As much as I love jogging in and around Paris to soak up this beautiful city, sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation to get out and actually run. Other times, I find myself halfway through a course and I just want to pack it in early. Preparing for races has always been my main motivator to get out and train, but sometimes you need some extra help to sprint out the door.
If you find yourself in the same situation, here’s a few tips I’ve learned over the years for how to keep your energy pumping to lace up and hit the streets.
I know some people swear by the old tried and tested running-laps-around-a-track method, but for me personally, nothing makes me want to hit the snooze alarm faster than the idea of running in a circle over and over again. My favorite running routes are those where the terrain is constantly changing, whether it’s tackling hills or mazes of turns and corners. When planning your runs, don’t be afraid to mix it up and try new things, and when one route becomes routine, that means it’s time to find another.
Some of my personal favorite running spots in Paris include the Bois de Vincennes with its endless options of trails, and the Buttes-Chaumont park with its endless options for torture. Sorry, I mean hills.
2. Forget that you’re running
If you’re one of those people who can run without audio entertainment, power to you, because for me, what I’m listening to is the most important part of my run. If I’m doing speed training, the best thing I can recommend is movie scores, especially action and fantasy films. Not only do they make me think of the movies instead of the fact that I’m running, but there’s nothing like imagining yourself taking on pirates, ogres, and storm troopers to get your pace up. For film scores, you can’t go wrong with anything by Ramin Djawadi, particularly the score for “Pacific Rim,” which has racked up a serious play count on my ipod.
When I’m heading out for a distance run, podcasts are my must-have entertainment. You can find one on literally any subject these days, so whether you want to learn about history, study up on a new language, or listen to some comedy, I find that podcasts are the best way to forget that you’re running and make the kilometers fly by. A personal favorite of mine is the Nerdist podcast, which features interviews with comedians, actors, musicians and more.
3. Take breaks
When I first started running, I thought I had to run from start to finish, because to stop and walk, however briefly, was cheating. Eventually though, I discovered that treating yourself to a small walking break every now and again was not only a great motivator, but it also had the added bonus of improving my overall pace thanks to the energy boost those short breaks gave me. Some people time their walking breaks (example: 10 min run, 1 minute walk), but I find that timing your walks to coincide with your scenery works much better. Is there a point in your route where the landscape is particularly beautiful? You better believe that’s where I’ll be slowing down to walk for a bit, and knowing that there’s a short break on the horizon always puts an extra pep in my step. There’s no shortage of breathtaking sights in Paris, so treat yourself to a break every now and then and enjoy the view.
4. Set a tangible goal
If you want to run to be healthier and that’s all you need for motivation then I bow down before your obviously superior mental strength, because for me, I need something more. The great thing about running is that there’s no end to the tangible goals you can set for yourself. Whether it’s distance, speed, pacing, and/or finisher’s medals, there’s dozens of ways to keep you motivated to get out running.
For myself personally, I’ve set a goal of running a sub 2:25 half marathon. For most people, that’s a piece of cake, but for me, it might as well be the same as climbing Mount Everest given the amount of training and work it’s going to take to achieve this goal. On the plus side, it will keep me lacing up every other morning for the foreseeable future, that’s for sure.
5. Make it fun
Although running may not shoot to the top of most people’s “Fun activities” list, it should be something you enjoy. I run because I love entering races, crossing that finish line, and collecting my finisher’s medal. It’s addictive, and it’s what keeps running fun for me. Make sure you find some aspect of running that keeps it pleasurable for you, whether it’s pounding the pavement with friends or using the time to catch up on your audio material. If not, perhaps running truly isn’t your thing and you should look into other forms of physical activity. You may think that’s a weird suggestion in an article about keeping up your motivation to run, but with so many other great forms of exercise out there to try, why needlessly torture yourself?