Staying motivated when not training for a race

Even the most passionate of runners can find the snooze button tempting during the off season. If you do not have a race coming up, try these 5 tips for keeping your running mojo going strong.

Staying motivated when not training for a race

1. Tackle shorter distances

While marathon training has its rewards, there's something to be said for runs that don't take three hours of your Saturday, leaving you drained and exhausted. Use the time between training cycles as an opportunity to try out shorter distances. A 5 kilometre run can provide some of that racing adrenaline without eating up your entire day. You may find climbing out of your cozy bed for a run easier when you know there are only a few kilometres ahead of you.

2. Find a running group

Running buddies are an excellent way to keep yourself accountable. You might not have a training plan calling for 10 kilometres, but you do have a friend or two waiting for you. It's much easier to lace up when you know you'll be letting someone down if you sleep in. Plus, if you run with a friend who's a little faster than your normal pace, you may just enter training season primed and ready for that new personal record.

3. Try new workouts

One great thing about the off season is it gives you a chance to explore other types of exercise. That yoga class you wanted to try but couldn't squeeze in during marathon training? Now is the perfect time. Make it a point to challenge yourself with new workouts – biking, kickboxing, swimming or whatever sounds fun. You might discover running isn't the only type of exercise you enjoy.

4. Switch up your running playlist

Spending time picking out some new tunes the night before a run can provide an extra boost of motivation. And while this may not be practical before every single run, having a playlist that you allow yourself to listen to only while running can help keep it special. If you know you can hear your favourite song only while pounding the pavement, you'll be a little less likely to skip your workout.

5. Create a race bucket list

Fantasizing about all the races you want to try can help keep you excited about running. Let yourself daydream about that marathon in Big Sur or along the Great Wall of China. There are thousands of races out there, many of them in exotic locations. Even if one isn't in your near future, who's to say you can't dream?

Don't let the off season provide an excuse to take up permanent residence on the couch. Take steps to keep yourself motivated and you'll enter your next training cycle better prepared.

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