10 ?unusual? ideas I've tried to motivate me to run
I used to hate running and it's taken me many years to finally do it regularly. I thought it was the dumbest, worst, most terrible exercise ever. And these past 4 years have been me trying to turn running into a habit. Today I can say that although I still have to overcome "running dread" and still have maybe a week when I switch to other cardio exercises, I run much more often than I used to and can tackle a 5k (albeit not very fast) on a casual day. These are some of the ideas I tried to get into the habit. Some might be unusual, some might not.
1. Listen to a topic leader or someone at the top of their game
Some guy asked me the other day if I had advice to motivate him to exercise. I said read "Can't Hurt Me" by David Goggins.
2. Take on various online challenges
I pushed myself to run 100 miles in a month and the 4x4x48 challenge (4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours = 48 miles over a weekend). Typical challenges like "lets just run a 5k next month" don't turn me on.
3. Do a running charity
4. Get a tracker
I used to be "I don't need no trackers, I'm super self motivated and don't want no fancy gadgets to depend on." But trackers help me keep track, stay motivated, and measure, among other things.
5. Talk to random fit people about running
When I first started trying to get serious about running, I would talk to random people who looked fit and they would blow my mind with stats like "yeah I used to run 7 miles per day!" That always motivated me. It also, on a mental level, made me believe in the idea that the majority of fit bodies and people are made, not just born. We often believe it intellectually, but don't experience it enough.
6. Train with some super fit people
It can be hard to find a group of runners where they exceed your capabilities and let you train with them. I was very fortunate to have that experience where I was constantly straggling with other very patient runners. That really pushes you to work harder than you would if you went yourself.
7. Cross train a lot
I don't count stairs or bicycling or ellipticals or "row machines" in the same light as running. Basically if I do any other cross training, I count it as a "missed running day." They help keep my cardio and legs working on days I don't want to run.
8. Flip your thinking
On a lot of days when I plan to run, lot's of hours are spent thinking about how much I don't want to run. I've been working on flipping that thinking to "maybe I think about running all day because I like it?"
9. No music mindfulness
I don't run with headsets or music anymore. It's quite an interesting experience to be in the moment of running, alone with your thoughts. And without external noise or music telling you anything, you almost can't help but practice some mindfulness.
10. Don't take those endorphins for granted!
If you regularly exercise, you probably "know" you feel good when you get out of a good workout. And if you've been doing it long enough, it probably just is another good feeling habitual sensation you chase (one that's good for you). You might even almost forget you get the sensation or stop noticing it after a few years. But if you take the time to notice the real good feeling you get after a workout, particularly a run, and not take it for granted, you might get addicted to it.