4 Tips for When You Struggle with Motivation

tips for when you struggle with motivation

Motivation can be a real struggle sometimes.

Let’s face it. There are just some days when you don’t feel like running. You don’t feel like cross training, or doing any other type of physical activity.

These days hit me too, and last week they hit me hard. Coming off of the Thanksgiving holiday, I gave myself some grace and just tried to get moving, even if it was only walking for a few minutes on the treadmill.

Monday I ran, and then Tuesday I had errands to run after work. By the time I got home, I was exhausted and just ready to make dinner. On Wednesday, I had errands to run again, and when I got home, I was in a pretty sour mood. So…I missed two workouts in a row.

Finally, on Thursday morning, I dragged myself out of the bed–definitely wasn’t an option. I wasn’t motivated at all, but I had to run. I would feel so much better once I did.

Even if it wasn’t the greatest run, I was much happier once I finished.

If (read: when) you hit a rough patch where you struggle with motivation, here are a couple things you can do:

Think about your goals, and how this workout will affect your progress

What goals are you currently working towards?

Having a race goal always helps keep me more accountable and motivated. Especially when I trained for my first half marathon…I focused on how each workout cumulatively prepared me for the physical stress of running 13.1 miles.

I knew that I needed to complete as many runs on my training plan as I could. The miles added up each week and would train my body for the total distance.

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Listen to your body, and learn to recognize the difference between un-motivated and truly exhausted. If your body is exhausted, take the rest day and some extra sleep.

Design your training schedule with adequate rest and schedule your rest days ahead of time

Is there a certain day of the week that you just can’t seem to fit a workout in? Or is there one day that you always seem to lack motivation? (For me, this day seems to always be Thursday)

Design that into your program!

Either schedule a full rest day or plan a really easy workout that has a low barrier to entry. 

Compromise with yourself to just do something and pick an easier workout for that day.

Ok, so I know I seem to be advocating that you don’t need to work as hard.

But sometimes, the real reason I want to skip a workout is because I’m just really not in the mood to work that hard.

Tempo runs, anyone?

Don’t get me wrong, tempo runs can be a ton of fun, and most of the time they are. Other times, I just can’t do it.

The point of this is that doing something is better than nothing.

After all, an object at rest stays at rest. An object in motion stays in motion. Inertia can be a real b*tch.

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If all else fails, give yourself some grace and take the day off.

If you have already gone through the above options and it’s really, really not your day, then recognize it and give yourself the day off. Don’t beat yourself up or put yourself down for taking a day off.

Just give yourself some grace and allow yourself some relaxation/recovery time. Take a bath or read a book.

I am super self-critical, and I really struggle with this. I used to waste far too much time beating myself up over missed workouts.

Pick back up on your schedule with the next workout.

The reality is, I run more miles than 95% of the population. I’m already doing AWESOME on my commitments and running goals.

There is absolutely no reason to flood myself with negative energy if I miss 1 or 2 workouts every few weeks.

Final Thoughts

Should you use these techniques often?

No…you won’t make much progress on your fitness. However, we all have those days (hopefully few and far between) when you just aren’t feeling the motivation.

That’s ok!

Recognize how awesome you are doing already, flood yourself with positive energy instead of negative, and be ok with taking a day off.

When do you struggle with motivation, and how do you get yourself back on track?

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Happy Running,


About Me: I’m Alexis, Founder of RunningMyBestLife! I am an avid recreational runner, half marathoner, wife, dog mom, busy professional, downhill skier in Northern Utah. My mission is to help new enthusiasts fall in love with the sport of running. I believe that running is a catalyst to taking control of your life and living your best life by design. Learn More –>

2 thoughts on “4 Tips for When You Struggle with Motivation”

    • Yes. I just tell myself to stay in motion because it’s harder to restart after taking too many days off. Interia.

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