Article | July 2015

Stay Motivated to Exercise

Get past your training lulls.

What do you do when you hear that 6 a.m. wake up call to get up and go to the gym? Do you think, "Why am I doing this to myself," and then either fall back to sleep or groggily get up and do your workout?

Whether you're training for your first or 50th race, here are a few runner-approved tips that may help you stay motivated and energized during your day-to-day training.

Journey versus goal

Crossing the finish line or achieving your goal is an incredible feeling. Wellness is a journey however, that depends on many internal and external circumstances. Celebrating “small” wins and choices allows more flexibility to your training. Feeling good about those wins also can help you stick with your training program. My challenge to you is to uncover your “why” for your personal wellness journey.

Create balance

Take a holistic approach to wellness and training. Include physical, mental, nutrition, sleep, and recovery in your training plan.

  • Don’t put all your training into one basket of wellness. Schedule time for each pillar.
  • Small changes can create lasting changes. Too many changes at once, when you don’t know what helped, can work against achieving goals. It also can sometimes push you back into old habits.
  • Make a training program that's convenient and realistic. Don't let it take away from other priorities such as family and work.
  • Don’t let a bad day or bad choice stop you from trying again tomorrow.

Track your progress in more ways than one

Whether you’re running for speed, weight loss or to meet another goal, look at multiple ways to track your progress. For instance, you may not have lost weight but your clothes fit differently, and this morning you ran your mile 30 seconds faster than last week. The more things you use to track success, the more likely you will be able to see the results from all your hard work. Here are some examples of different ways to track progress.

  • Accomplishing something new
  • Improving distance, speed, strength, consistency and mental toughness
  • Seeing improvements in your weight, body measurement, sleep quality, and food choices
  • Having consistent workouts

Build your support team

Surround yourself with people that support, challenge and encourage you. Your team can include family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, a coach or personal trainer, and people you meet at the gym or wellness events. These people can be running next to you, cheering you on at a race, or partners who will text or call to see how your goals are going. They can provide support and encouragement to help you push through any roadblocks.

Make it fun

If you don’t enjoy your training, maybe you are doing the wrong activity.

  • Pick activities that you like the most. Try new types of exercise to find what you enjoy and add variety to reduce overtraining and boredom.
  • Listen to your favorite music or podcast.
  • Bring a member of your tribe along for the workout — sometimes two is truly better than one.
  • Reward yourself by finding ways to celebrate your small and big wins. Think about a massage, a workout outfit, a book, a new playlist, a sporting event or a hiking trip. Just make sure you choose something that you enjoy.

There will be days during your training where you're bored, tired, busy, and maybe just don’t want to do it. When those days come, take a moment to ask why you are training in the first place. You can achieve your goals and cross that finish line. Just take it one day and one choice at a time — and always remember there was a reason you started working out in the first place.

Woman stretching on mat

12 tips to Help you Stick with Exercise, WebMD, reviewed by Ratini, M, July 6, 2015, http://www.webmd.com/balance/change-for-good-15/stick-with-fitness-plan?page=1

Make Big Changes with Small Steps, WebMD, reviewed by Ratini, M, November 19, 2014, http://www.webmd.com/balance/change-for-good-15/big-changes-small-steps?page=1

Verity, S, How to Reach Your Goals, reviewed by Ratini, M, November 19, 2014, http://www.webmd.com/balance/change-for-good-15/how-to-reach-your-goals?page=1

The information provided is for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice. Always consult your doctor for appropriate health advice and guidance, including prior to starting a new diet or exercise program.