Runners, do you ever get the days where you just can’t face it? Do you suffer from a lack of motivation at certain times of the year?

For me, my motivational slump often comes in winter – it’s too dark, too cold and too rainy – the reasons for not getting out the door go on…

It’s all too easy to ignore my alarm, roll over and steal an extra hour of sleep, but my mental health suffers as a result of my lack of motivation. Lately I’ve been pretty determined to get my running mojo back on track and these simple steps are helping me along the way:

Set a simple, achievable goal
As I haven’t been running quite so regularly recently, my pace and distance have dwindled. So, I set myself a realistic goal of running for 15 minutes three times a week. It might not seem like much, but it’s an easy goal to get me started and doesn’t feel too big (which could put me off!). Just getting out of the door for those 15 minutes three times a week has eased me back into a regular routine with my running.

Get a new soundtrack
For the past year, I’ve listened to pretty much the same type of music on my runs. I recently changed to listening to podcasts or an audio book, which has been a game changer for me. I now find I’m getting so lost in the storyline of my book, the run is over before I know it! I always pick something I really enjoy and I’ve read before so I can just lose myself in my run with a book I love.

Fuel yourself properly
I find when I don’t run as often as I like, my eating habits start to suffer too. Eating healthy, non-processed foods fuel my running and help me to recover more quickly. Taking inspiration for new recipes by buying a cookbook, or browsing the internet for new ideas helps to get me back into my healthy habits.

Slow down and take in your surroundings
Sometimes, I like to run completely tech-free. No running watch and no headphones. Although I live in a fairly busy town, there is a lovely park right near my house where I go ‘tech-free’ – running at a slower pace and taking time to appreciate the beauty of my surroundings. I often return from these runs calmer and happier than when I plug in my headphones and ignore everything around me. These runs make me want to go out running again and I try and have one tech-free run a week to appreciate why I love running so much.

Keep track with a diary
Keeping a running diary naturally helps to motivate me – I like to look over my previous runs and see where I’ve made improvements or what factors affected my run. I also keep a tracker that measures my levels of motivation to run – amazingly, on some of the days where I had the least motivation, I’ve achieved a new distance, or a PB! The next time I feel reluctant to step out the door, I take a look back at my log and it reminds me of how far I’ve come and why I want to get out and run.

I’ve noticed that with these small changes, my motivation is creeping back and I’m falling into a regular, happy running routine.