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Running Tips for Beginners - How to Keep Your Motivation to Run

Updated on October 26, 2015

Although my boyfriend still goes through phases of numerous interests like teenagers with ADHD, there are two things that he has managed to faithfully stick to for years; our relationship and running. He's neither a pro marathoner nor a speedy racer. His running posture isn't particularly graceful, and his physique is not even of an athletic type. (His nickname is Mr. Pig. Do the math!) However, in the past few years, he has never lost his motivation to run. I believe running is what has kept him healthy, even with the little spare tire around his waist. If not for his weekly running habit, we might have had to double size our door or bought a much bigger bed. Eating the way he does, he's very fortunate to stay under 200 pounds.

I find his dedication to be quite admirable. Some people who are more physically fit than him quit running after a few weeks, as they're not psychologically ready to commit to it. Running itself isn't the difficult part, but staying motivated enough to keep running week after week is a whole different story. If you're a beginner and about to lose your oomph, here are some running motivation tips that might help keep you on the road for years to come.


Run With a Purpose

In order to keep running, you need a more definite reason than "I need something fun to do" or "I want to stay fit." Set a short-term goal that is challenging but achievable, then compete with yourself. Keep it real and make it VERY specific. Don't just tell yourself "I want to run faster" or "I want to look slim and hot like Brooklyn Decker." Instead, add a specific number and time period to your goal. For instance, "In three months, I want to be able to run 4 miles in an hour," "I want to lose 10 pounds in 2 months," or "By the end of August, I want to be able to run 3 miles without taking breaks." Better yet, make a little bet with your friend or family member. It can turn out to be a very motivational game for you. For example, if you reach your goal, they will have to take you out for dinner. And if you don't, you'll be the one paying for the meal!

Run and Log

Keeping a running journal or a training log is a great way to track your progress as well as to learn how various environments, physical conditions and times of the day might affect your performance. Plus, whenever you feel down and unmotivated, you can take a look at your own records and remind yourself of how far you have come. Your running journal entries should include both objective and subjective details like the following:

  • the distance run
  • how long the run took
  • how many breaks you took in between
  • what the course was like
  • your heart rates before and after the run
  • your blood sugar levels before and after the run (if you're a diabetic)
  • your body weight
  • any ache and pain
  • your feeling during and after the run
  • any other factors that might have had affected your running, such as number of hours slept the night before, the weather, any sickness, etc
  • assessment of progress towards your goal

If possible, write down the information within a few hours after your run to make sure you enter all accurate records.


Run and Socialize

There's nothing wrong with being a loner, but running with a buddy or a group of people usually turns out to be more beneficial in many ways. First of all, it's like shooting two birds with one stone. Working out and hanging out can be one same activity. Once you have someone to chat and laugh with along the way, your afternoon run might not be such an exhausting exercise anymore but a fun hobby. Second, it can shut up the little voice in your head. Every now and then, the little voice would tell you "Oh, you should take it easy today. You have had a long day already." If you run alone, it might be pretty easy to succumb to that temptation. However, when you know that someone is expecting you to be with them, it could motivate you to ignore that little voice and just keep your running schedule. And third, running with others usually helps you get more out of yourself. Not only will running partners offer you encouraging words during a run, but you're also more likely to push yourself harder to keep up with their performance.


Run in Paradise

Won't you agree that you tend to have a better dining experience if the restaurant is clean and charmingly decorated? It's basically the same way with running. Choosing where to run matters a great deal. So spend some time to find a place with the type of scenery that inspires you. If you love nature and quietness, a hiking trail near a river might be an ideal place to run. If you're a single guy, you might want to show off your muscular calves in a park where hot girls like to hang out. Or if you live not too far from an ocean, a morning run on the beach could be really pleasurable. You'd be surprised that something as simple as a beautiful sight can really strengthen your motivation.


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  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

    Hi, vdelarosa. I'm so glad you found my little advice helpful. Happy running! :)

  • vdelarosa profile image

    vdelarosa 6 years ago from Denver, CO

    This is awesome! I am a runner and just started back up after a while off. I just created a running log now, with your suggestions. Love it, thanks!

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

    That's great! Glad my hub has inspired you. :)

  • profile image

    HollieETownsend 6 years ago

    Loved your hub!! Lots of great tips. I used to run and recently started walking. After reading your hub, however, I may start running again. Thank you for the inspiration. Keep up the great work. :)

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

    Yes, that's another good strategy to motivate yourself to run. Since you already paid for it, you've got to make it worth your money. Thanks a lot for the read and wonderful feedback. :)

  • forlanda profile image

    Juancho Forlanda 6 years ago from US of A

    Very well written! Good flow and excellent presentation. If everyone wrote like this, reading would be very easy.

    I'm a runner too, and your points are exactly what are needed to motivate once self. One way I stay motivated is to sign up for a run a few months away. This is also a monetary commitment, because if you don't run, you just wasted money.

    If you sign up for a half marathon or longer, it will really motivate you to practice since it is pretty much suicide to run one of those without training.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

    A lot of people actually experience itchy skin while exercising. I've heard that it's caused by a quick elevation in the body temperature. Or it could be a reaction to the clothes you're wearing. So try running when it's cooler and less humid (avoid afternoon runs) or wear clothes made from a different type of fabric. A cotton/polyester blend is good. As for the pain in your left side, I'm not sure what could cause that. Maybe you should consult your doctor.

  • profile image

    b cash 6 years ago

    when i have tried to run i get pain in my right side..which discourages me and everytime i start i hat e the itching it literally drives me crazy. any ideas?

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

    Nice. Starting with walking is a great idea. A lot of beginners jog and walk alternately instead of just run. :)

  • Rastamermaid profile image

    Rastamermaid 6 years ago from Universe

    Awesome hub!

    I'm working up to jog by walking,but I do water aerobics and deep water running also,it removes all that jarring and impact you get on regular surfaces.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

    Hmmmm running in the water actually sounds like fun. I'll try it for sure. I'll try to convince the Pig to try it, too. =D

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

    I love running, Om - but only underwater~ I was playing old lady soccer and fractured my tibia - hard to do but I managed it. I've never been able to run on anything but grass or soft surfaces since. Then I discovered deep water running! It actually is so awesome that I decided running was a "good" sport again and now recommend it to everyone.

    I wish age and the like didn't make us have to give up certain things - even running on the treadmill has been too much for my bones. But it is a super way to stay fit - even if you do it underwater! (and no, I do not put my head underwater - just my body from the neck down and go, girl!)

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

    @SusieQ42 - Ah, that's too bad. In case your husband wants to run again, here are a few things he can do to avoid an asthma attack. Run on a day that pollen counts are low. Run at a slow pace or jog instead of run. Have his inhaler with him while running. Have a hot steamy shower before a run to loosen the muscus in his lungs. And run indoors on a treadmill during the winter. :)

    @bingogunter - Wow $300! That should certainly keep you motivated! :)

  • bingogunter profile image

    bingogunter 6 years ago from Oxford, Mississippi

    I've recently started running, I started a C25K program three weeks ago. I need all the motivation I can get and I found your hub helpful. My husband, mother-in-law and I have a bet on who will win a 5K the beginning of August--$300!!! I want that money!

  • profile image

    SusieQ42 6 years ago

    This is the first hub I've seen about running! My husband ran 3 miles around the lake and lost 95 lbs. in a year. He's put some of that back on because he stopped running. He has a lot of problems with asthma.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

    @prasetio - Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed this. Keep running! :)

    @Cardisa - Thanks for the read and sweet comment, Cardisa. :)

    @Blissfulwriter - Yeah, if you have no problem motivating yourself to run, then you don't need anyone to accompany you. I tend to enjoy working out with friends, though. My friends make exercising more fun for me. :)

    @Fuller-Life - Thanks! Having a short-term goal is a great strategy, but if you fall short of it, don't beat yourself up. Keep trying and one day you'll be able to do it. :)

    @Movie Master - Thank you. Glad you like the idea. You don't even have to write it down on paper. You could do it on your phone right after a run! :)

  • Movie Master profile image

    Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

    I try and keep fit and do a bit of jogging every day, it really isn't enough, so I keep trying to do a bit more! I love the jogging journal idea, excellent hub thank you

  • Fuller-Life profile image

    Fuller-Life 6 years ago from Washington, DC

    Very interesting hub. I have tried running and I'm in good shape physically. But my struggle is with getting tired too easily. I guess my goal should be to not get tired until after running more than 4 miles. Running with purpose makes it so much easier. Thanks for a great hub. Voted up.

  • BlissfulWriter profile image

    BlissfulWriter 6 years ago

    I like running alone -- don't have to match the speed or catch up, or slow down for the other person. And I can stop and go whenever I want to.

  • Cardisa profile image

    Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

    I'm not a runner myself but enjoyed reading your hub anyway. You have done your research and written it so well. THnaks

  • prasetio30 profile image

    prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

    I love jogging and running. These sports keep my stamina. I love this hub and how you present this very well. Thank you very much. Well done, my friend. Vote it up!