4 Motivators For When You Just Don’t Want To Run

We all have the moments (or weeks) where we don't want to run. Here is how to break out of that.


Have you ever felt like you just didn’t want to run. Nope, not happening today.

Try as you might, sometimes we can’t find the motivation to lace up our shoes for whatever reason. There may be a really great reason or we might not even know why we don’t want to. Wither way, the couch calls our name.

When these moments, days, weeks and sometimes months strike, the first thing I do is to replay all of the great moments that have happened in my “running life.” I think about the marathons I finished and felt high as a kite, the races where I thought I would run terrible and ended up coming in first in my age group, the days where everything came together and I ran a personal record, or even those long runs where I was completely alone yet couldn’t stop smiling.

Related: Does Running Ever Get Easier?

Sometimes reliving these memories is enough to get me moving. When it’s not, I do these four things.

  • Sleep in my running clothing. When my alarm goes off, I literally have no excuse why I can’t roll out of bed, put my shoes on and walk out of the front door. If I can’t run first thing, I still put my running clothes, watch, or shoes on—something that I only put on when I go running. This way I will feel terrible if I have to take off said items but haven’t run.
  • Just 2 miles. When I think I have a pretty good excuse for why I can’t roll out of bed—hello 4am darkness —I tell myself I don’t have to run what is on my schedule for the day. I just have to run 2 miles. If after 2 miles I want to quit and run home, that’s okay. Out of all of my years of running, I may have only come back after 2 miles once.
  • You.Will.Feel.Awesome. When the idea of running 2 miles feels like running a half marathon, I focus on how great I feel on days I run vs. how terrible I feel on days I don’t. I know myself pretty well, so I know pulling the I will do it later excuse doesn’t work. I won’t do it later. I know that if I have a chance to run at that moment, it’s the only moment I will GET to run that day. Focusing on how awesome I plan on feeling usually motivates me.
  • I’m having a bad bad day. When focusing on how great I’m going to feel doesn’t work, I focus on how bad my day is. Really I do! I sing the lyrics from I’m Having A Bad Bad Day from Despicable Me. It makes me half smile and laugh to myself every time. (Don’t believe me? Just try it.) It’s just a run. It’s not my job. It’s something I do for fun, enjoyment and my health. A run does not cause a bad-bad-day. Focusing on how absurd it is that I am letting my attitude get in the way of doing something I love smacks me every time. Even if the run happens to be crap-tastic, it was still a run and I’ve never regretted a run, ever.

What helps you get out of the house when motivation is lacking?