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6 Tricks to boost running motivation

Read about our 6 tricks to boost your motivation, whether for running, working out, or any tough moments.

running motivation

Running and working out are as much a mental challenge as they are physical ones. Sometimes, the hardest part of going for a run is convincing yourself to lace up your shoes and hit the pavement. Whether you're training for a race or simply trying to stay consistent with your running or workout routine, here are six mental tricks to help you boost your running motivation and stay on track.

Set Small, Achievable Goals:

Instead of focusing solely on the end goal, break it down into smaller, more manageable milestones. I always suggest starting with something so small and easy that you can't fail—for example, just run one mile. I bet you'll find it easy to finish the other miles once you get started. The same applies to long-term goals. Setting achievable goals allows you to celebrate small victories along the way, keeping you motivated and engaged with your progress.

Visualize Your Success:

Take a few moments before your run to visualize yourself crossing the finish line of a race or achieving a new personal best. Visualizing success can help create a positive mindset and motivate you to push through challenging moments during your run. I use this method a lot to motivate myself to strength train. I can visualize myself feeling and looking stronger and running with better form as a result.

Positive Self-Talk:

Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations to uplift and motivate yourself during your run. Remind yourself of past accomplishments, repeat empowering mantras, and encourage yourself every step of the way. Music can also create this positive self-talk mindset when you tune into your favorite beats.

Focus on The Present Moment:

Practice mindfulness during your runs by focusing on each step, breath, and sensation in the moment. By staying present and fully immersed in the experience, you can avoid distractions and maintain your momentum with greater ease. It can also keep you from spiraling by thinking of how far you have to go.


Being accountable to yourself or others can significantly boost your running motivation. When you commit to a training plan or share your goals with a friend, you create a sense of responsibility to follow through. Knowing that someone else is counting on you or that you have set expectations for yourself can be a powerful motivator to lace up your shoes and hit the pavement, even on days when you feel less motivated. Accountability helps you stay committed, stay on track with your progress, and push you to overcome challenges when they arise. Additionally, sharing your achievements and progress with others can provide a sense of support and encouragement, further fueling your motivation to keep running.

Some ways to find accountability include hiring a coach, using a tracker app, meeting friends, signing up for a race, or attending a club run or exercise class.

Reward Yourself:

Treat yourself after completing a run or reaching a specific training milestone. Whether it's indulging in a favorite snack, taking a relaxing bath, or rewarding yourself with new gear, incentives can fuel your motivation and make running more enjoyable.

In conclusion, running is not just about physical endurance—it also requires mental strength and determination. By incorporating these mental tricks into your running or workout routine, you can boost your motivation, overcome obstacles, and unleash your full potential as a runner. Remember that every step forward is progress toward becoming the best version of yourself, both physically and mentally—so lace up those shoes and hit the road with confidence!

How does the Omega project team find motivation?

"When a run is tough, I try to think about gratefulness. That makes me realize that going on a run is a privilege, and I can accept it however it feels!" - Doug

"In terms of finding ways to motivate myself either during a run or just to get out the door, I like to use social media. Even though there’s been a big push to spend less time on social media in general, I find using Strava helpful in seeing what others did that day. It helps me to get out the door or give me ideas for a workout.  I also will often visualize myself running in whatever race I’m training for as I am going along…and if that fails, I’ll just think about what delicious food I will have after a long training run." - Kyle

"When I think about my motivation during tough workouts, I think of the times I've been on grueling runs or bike rides and repeat mantras to myself. Sometimes, they're motivational, and other times, just silly. You will likely hear me cursing 😄, which helps me dispel negative energy and push through the pain. My motivation for day-to-day workouts often involves enjoying and appreciating the moment, so it is much easier for me to run/ride/walk outside in nature. For strength training, I choose to pay for a group fitness gym membership so I have a coach to direct me and friends to inspire me." - Brianne

"My motivation is a combination of things. First, I love to run - slow, fast, everything in between! Because when I run/workout I have the time and space to clear my head, work through issues, and brainstorm new ideas, I look forward to the free therapy :) When I'm feeling low, tired, or at times when I'll be working out either super early or super late in the day, I put on my favorite Pandora station (classified information) and start grooving! In workouts and races, I use visualization or repeat phrases to myself such as "You got this," "Get after it," "I love this," or "Okay, girl!" I also will resort to counting my steps and/or matching my cadence to a fun song. I also really crave getting to run/socialize with the Run Club - it's one of my favorite runs of the week!" - Leah-Kate

"Accountability is usually my biggest motivator to get out the door, whether it is meeting with friends to get our 5 am 3-mile walks in every week or meeting people at the gym. Then my competitive nature takes over, and I can push through any workout." - Neely 

"Waking up at 4:55 am every Wednesday isn’t easy- but I know my walking buddies are getting up and waiting on the corner. Part workout and part therapy session: Wednesday morning walks make me a nicer person!" - Devon

"Getting out the door for a run or workout has gotten increasingly more challenging over the years with the addition of my 2 little ones. Getting out the door or getting started is often the greatest hurdle. However, seeing the interest my kids have in exercise when they see me doing it or asking if they can ride alongside me on their scooter as I run is one of my greatest motivators. I know that I am setting a healthy example for them for the future. Another thing that helps me get going is knowing that exercise often energizes me, helps to keep my anxiety in check, and simply makes me feel stronger and more capable. I know that exercise and movement are the keys to longevity—longevity in my career, longevity in playing and keeping up with my kids, and longevity in life!" - Kaitlin 

"My motivation to workout comes from knowing it's good for me, it helps me clear my mind, it gives me the energy to get through long days, and it is one of the only things that will allow me to live the way I want to 50 years from now (knock on wood). As a physical therapist, I have seen the compounding effects of ignoring physical well-being year after year and how that can make a person's world so small. Health brings more time to enjoy life, travel, or play with future generations. In theory, these are my motivators, and I am fortunate to be reminded of them daily at work. Even with these daily reminders, I am just as tempted by the snooze button as the next person, and there are days when it seems so enticing to cut a workout short. On those days, a quick kick in the behind and my "Workout" playlist on Spotify seem to do the trick (shoutout to early 2000's rap)." - Cody


We strive to be the number one physical therapy provider in Wilmington, Delaware for those who refuse to quit.

Our blog posts allow us to reach more runners and athletes so they can benefit from fewer injuries and better performance. Please share it so we can spread the love!

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We strive to be the number one physical therapy provider in Wilmington, Delaware for those who refuse to quit.

Our blog posts allow us to reach more runners and athletes so they can benefit from fewer injuries and better performance. Please share it so we can spread the love!

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