How To Stay Motivated To Run Without A Season In Sight?

With school officially shut down for the remainder of the year, a track season seems to drift further from sight every day. While there's talk of a summer season, the possibility seems small, and even so, at this point, summer seems a long way off. Without a team to hold us accountable or upcoming meets to train for, motivation to run right now can come far and few between. Here are some tips to hopefully help give you some motivation to keep working hard these next few weeks.

Focus on the little details

While many athletes still have online school, there's still a high chance that most of us have a lot more time on our hands. It may seem easy to waste away this time on our phones or on sleeping in until 4pm, but this time can be greatly used to our advantage to focus on things we do not usually have time for. Here's a list of some small, manageable, yet beneficial things you can do with your spare time:

  • Rolling out, doing yoga, stretching, etc
  • Longer ab / leg / strength workouts (many great videos of these on YouTube)
  • More time to prep healthier foods and meals
  • Cross-training such as biking 

Have your teammates (virtually) keep you accountable 

This one is pretty simple and straightforward, but create a group chat with your teammates or make a pact with a former running buddy. Text each other every day what your workout of the day was, or let each other know how your long run went. Seeing each other work hard every day will only encourage you to keep running.

Set goals and race yourself

This is more of a two-part tip, but both have the goal in mind of pushing yourself. Goal setting gives us something concrete to work towards, especially when we write them down. Some possible goals are: 

  • How many miles you want to run in the next month 
  • How long you want to work up your long run to be
  • How quick you want your mile repeats to be after 4 weeks of training

Racing yourself in a time trial is also a great way to stay on track, even if you don't have access to one. Pick a date and a distance a couple of weeks out and decide to run a time trial on that day. Even though you may have no other competitors, race your previous PR's and your watch.

Make running a priority 

Waking up early is never fun, but knocking out your run earlier in the day sets you out to be more productive puts you in a better mood and simply gets it out of the way. Plus, the trails and roads are likely to be less crowded, making social distancing easier and ensuring a much more peaceful run.

Make it fun!

At the end of the day, running should be fun, and in quarantine, a nice relief from being stuck in a house all day. Mix it up by trying new routes, even if that means driving to a different forest preserve or neighborhood. Running without teammates can be a drag, so ask a family member to bike or rollerblade next to you.

Happy quarantine running!