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How To Build The Motivation To Run

Nothing can be accomplished without having the drive and desire to do so. However. it’s important to separate this from ‘motivation’.

To achieve a specific goal or dream you can often feel that you have the ‘drive’, ‘desire’ or feel ‘inspired’ to do it, but when the time comes for the run, the motivation to do so is sadly lacking.

Motivation is built over time and is what remains when the initial novelty of starting the training towards your goal wears off. You have a desire to run based on what inspires you, but your motivation is what keeps you getting out the door each day.

So how is motivation built? Think of the 3 ‘M’s:





Getting from point A to point B requires a vision of how to get there. A clear, sustainable path that allows you to progress naturally over time.

Without a direction and a clear course of action, you can be left to meander doing the same workouts, seeing little progression, your will power waning and feeling lost as to what to do next.

So how do you map it out? Identify what it takes to get from point A to point B and build small, achievable but challenging process goals to get there.


Scenario 1 – you’ve ran consistently for 4 weeks, achieving your process goal of running ‘xx’ amount of miles each week and you’re faced with a cold, wet and wintery night in which you have to get out the door for your next run.

Scenario 2 – you’ve consistently missed runs, tried to make up for it with big runs, felt knackered and achey to do your next planned session, taken more time off, have achieved none of your small process goals and now you’re faced with getting out the door for the same run as in scenario 1.

Which seems like the scenario which will more likely get you out the door? Being able to feel like you’re building towards something and knowing you’re ticking off your runs each week helps build the momentum that you don’t want to drop – but if you’ve already had a few days off, what’s the harm in one more you’ll ask yourself.. and the cycle continues.


You may have initially mapped out a specific training run for a certain day when originally creating your plan, but life isn’t that simple and it’s not always possible to hit every run as intended. Building momentum means there will also be periods of plateau where you allow other important things in life to retake your focus, whilst your running can tick over in the background.

Allowing for ‘maintenance runs’ means instead of losing what you’ve built, you’re able to change things around, move things about and adapt to the situation you’re in. This could take the form of going out for a short steady run instead of your planned long tempo run, a reduction in the amount of time or energy spent doing intervals, or simply having an easy day and rearranging runs later in the week, prioritising the sessions you feel will benefit you most.

‘Maintaining’ is just as important in running as ‘building’, so when momentum can’t be built, you’re able to maintain where you’re at without losing the progress you’ve built.

So remember…


It’s not the formula to guaranteed success, but it is the answer to giving you the motivation to get there.

About the author

Endurance State Coach, specialising in long distance and trail running disciplines. As an all round runner with a successful background in a variety of running disciplines, from 5k to Ultramarathons. Chris has competed internationally for Great Britain and England in various mountain running disciplines.

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