10 Ways to Get Out the Door
We’ve all been there before. The motivation to run is at absolute zero. You’d rather watch TV, or read, or nap, or just sit. You know you really should get out the door to get in your day’s miles, but the door itself feels a mile or two away. So then, how do you get out the door?
It is quite possibly the worst situation, other than being injured or under the weather. Lack of motivation to get out the door is a major training inhibitor, and the consequences of giving in to temptation are not immediate. If anything, you may feel more fresh and relaxed the next run you head out the door to do. But start missing run, after run, after run, and you will quickly find yourself out of shape. Often though, that is not the most devastating consequence. After all, it is easy to tell when your running shape is slipping a bit. The worst consequence is thinking that you are still on pace to hit your goal, but unexpectedly miss.
Missing a goal when you know you gave everything you had is one thing, but if you look back on areas that could use some blatant improvement, such as missing runs or workouts, missing that goal becomes a whole lot harder to take. Maybe you’re a high school track runner and miss your 800m goal by 1-2 seconds, or you miss placing in your age group because the person beside you had that little bit extra. Maybe your goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and you miss the cutoff by 45 seconds, or a few minutes. Or maybe you set your goal to finish a 5k without walking, and you didn’t have enough to get to the finish without taking a break.
It can be so easy to choose not to run for a myriad of reasons.
It’s easy, at the time, to make excuses so believable that you trick yourself into thinking it’s no big deal to miss a run. I’ve fallen into that trap myself, many times. Here’s how you can break those nasty mind games from taking hold:
1. Just put on your shoes and running gear. Tell yourself that you still aren’t going to run, you’re just putting your shoes on. Then do a couple other things to take your mind off of getting out the door. Maybe switch out the laundry, read an online article, or check to see what your weekend plans are. Don’t start anything too time consuming, especially if you have a limited window to get your run in.
2. Look up a race you’re doing online. Reading about the event may trigger some motivation to get going. Think about how you could support the organization or cause that the race benefits. Think about that time you want to hit, and visualize yourself at the finish.
3. Look at some race pictures and results. While you’re reading about an event, check out other race recaps, blog entries, and photo albums of your’s and others’ past races and results. Think of how you’d like to improve. Read a blog about how other runners have enjoyed their running and/or racing.
4. Start a blog. Nothing helps motivate you more than knowing your readers are following along. Every time you slip up, everyone knows about it! It’s one thing to take time off because of an injury, but many don’t respect laziness.
5. Read about the health benefits. If you’re just running for fitness, check out the new medical articles touting the major benefits of regular exercise. There’s thousands of them out there, and new ones are posted everyday.
6. Drink a (small) cup of coffee. A quick cup, especially if you’re running very early in the morning before work, or after work and you feel wiped out, or early in the morning on a weekend when you’d rather sleep in, coffee might just get you moving and help you find that extra energy.
7. Think about how good it will feel to be done for the day. Also think less about any long term goals and just focus on the goal for the day or week. Breaking the whole training process up into smaller bits makes it much more manageable.
8. Ditch the watch. Don’t focus on time or pace. Just get out there to loosen up or enjoy the day. Maybe try out a new trail with a great view, or start your day early and watch people walking their dogs before work. Ditch the watch, ditch the stress, not the run.
9. Find a running buddy. Or join a group. Having someone to talk to will help pass the time, and it can also help push you in workouts. Having more people also increases the chances that you’ll have fresh ideas for where to run as well.
10. Head out the door, just for an easy mile. Lastly, but most importantly, tell yourself it’s only a single mile. If you’re not up to that level, try a half mile, or a quarter mile. When you just don’t feel like running, the first mile is often the hardest part. If you tell yourself that you only have to do a single mile, then by the time you click through the first mile, chances are you’ll keep going. Once you get moving, make the goal to do half of the run you set out to do. There’s a good chance that if you think about your goals while you’re running, you’ll have no problem getting your miles in for the day.
Always remember that even if you only get in a short run for the day, it is infinitely better than sitting on the couch doing nothing. After all, you can spend an hour a day watching an episode of CSI, or you can get in that 5 miler, or tempo, or 25 minute lifting session. Collectively, your small daily commitments will pay off huge dividends on race day. Who knows, you may surprise yourself and far surpass anything you thought possible.
Only putting in the work today will determine the outcome on race day.
“Even if you were to walk across the country, you can still break each part of the
monumental journey down into single steps.”