Have you ever felt stuck in your running? Unable to obtain your goals? And quite possibly, empty inside? Unfilled and completely unmotivated to walk out the door and train?
Inside you KNOW you want to run that race, but for some unexplained reason, you can’t find the energy or running motivation to make a move? Or maybe you’re unable to find clarity in what you want?
If so, don’t worry, these feelings are much more common than you may think. In fact, every runner experiences the downside of running at some point in their journey. A lack of running motivation can happen to anyone.
I know…sometimes we want to make a change SO bad…but won’t actually take the steps towards progress. Even if we know what needs to be done…we just feel…STUCK.
If your goal is to run a marathon or ultra marathon and you know all you have to do is find a training program and start running…then why haven’t you done so?
Or if you stopped training due to some external circumstance then why haven’t you picked it back up?
The answer to these questions can vary, but they likely boil down to a few key things. Or should I say…the lack of a few things…
That’s what you’ll receive from the following running motivation tips. They will help you develop empowering emotions to fuel you in your long distance running journey.
Because without the DRIVE to achieve your running goals, how can you ever persevere when training gets tough? And without the DETERMINATION to increase your endurance, how can you ever wake up before sunrise to run? And without the WILL to succeed, how can you ever believe in your abilities progress your long run?
This same reasoning goes for race day as well.
You need a big enough reason to leave the aid station when your body is completely exhausted. You need to believe in something larger than yourself to keep running when your mind SCREAMS to stop. And you need faith in your abilities, so you can let go of self-limiting beliefs and sign up for a new distance.
But how do you develop the power to overcome so many adversities in long distance running?
Well, that’s where I come in. If you allow me, I’d like to suggest a few easy ways to continue down your path to progress your long run.
It’s a way to rediscover your running motivation. A way to help you get started and empower you to reach farther distances.
You see, I’ve run many ultra marathons. I’ve run 50ks, 50 miles, 100ks, 100 miles, and 200 mile distances. In fact, my last race was a 72-hour ultra marathon.
And as much as I’d like to say I’m always motivated to run…the truth is… I’m not.
But I’ve learned how to continually resurrect myself from the graveyard of broken dreams and find a new fresh attitude for almost every run. That is, find the running motivation to continue to progress my long run.
Time and time again, I continue to run ultra distances. And here’s what I can tell you from experience: it’s not an outside job, it’s an inside job.
So let’s get to work. Keep reading as you rediscover that long lost running motivation. And once it’s found, you’ll be able to apply it to your long run so you can begin to clock some serious mileage.
1. Find A Big Purpose
If you want to continue to run farther…or get out of a funk…then you need a big enough PURPOSE.
In other words, the longer the distance you run, the larger the purpose you need to have. Because when you anchor into something much larger than running, and allow running to become a tool towards that purpose, NOTHING can stand in your way.
Because if running becomes unbearable, the reason why is likely less about the resistance and more about a lack of purpose.
Bad weather, sickness, exhaustion, boredom, time constraints…whatever the excuse holding you back…with a big enough purpose you will run through excuses like they were self-created in the mind…because well…they are.
With a meaningful purpose, your running motivation can sky rocket.
So what’s a big purpose for you?
Keep reading as I reveal one of the most powerful purposes you can have as a long distance runner. A purpose that can instantly enhance you running motivation and begin to rapidly progress your long run.
2. Run For Your Life
If you can tie improving your running to improving your life, then you have found the secret to running extraordinary distances. Now running ANY distance is possible, even the distance you once thought wasn’t possible at all.
You see, running teaches you so much more than you could ever imagine. It provides you the tools to achieve anything in your life. Whether it’s running a race, landing a job promotion, losing weight, personal fulfillment, or even peace of mind…
The point: running to change your life…let THAT be your PURPOSE.
And then, if you tie your improved life to being able to better serve others…you have unlocked the door to your infinite potential.
For me, running was always less about being “a runner” and more about the act of personal development.
That’s because running is such an incredible metaphor for life. Focus, clarity, patience, adaptation, will, perseverance, dedication, courage, strength, love, faith, gratitude, insight, passion…If you can’t find these positive emotions during a long run than my guess is you’re not looking….
That, or you’re not open to finding them…
Let running strengthen all the positive energies that work in your favor. That is, those positive emotions that create all the goodness in your life.
Think about it…
If you can develop perseverance in your running and transfer it into everyday life…consider the goals you can achieve.
Or if you learn to have faith in the unknown and in your abilities to run farther, consider the magic that will enter into your life. Imagine the greater risks you will take to gain those greater rewards.
Or consider the patience that you develop from running extraordinarily long distances. Now think about how that enduring patience can help improve your relationships with the people you love.
It’s really quite magnificent when you take the time to consider the benefits that running can have on your life.
And of course…you receive all the health benefits as well.
In fact, recent studies have shown that “In general, runners have a 25%–40% reduced risk of premature mortality and live approximately 3 years longer than non-runners.” Read more about the study here.
The point: positive energies are working for you in your journey of growth as a runner. So run far, find your power, and then carry it over to everyday life. This will not only provide the running motivation to progress your long run, but it can change your entire life for the better.
Make the purpose of your long distance running to improve your life and running longer distances you shall.
And if we dig a little deeper, we can find another empowering purpose…
3. Run For Your Mind
Maybe the most refreshing and important lesson we learn from long distance running is this: what you put into running is exactly what you get out.
If you put in the training, then you succeed in your race.
And this simple equation (INPUT=OUTPUT) in running goes for anything in life. Because beyond the smoke and mirrors, if you put in the effort…and constantly progress…you will see the results.
Energy IN is energy OUT and as the old saying goes: where attention goes, energy flows.
Plus, the output doesn’t only have to be crossing the finish line.
Here’s a thought…
Running is the cause, and the effect is an incredible mindset for life.
The currency is the miles for the product of your newly found mental strength.
When you connect to this purpose, the longer you run, the greater the mental strength you develop. And the greater the mental strength you develop, the longer you run.
Do you see the upward spiral you can create?
As you run farther and let go of small details like photos, gear, and identity (smoke and mirrors), the cause and effect become much more profound. How far you run outwardly will be a direct reflection to how far you are willing to reach inwardly.
That’s your purpose! If you use this meaningful purpose and anchor it to your running, you will find yourself running extraordinarily long distances.
You will run for your life by developing an amazing mindset…and there’s an unstoppable power in that.
4. Run Up The Spiral
Speaking of spirals…
Have you ever felt like things were just getting worse in your running? It could be constant exhaustion, frequent injury, or missing too many training runs. It’s like everything you do just builds a case for giving up on your training program.
Some call this scenario a downward spiral….
A downward spiral usually occurs because you’re focused on the worst case scenario. And as I mentioned earlier, where your attention goes is where your energy flows.
So if you doubt yourself, you are applying force in the opposite direction. If you truly believe you’re going to start that race and not finish, then you are setting yourself up to fail.
On a subconscious level, you may be sabotaging your progress without knowing it.
But here’s the good news: if you can build momentum downward…you can do the same upward.
What do I mean?
Well, you can catch an upward spiral also.
Consider the upward spiral I described about mental strength and increased endurance in the last tip.
Newton’s first law of motion tells us that an object in motion stays in motion and an object at rest stays at rest.
This holds true for our running goals as well.
If you keep moving forward and make progress each week, then you’re likely to keep moving up to longer races.
That’s why I believe you should always progress within your running schedule. However, mostly all training programs prove quite the contrary. Meaning, most training programs have long runs that progress and digress weekly.
But from experience, I’ve learned those digressions can do more harm than good.
That’s why when I design a training program for a new race, I make sure my long runs progress each week without exception. The programs I offer in ‘A Runners Secret’ are designed this same way.
If you’re not familiar with ‘A Runner’s Secret’–where I teach my proven system for running any distance by running only ONE day per week—that’s how all the programs are designed. Every week is a farther long run than the last. This way, you are always gaining momentum both physically and mentally…no hiccups.
I provide training programs for the 5k, 10k, half-marathon, marathon, 50k, 50-mile, 100k, and 100-mile distance.
Now you won’t just “make it” to race day, but you will catapult to it. Instead of a runner, you become a projectile. And that same momentum that carries you to race day will help carry you across the finish line.
If you want to progress your long run then you may want to read ‘A Runner’s Secret.’ You’ll receive programs for the following distances: 5k, 10k, half-marathon, marathon, 50k, 50-mile, 100k, and 100-mile. Click an option below to get started today.
The programs in ‘A Runner’s Secret’ is how I reached the 100-mile distance. The momentum is powerful.
Okay so you may be thinking, “I get it, you gain momentum, but for human beings it isn’t that simple. We are emotional as well. How do I handle negative emotions while training?”
And this dilemma is actually good news in disguise. That’s because our beliefs and attitudes build on momentum as well. Think about it, the more you succeed, the more you think you can succeed. Now you continually build off your success.
It’s another upward spiral that works in your favor.
If you run farther, you will believe you can run even farther. Now you begin to take more risks like trying to run farther. You thrive off your progress and build more confidence.
Your running motivation increases as well.
So how do find the running motivation to move from a downward spiral to an upward spiral?
It starts by getting uncomfortable.
5. Run Outside Your Bubble
In ‘How To Run Longer With 6 Natural Running Powers’ I write, “I don’t think running necessarily gets rid of your demons as much as it gives you the courage (or mindset) to face them.”
And today, when I say courage, I mean when you feel something is the right thing to do, but it makes you uncomfortable to do so.
You may know deep down without a doubt, you want to run that marathon or ultra marathon. However, you hesitate because you’re worried. It makes you anxious to think what your friends and family will say.
Here’s the thing…you can’t wait for permission to reach your running goals because it will never come.
Remember to guard your mind. Every person’s opinion can trigger a thought, and every thought can create a belief. And it’s your beliefs that dictate how long you can run.
If you’re waiting for someone to come save you, to push you to run that race, unfortunately…that nudge rarely comes.
But here’s what I can tell you from experience: if something right now is clawing at you to run your first marathon or ultra marathon…
Then it’s time to take the plunge.
If not, you may find REGRET always dwelling in the back of your mind until you do.
Trust your intuition. It’s a powerful force.
And remember…we don’t get to the end of our life regretting our failures. We get to the end of our life regretting never trying at all.
If you don’t try then the fear of a DNF is currently stronger than your courage to take a leap into the unknown.
So let’s change that…
“You will never do anything in the world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind…”
Let me tell you…
It took courage when I ran my first 100 mile ultra marathon. I was leaping into the unknown without a parachute on.
And that was true for every new distance whether it was my first marathon or the first time I ran 200 miles.
Simply put, you have to step outside of your comfort zone to run a farther distance. This isn’t a suggestion, it’s a prescription.
And you know what? That goes for anything new we want to accomplish in life. Wouldn’t you agree?
Whether that’s something extreme like jumping out of an airplane or as simple as walking into a job interview.
Or reaching that lower number on the scale…or…
Falling in love…
Showing up to my first marathon was—to be frank— scary.
But running provides you with the ability to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Because if you’re constantly surpassing limitations, then you are spending plenty of time outside of your comfort zone.
For me, I got used to living outside that bubble…
And the next thing I knew, I’m running multiple marathons, then ultra marathons, then some of the longest distances in the world.
I pitched a tent outside of my comfort zone until it felt like home. And one day I looked up, spun my head around, and realized I was living within the shadows of the running world. A place where the ultra running community resides.
That’s the power of reaching outside of your comfort zone… that’s the power of unbreakable courage!
And that courage in me is the same courage that sits in you. But you have to act on it.
Because if you are not gaining ground…then you are losing it. If you are not going up a spiral, you are headed down one.
Have the courage to shift upward.
6. Disrupt Self Sabotaging Patterns
When you’re stuck or find yourself in a self-sabotaging pattern, remind yourself it takes a new mindset to get out.
Remember…“No problem can be solved with the same level of consciousness that created it.”
You have to disrupt your pattern of thought, and it starts with GRATITUDE….
Every time you finish a run, most of the time, we already start to focus on the next one. When you do this, however, your mind becomes stuck in the future. By immediately focusing on your next run, you’ll never gain a real sense of satisfaction. That’s because you’ll never finish a run mentally.
This makes a training program seem SO MUCH LONGER and rapidly decreases your running motivation.
The same thing happens on race day. While running, if you continuously focus on the finish line, it seems like it will never come. Minutes turn into hours and hours turn into an eternity.
That’s where gratitude comes in. By finding gratitude during and after each run, it brings your mind into the present moment. You stop focusing on the end of your training run, because you find appreciation for the one you are in. In this way, race day gets here when it gets here, and you are even more grateful when it does.
When I’m deep into a triple-digit ultra marathon, I trade my striding for arriving. I find an appreciation for what is and lose myself in the moment. And the next thing I know, the finish line appears.
7. Focus On The Possibilities
Running a marathon is not impossible.
Running an ultra marathon is not impossible.
Thousands of people cross thousands of finish lines every year. And you know what? The participation rate of these events is rapidly growing.
The fact is that if other people are progressing their long run, then so can you.
Don’t accept what you think you can run, let go and unleash your true potential. When you forget limitations, your mileage will multiply, and it will feel like a natural occurrence.
Because impossibility doesn’t live in the mileage, it dwells in the mind. When you let go of limitations you create an opening for your endurance to grow.
Accept the possibility of your progress…accept the possibility of your success.
It’s a trick of the mind. Because when we comprehend what’s “POSSIBLE” we think we CAN run the distance, but at the same time…we think it’s possible we CAN’T.
However, possibility comes from the Latin word ‘possibilis’ meaning ‘able to be done’.
So if you even have the slightest belief that the distance is possible, then it certainly can be done. The only question is…are you willing to commit fully?
One foot in and one foot out will not get you there. You need to put both running shoes through the door. You need to FULLY commit to your running goals.
And no matter what…it’s always up to you. As I like to say…
Don’t face your reality, create it. It’s your choice what to focus on. Choose to finish, only to finish, and the finish line will come.
8. Reframe Growth To Succeed
Have you ever hit the gym for the first time in a LONG time? Or can you think back to when you first started going?
If so, do you remember what happens?
With enough concentrated effort you see exceptional growth, right? You put in the effort, and your strength and endurance build fast.
And then what happens?
Right when you start to believe you may have some sort of superpowers or have cracked the code to exceptional human growth…what happens?
That’s right…you hit a plateau.
That or with the same amount of effort, you see minimal results.
This happens in running also. Especially with beginners and those focused on speed.
Your pace starts increasing rapidly and then you hit a roadblock.
And as a beginner, little bits of growth isn’t the problem. The problem is how you can lose interest or lose running motivation.
It’s like when the economy takes a turn for the worse. Suddenly, you have to put in A LOT more work for the same amount of money, or you’ll naturally earn less.
The point: know that growth will slow down. But also know it’s a part of life. Peaks and valley are apart of our existence.
So how do you handle this sudden and unavoidable reduction of growth?
The answer: RE-FRAME IT. In other words, shift your perspective.
Don’t see your reduction of growth as the death of your old progress, instead, see it as the birth of your new abilities.
Think about it. When your growth slows down, you’ve crossed the threshold. It’s actually a milestone. You can now be sure you are no longer a beginner runner. Congratulations!
Don’t let slow growth get you down, let it lift you up!
With this frame of mind, you’ll be able to keep your momentum going for all your running goals. This mindset is extremely helpful for developing your running motivation as a long distance runner.
9. Take Small Steps First
Often times when things aren’t going your way as a runner, or you’ve lost running motivation, everything seems overly difficult.
Ever try to accomplish something when you’re sick?
Suddenly, something as simple as going to work, or planning a trip, or taking your kids to school seems like a monumental task.
That’s because when you are feeling bad…everything seems to feel bad.
Here’s where you can catch another downward spiral if you’re not careful.
Whether you stop training because of a life situation or sickness (physical or mental), when you decide to jump back on the horse…the key is to start small.
Allow each small achievement to be a success. As you gain little victories in your running, you will develop more positive thoughts. And these positive thoughts will lead to more positive results.
How do you start small?
Get outside and clock a few miles…let that be your success.
Read a new (or your first) running book…let that be your success.
Make one healthy change in your diet…let that be your success.
Here’s the point: start small, build up your tolerance, and celebrate each small victory until it equates to one giant success.
The take home is this…
“If you wish to move mountains tomorrow you must start by lifting stones today.”
This goes for your long run, speed training, and even your running motivation.
10. See Running In You
Life is funny in a way…
We think life should always be peaceful and joyful…and if it’s not…then we believe something’s wrong.
But you know what? Although we rarely comprehend it, I think faithfully, we know life isn’t just about the highs… it’s about the lows as well.
Yes, life is, in fact, a beautiful struggle; a wonderful tragedy; a regulated free-for-all.
I’m just spitting out words…but you get the point.
Remember… it takes constantly moving outside of your comfort zone to grow. That means you have to experience stress if you want to run farther or faster.
No, you don’t have to suffer from the stress, but you do have to experience the resistance.
And that goes for many experiences in life…
We have to experience sadness to appreciate happiness. We have to experience poverty to appreciate abundance. We have to experience being uncomfortable to appreciate comfort.
Or expressed simply: We have to experience down to appreciate up.
This concept reminds me of a verse found in the Chinese classic text of Tao Te Ching where we learn…
There is a time for being ahead,
a time for being behind;
a time for being in motion,
a time for being at rest;
a time for being vigorous,
a time for being exhausted;
a time for being safe,
a time for being in danger.”
The point: in running you have to break down so you can grow.
But there’s a reward from the resistance…
That reward is ADAPTATION.
And isn’t that a big part of the human experience? A part of life? Isn’t ADAPTATION a part of who we are? To stress, heal, and grow back stronger to meet new demands?
Whether it’s our muscular strength, how we acclimate to different temperatures, or yes…endurance.
Because when you strip away the gear, expos, fuels, races, medals, etc. running is really what we are made for… we are built for moving, walking, and running. We are designed to adapt.
Movement is the way of life. Consider our vibrational frequency from a subatomic level. In that sense, movement is a part of our being
So if moving is who we are, then running is…
A celebration of life!
So see your lack of running motivation as a part of the process. You are headed down to eventually lift back up. It’s a part of growth.
In running, I’ve learned many lessons by first heading down. Usually caused by mistakes. Especially at the ultra marathon level.
It took experiencing massive sunburn during a 100 mile run to learn the benefits of a sun hat.
It took dumping a bag of corn starch down my pants while running 116 mile across Florida to learn how to manage chafing systematically.
It took running 50 miles with extreme nausea to learn the power of fueling all natural.
And the list goes on because growing as a running goes on. Change is inevitable.
If there’s anything definitive in this life, it’s change. Everything is changing. Your body, the trees, the seasons, the time…I’m changing the words on this page, and you’re changing your mind to what’s possible. So if changing is definitive, if it’s inevitable, if it’s the way of life…then let’s choose to change for the better…
…let’s choose to run.
It’s time to change your mind and get back in your running shoes.
It’s time to change your life through running long distance.
And YES, it’s time to boost your running motivation and progress your long run.
REMEMBER… The longer the distance you run, the larger the purpose you need to have. Because when you anchor into something much larger than running, and allow running to become a tool towards that purpose, NOTHING can stand in your way.
And if you are ready to pick up a training program and start running longer distances, be sure to grab a book or audio below. It’s time to gain some momentum…
The Ultramarathon Guide: A Simple Approach To Running Your First Ultramarathon. It provides a straight path with a simple to follow training program to get you across the finish line of your first ultra marathon. It’s what got me across my first one.
And if you are looking to save time, check out my other book, A Runner’s Secret: One Run Will Get It Done. I teach you how to run ANY distance by running ONE day per week. It’s what I used to reach the 100-mile ultra marathon. I provide training programs for the 5k, 10k, half-marathon, marathon, 50k, 50-mile, 100k, and 100-mile distances.
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