Find Your “Why” – Running Motivation
“So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” – 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 NLT
Run with a Purpose
You may have decided to start your fitness journey, but every day you say it isn’t a “good” day to start.
You may have run a few times, but just can’t seem to stay consistent week after week.
Or maybe, you used to run but lately, you’ve been feeling unmotivated, sluggish, or just can’t seem to find the time.
If this is you, it’s time to take a good look in the mirror and figure out your purpose or “why”.
What is Your “Why”?
Being a purposeful runner means that you have an intention or reason behind each run you do. It doesn’t have to be a giant goal like qualifying for the Boston Marathon but it has to be something that keeps you going day after day – even when you don’t quite feel like it.
Maybe running is important to you because you need to lose weight and this is the most enjoyable or convenient form of exercise that you know. Or perhaps you’ve learned about the benefits of getting enough cardio in your life and you want to stay healthy for your family.
You could also be a purposeful runner if you do it because of the way it makes you feel. There are many studies that suggest the benefits that running can bring to your mental health.
Maybe you’re using running as an opportunity to find peace, de-stress, or escape the troubles of your work or home life.
You could also run because you feel inspired. Either by a grand accomplishment by a friend or relative, a race that supports a cause dear to you, or because you’ve watched other athletes compete at high levels.
Get Inspired: 10 Running Podcasts by Black Runners
If you aren’t sure if you’re running with a purpose, I encourage you to answer the following questions:
- I enjoy running because…
- My goal with running is to…
- Running is important to me because I…
Why is Purposeful Running Important?
It is important to have a purpose when you do anything because if not, it can feel like you are going through the motions. If you have no goal or reason for doing something, then you’re less likely to stay consistent and you will probably quit after time.
This doesn’t mean you need to have a specific racing goal in mind. It just means that you are working towards something every time you go out for a run. Fun runs are great, but after a while, they aren’t as fun if this is the only run you do.
How to Run With Purpose
If you weren’t able to answer the 3 questions above, then it may be time to do a self-reflection and figure out what running means to you. Here are some tips that can help you find your “why”.
It’s important to know what kind of person you are, let alone what kind of runner you are. If you’re someone that prefers to be in social gatherings then you’ll find running groups, training clubs, or in-person running coaches to be more enjoyable.
If you’re someone that likes to be alone with their thoughts or zoning out to music, then you might like running alone better. And if you’re somewhere in-between, virtual running groups or a virtual coach could be more your style.
Join our Run for the Culture – Running Community if you’re looking for a virtual running group!
Listen to Your Body
Figure out when you have the most energy to exercise or when your body feels the most prepared. This is different for everyone.
If you’re like me, then you know that your body (and mind) are most productive in the mornings. Therefore, I try to get my runs done first thing in the morning because I know if I wait, I will lose the motivation and energy to get it done later in the day.
You might also realize that you get your “second wind” during lunchtime. So it might be a good idea to schedule your lunch breaks to include 20-30 minutes of running.
It all depends on what your body likes and how you feel during and after your run. Try running at different times of the day until you find a time frame that works best for you.
Unless you’re a professional runner, running is only a small part of your life. You have to figure out a way to balance your job, family, and other obligations besides running.
This is important because without the right balance, you risk neglecting your runs for other activities or find yourself not spending enough time with family or friends.
Remember why you want to run in the first place then figure out how to keep it in your weekly schedule.
Find Your Motivation
Running with a purpose means that there is something that keeps you motivated week after week.
Do you have a specific goal that you want to achieve? Many runners hope to reach milestones such as their first 5K, their fastest 5K, or all the way up to running their first marathon.
The point is that they are constantly trying to improve themselves to reach their goal. Purposeful runners are constantly improving. Even if the reason for running for a mental benefit versus something physical.
It takes mental toughness to run a half marathon or run your fastest mile ever right?
A purposeful runner trains with different runs in order to improve their skills. Going out the door each day and running the same miles at the same speed will not only cause eventual boredom, but it will also slow down your improvement.
Figure out what you hope to get out of each training session. Work on your breathing, a specific heart rate, distance, or even speed.
Related: 3 Runs Every Runner Needs
Barriers to Running
Just like anything in life, there will be barriers to running. That is why it’s important to figure out your “why”. So when things go wrong, you can dig deep and remember why you started.
Life is full of distractions and some of them are inevitable. It could be something as little as going down the rabbit hole on Instagram, or putting in extra hours at work because you’re seeking a promotion.
Remember that it’s okay to miss a few days of running. But don’t let a few missed days become missed weeks or months.
Some beginner runners might feel like they have to be the fastest or run a certain distance the first time they go out for a run. Then when it doesn’t happen, they feel discouraged or ashamed because they aren’t “fast enough”.
Don’t be discouraged! It doesn’t matter how much you run or how fast you do it. A mile is still a mile no matter how long it takes you to reach it.
Sometimes injuries just happen. It’s important to understand what caused the injury so that you can learn from it and prevent it from happening again.
Once you’ve taken the proper steps for recovery, don’t be afraid to get back out there! Take it slow and listen to the advice from your doctor or PT. But remember, the greatest athletes have come back from injury and so can you.
Running is a Journey
A purposeful runner understands that not every run will be their best one. And that’s okay because they can see the bigger picture. It’s all about being intentional with every run that you do.
It doesn’t matter if you walk, run, or do a combination of both. The goal is to stay consistent and remember your “why”. That way you can enjoy the journey for years to come.