“Somewhere in the world someone is training when you aren’t.

When you race her, she will win.”

Dear Mountain Mama,

I’ve been skipping some training runs. And the more I let a run here or there slide, the harder it is to make myself get out the door.

What motivates you to run?

Yours,

In-training

Dear In-Training,

Everyone needs a little nudge at times. The more we keep at it, committing to a routine day after day, the easier running becomes because it’s a habit, something we just instinctively do like brushing our teeth.

When I first started training, I asked others for tips that would help me stick to my training schedule no matter how much I’d rather pick up a dozen glazed dozens from the Krispy Kreme drive-thru and veg. On days when I needed a motivational boost, I read through this list.

1. Running body. My friend who runs marathons like they are 5 –K’s and rocks a bikini despite having two kids and working full time told me that she laces up her shoes because it she take pride in her running body. When her pants feel tight she told me she laces up her running shoes and tells herself, “there’s a six-pack hidden under that gut.”

2. Read about running. Another friend swore by reading about running for ten minutes makes her itch to get outside. She suggested running books by Hal Higden and Jeff Galloway, along with George Sheehan’s Running to Win. Words inspire me to do my best and run even when I don’t feel in the mood.

3. Leverage your competitive streak. “Somewhere in the world someone is training when you aren’t. When you race her, she will win.” Now I don’t consider myself as competitive as the runner who told me that thinking about other people training inspires her to stick to her schedule. But when I think about whether I can finish a marathon, I remind myself that going the distance in January hinges on committing to runs now. For the benefit of my future self who will be toeing the start line in five months, I make it a priority to squeeze in my training runs.

4. Listen to music. Music not only helps me during difficult runs, but listening to my favorite songs helps get me in the running mood. Listening to music energizes me and helps to get in the right mind frame tackle challenges, whether it be an extra mile or a hill repeats.

5. Find a new route. Research a scenic trail that you’re excited to explore. Beautiful scenery can spark our running interest when it’s fading. Nothing compares to seeing a waterfall, conquering a mountain, or listening to coyotes howl while on a run. Concentrating on finding your way and staying on route will also keep you engaged in the present moment instead of dreading the next hill.

6. Tell yourself you only have to run a mile. The first mile is often the toughest and once you get going, you’ll finish you’re whole workout. Sometimes the mental fatigue from the day can keep us from getting out there door. When you’d rather crash on the couch then hit the pavement, realize your body can handle the workout. Marshall Mintz, a clinical and sports psychologist said, “Once you get going, even it’s for an easy three-miler, it almost always feel to be running.

7. Remember joy. Running is pretty much the answer to my problems. It’s not that work, deadlines, and household chores disappear. The headlines about Ebola and Isis still make me worry. Real life lurks, waiting for me after I cool down. But running allows me to get lost in my own neighborhood. And there are those magical moments when I run when my feet feel light and the wind whispers inspiration to me, when I feel like I’m flying and anything is possible.

In-training, print out this list or create one of your own and hang it right next to your training schedule. Next time you’re lacking motivation, read through it and find the tip that helps you make your run happen.

Happy trails,

Mountain Mama