fast, for example, she’ll think, “I’m going to start at a moderate pace” (positive) instead of, “I’m not going to start too fast” (negative).
She focuses on one mile at a time.
When she’s starting to feel overwhelmed by a long run, Dr. Hagobian will focus only on the stretch she’s on. She’ll say things like “I got you, mile one,” “You’re going down, mile two,” and so on.
When she feels like quitting, she stays kind to herself.
Sometimes people will skip runs or cut them short when they’re not feeling their best, she said, but giving up on a workout often makes runners feel worse.
When she is feeling a little off, Dr. Hagobian said she will pay less attention to how fast she is running and focus mainly on the fact that she’s putting in any effort at all.
Mixing things up by switching your route can also boost your interest and inspiration to run.
More strategies for living Well:
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Whether you’re an experienced runner or don’t know where to start, a running routine is critical. These tips will help you establish one.
And remember: You don’t need to run fast to consider yourself an athlete. A slower pace can actually be more beneficial to your mental health.