Finding your running motivation can feel like the hardest thing to do sometimes. Running coach Andrew Cheong shares some great tips that will help you stay on track.
We all have our days where we feel blah, tired or simply aren’t in the mood for training. How do you stay motivated in such situations? Sometimes, the solution is to just get out and tell yourself to do a short walk instead of your usual workout. Start with that walk and keep going. You’ll be surprised by how much better you feel after the first 10 minutes. Who knows, you might end up having a good run!
Find your reason to run
Some people run to lose weight, or to get fitter and faster. Others run because it’s a fun, social activity. Regardless of your reasons, try writing them down, to remind yourself from time to time. Focus not on what you are doing, but on why you are doing it.
Look for support
Perhaps there is a friend or someone you admire who inspires you to keep running. Look towards them for inspiration. Surround yourself with people who want to help. They may not be actively exercising but they can become your cheerleader, and someone to remind and encourage you to keep it up.
Make it convenient
Few people who have to travel halfway around Singapore to run can sustain the habit. No wonder a recent survey done on runners’ habits show that most will choose a running group or venue near their workplace or home. It boils down to finding a convenient time and place to run.
Set aside time
I like to think of running as ‘me time’ – where I can run alone or with friends. It’s time that should be free of distractions, work, and family demands. Keeping these runs on fixed days of the week helps you set aside and schedule time.
Add variety, keep it fun
It’s human nature to want to try new things and explore. Keep your runs fun by adding different routes and terrain, and varying the distance and pace. At the SSTAR.fitness running group, members experience different runs every session. We go by a six-week training cycle, and every training within that cycle is different; for example, we have three different tempo run paces and distances.
Have two S.M.A.R.T goals
You probably know that goals should be S.M.A.R.T – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. Some go further to say that goals have to be challenging, yet achievable. I often wonder how a singular goal can be both, so at SSTAR.fitness, I’ll have every athlete set two goals – an easier B-goal that is achievable and a challenging A-goal that they strive for. By doing this, even if you cannot meet your A-goal, you will still feel motivated to meet your B-goal.
Break tasks into small chunks
A big goal like achieving an ambitious race target or finishing a marathon for the first time may seem daunting. But if you break the task into smaller chunks like weekly training mileage goals, it will seem achievable. Add longer runs each week, and eventually that long race wouldn’t feel so scary.
Focus on the process, not the outcome
Another way to look at doing tasks is to focus on and enjoy the process of training without worrying about the outcome. Take it one workout at a time. When you have completed many workouts consistently over time, a faster and fitter you is just an inevitable outcome of this step-by-step process.
Run with a friend or group
When you plan to meet someone or a group, the obligation to turn up as well as encouragement from the rest can motivate you. Or engage a coach – besides planning your training program, a good coach can motivate, help you understand your strengths and weaknesses, and become a sounding board to help you reflect on what motivates you to keep going. Join me at SSTAR.fitness – our running group meets three times a week, and we have five different pace teams, from beginners to fast runners, so anyone will be able to fit in and find a buddy to run with. Come, run with us and stay motivated forever!
About the author
Andrew Cheong is the founder and Head Coach of SSTAR.fitness, an endurance sports coaching service. Since 2010, Andrew has been dedicated to training runners of all abilities, for races ranging from 5km to the Marathon and beyond. He has a Diploma in Sports Science, is a certified Distance Running Coach by the Road Running Clubs of America, a qualified FISAF personal trainer, an IAAF Track and Field Certified and a Mental Toughness Coach. Andrew has completed more than 30 marathons and Ironman races. He and his wife were the first Singaporean couple to be awarded the Abbott Six Star World Marathon Major recipient in 2017.