Keep it fun: 5 tips for staying happy and motivated

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Sometimes training is tough. You have your goal and you know what it will take to achieve it. You know you should be out there running, but sometimes you just can’t muster the motivation to step out the door. Here are five tips for keeping things fun so you stay excited about running.

1. Buy new shoes.

This may seems trite, but buying new shoes almost always puts a pep in peoples’ steps. If you’ve been running regularly, chances are you need new kicks anyway. Whether you’re buying your favorite pair for the tenth time or trying something completely new, lacing up shiny new shoes is always an invigorating experience and could be the perfect medicine for a case of the training blues.

2. Run on trails.

When preparing for a road race it’s important to log most of your miles on the road. This lets your body adapt to the hard surface of pavement. But sometimes we need a break from our routines. If you’re in a training funk, try hitting the local trails for a few miles. By getting out into the wilderness, you’ll see running from a new perspective and rediscover why you started running in the first place: because it’s fun!

3. Leave the watch at home.

Runners have a tendency to log every mile and record every split. This is important for improvement and can be a great motivator in itself. However, some days we just need to run for the heck of it. If you’re feeling beat down by your training, lighten the mood by leaving the watch or gps at home. Don’t track your mileage online and don’t plan a course. Just head out the door and see where your feet take you. The feeling of freedom you get will freshen your perspective.

4. Run your errands.

Short on time and mileage this week? If you need to head to the store for some light groceries or drop something off at the post office, increase efficiency by running your errands rather than driving. You may be surprised at how satisfying and empowering it feels to take care of everyday chores on foot.

5. Run with friends!

We saved the best for last. For most people, running with friends is what it’s all about. Friends push us, support us, provide conversation, and are often good for a few laughs. If you’ve been training solo, try joining a local group. Check Facebook or search the web for nearby running clubs. Local running groups in San Luis Obispo include the SLO Road Runners, SLO Trail Runners and the San Luis Distance Club. If there aren’t any clubs in your area, try starting one! It’s almost guaranteed that there are other runners in the area who would be interested. It can be as easy as setting up a Facebook page and inviting local runners out for a jaunt. Running with friends, especially while training for a race like City to the Sea, can take your experience to a whole new level.

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