Running a mile while listening to your favorite songs can really help keep you going.  Running 5 miles... you better have a playlist.  But what if you're running a distance race?  What do you think about?


Sustaining Motivation

By Edmund Arellano

There will be moments in your running journey where music isn't enough to keep you going strong anymore.  This is especially prevalent in long-distance runners who exhaust their playlist at mile 10.  Or maybe your phone battery died and now you have NOTHING to listen to.

When you have a long distance to cover, what do you do (or think) to keep you motivated?Neo Tired Runner2

As a seasoned runner, I actually get bored of listening to music.  I've heard the same songs over and over again, and I just want to listen to nature.  Then that gets boring.  I have 8 miles to go and I'm losing motivation quick.  One unique thing I do to keep me distracted is actually pretty common.  I daydream.

Have you ever watched an exciting movie and suddenly find your body full of adrenaline?  You're so pumped up at watching Rocky Balboa knock out Drago that you're off the couch throwing punches in the air.  That's me.  I think of myself in an environment where I'm training for a huge event, like a cage fight or... well, a marathon.

FINDING Your Motivation

What if your problem is that can't seem to get out the door in the first place?  Vicky Poutas of PsychCentral said this about finding motivation:

There’s a method...that works for some, and that’s acting as if something were already true. For example, every morning when you wake up, pop up with as much vigor as you can muster. Don’t give yourself time to dwell. Get dressed immediately. It can be for the gym or dog-walking or some other form of exercise. Or, get dressed to go to the mall, the bookstore, or the theater.

The idea is to get yourself on your feet quicker than you can talk yourself out of it.  This is especially important for those who may need an extra push in the morning, or for those battling depression or other mental health disorders.

Keeping Your Endurance

So, now you're on the road.  You're knocking out miles after miles and steadily your body is beginning to exhaust itself.  What more can you do to keep you motivated to finish strong?  Here's a few ideas:

  • Remind yourself of why you're running in the first place.
  • Daydream (like I do).
  • Mix up your pace.  Slow it down by 50-60%, then suddenly pick it up.  But don't wear yourself out.
  • Think how awesome you'll feel when you're done (and how awesome you're going to sleep).
  • Think of goals you want to accomplish this year.  Then think about HOW you want to accomplish them.

Get outside enough times and you'll eventually find what works for you.  Always remember that any physical exercise is designed NOT to be easy.  It'll only feel easier because you're getting stronger.  However you find your motivation, keep it through to the end.


What do you do to keep yourself motivated on a long run?  Have you ever had your phone die in the middle of a distance run?  Share your stories with us below!