5 Ways Longtime Runners Stay Motivated

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I have been running fairly steadily for the past 20 years. Aside from a brief respite in my early 20’s, I have logged thousands of miles and raced everything from 400 meters to 100+ miles.

Luckily, I do truly enjoy running and racing. It rarely feels like a must and I weather the rough patches fairly well. However, I am human and there are times that I am tired, uninspired, or it feel monotonous.

So how do I keep motivated and how do I keep it interesting after all this time?

1) Set new goals

I have aimed to knock down PRs, take on new race distances, or accept new challenges. I realize that age will keep me from PRing forever, but I can set new age group PRs with each bracket I hit.

Taking on new distances doesn’t always have to equal longer–this could be improving your 5K time if you’ve been racing half-marathons. There are plenty of other challenges such as obstacle races, back-to-back races, or 50 challenges. Do something a little outside of your comfort zone to help the mojo come back.

2) Take the pressure off

If you have been racing and training and racing and training, it can get tedious without any time off. Give yourself a break and run just for enjoyment. Try to leave the watch at home.

Don’t worry about your pace or time. Some runners might feel refreshed after doing this for a run or 2. Some runners might need a month of relaxed running to feel renewed. The point is to step away from the “must” and enjoy the “I get to.”

3) Find (new) running buddies

Running with the same crew can definitely give a runner motivation to feel consistency. But even running buddies and groups can get humdrum after covering the same stories and same routes at the same pace.

Seek to bring fresh blood into the group or find a friend looking to start a running program. A shake of the routine can help keep it interesting if running starts to feel monotonous.

4) Don’t neglect treats

Many runners go from collecting all kinds of new toys and gear as new runners and slowly start to just replace items as they wear out. When was the last time you bought something as a fun treat that was running-related?

This is not something you want to necessarily do regularly, but it can invoke a bit of excitement when you go out to test your new gear. It can be as simple as a new gel flavor or pair of socks!

5) Run a new route

Chances are, if you have been running for quite some time and haven’t moved any time soon, you have favorite running paths. When was the last time you went exploring to find someplace new to run?

It can as boring as parking at a different place along your normal route or as fun as take a short trip to find a new spot. Who knows, you might find your new favorite spot?

Carissa Liebowitz has run the Boston Marathon as well as dozens of marathons and half marathons. You can follow her running adventures on Instagram and her blog.

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