• Miriam Diaz-Gilbert

10 Ways to Stay Motivated and Keep Running Year Round


Photo credit: Jon Gilbert

It's springtime. Summer is around the corner. So go outside and start putting one foot in front of the other. Training for your next race, and need that extra nudge? It's no secret - sometimes staying motivated to run, even in nice weather, can be a drag.

I have a 24 track ultra coming up in May - the Dawn to Dusk to Dawn 24 hour. I need to log the training miles. What are you training for? You want to be ready on race day, no matter the distance. Here are ten ways to stay motivated and train no matter the season, weather, and climate.

1. SMOOTHIE

Get pumped with a delicious smoothie. My training run nutrition begins with a Paleo smoothie. I take out my Ninja blender and throw in any combination of beets, bananas, mangos, pears, apples, coconut milk, dark chocolate almond milk, coconut flakes, avocado, spinach, kale and whatever berries are in season. Healthy fuel will keep you going!

2. DRESS WEATHER APPROPRIATE

Layer up in cold weather. I wear 2 - 3 layers from the waist down and 3 - 4 layers from the waist up. Cover your head, ears, and hands. In warmer, sunny, or super hot and humid weather, one layer of bright colors will suffice. Being overdressed or underdressed can spoil a good run. Don't forget sunscreen. I apply sunscreen on my nose even on sunny winter days.

3. LISTEN TO INSPIRATION

Sometimes we need some inspiration to keep us motivated on the run. I don't always plug in my Plantronics Back Beat headset but when I do, I tune in to Spotify, my iTunes music, and running podcasts such as BibRave, TrainingforUltra, UltrarunnerPodcast, and Ordinary Marathoner. I also tune in to the Blessed2Play podcast. I listen to inspirational professional and ordinary athletes share the importance of faith in their sport. I was honored to be interviewed by Ron Meyer about my faith, overcoming adversity, and ultrarunning on Blessed2Play. You can listen here.

4. LIMIT SOCIAL MEDIA AND SELFIES

My best training runs take place when I silence my iPhone, don't check my social media, and avoid selfies. I carry my phone for emergency purposes. If my husband or children call, I answer. All other calls go to voice mail. Taking selfies can break my momentum, but I'll take a selfie or capture a beautiful sight during a walking break, like at mile 13 of a 20 mile training run as a gaggle of geese cross the road, or a pair of deer in the woods cheer me on during a trail ultra. These beautiful creatures lift my spirits and exhausted legs.

5. RECORD YOUR STATS

My distance, pace, heart rate, calories, and BPM are recorded in my Fitbit Surge. I am interested only in my miles, pace/average pace, and time. I record these numbers in my paper calendar on my desk. At the end of the training week, I add up my miles. I'm not out to set or break records. I have all my paper calendars since 2005. They keep me motivated.

6. THE DREADED TREADMILL

If you have access to a treadmill, hop on it. Sometimes cold weather reluctantly drags me to the dreaded treadmill at Planet Fitness. The most I've logged on a treadmill at one time is 7 miles. That's enough for me. After I've logged the miles, I feel accomplished. I have an ElliptiGo on a stationary trainer at home I can peddle just to keep my legs moving.

7. STRENGTH TRAINING

Strength training is an essential part of training for a run, especially an ultra which requires endurance and a strong core. Cold, snowy, and rainy weather days are perfect for strength training and staying motivated at a gym or at home. This is a good time to plug online and follow good strength training routines. You'll find a plethora of strength training for runners videos on YouTube.

8. CROSS-TRAINING

It's good to take a break from moving your body and feet in one direction. A terrific way to stay motivated is cross-training. I take advantage of snow and go snowshoeing. I'm a gardener. Spring and summer gardening is enjoyable cross-training. I also play tennis and hike. Find what works for you - swimming, rock climbing, cycling, paddle boarding, or something else. Here are 16 cross-training activities to supplement your running.

9. RUNNING BOOKS AND DOCUMENTARIES

To stay motivated while on the treadmill or ElliptiGo at home, watch a running documentary. You will be inspired, time will fly, and you might be motivated to stay on a bit longer. Some of my favorite ultrarunning documentaries include Running the Sahara, Desert Runners, Traction, Ultramarathon Man, and The Barkley Marathons. Check out this list of must-see running documentaries. View the smorgasbord of inspiring and motivating running documentaries on YouTube. Running books and running memoirs will also keep you motivated.

10. RUNNING WEBSITES, PODCASTS & YOUTUBE VIDEOS

I have been running competitively since 1989, and running ultras since 2005. Running websites of ordinary and elite runners continue to energize, motivate, and inspire me. Click on this link for a great list of running websites to learn from and to stay motivated.

Tune in to Like a Big Foot, Trail Running Women, and Training for Ultra podcasts and others.

You'll find great motivational running videos on YouTube by elite and ordinary runners of all distances. All my years of running inspired me to create my website. YouTube videos motivated me to keep running and to create my YouTube Channel. Thank you for visiting my ultrarunning website and my YouTube Channel.

Here's the link to my YouTube video 10 Tips to Keep You Motivated and Running Year Round.

How do you stay motivated to run year round? Contact me and let me know. Your sharing and feedback could be included in a future post. Have a website, podcast, or YouTube channel? Contact me and let me know!

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