I am one of the most intrinsically motivated people I know when it comes to running. I absolutely love to run, and rare is the day I have a tough time getting out the door. But sometimes, even those of us with this level of love for the sport will struggle to find motivation.

So what’s a runner to do? I apply the 15-minute rule to the situation: I tell myself that I will run for 15 minutes. If, in that time, I am really hating life, I can turn around and come home. You know what? I don’t think that has ever happened.

Think about it: once you are a mile or so into a run, the magic usually starts to work. This is the point when your muscles start to loosen up, your breathing begins to even out, and you start remembering why you love to run.

Not convinced? Then try these tricks to make sure you do give it your 15 minutes:

  • If you use headphones on your run, lock in some of your favorite tunes for those first 15 minutes to help you get moving.
  • Throw on your favorite shorts, shirt, capris, whatever, so that you feel good as you go out the door.
  • Visualize your next race finish and tell yourself that without some mileage, that finish isn’t going to feel as victorious as you’d like.
  • If you’re a competitive soul, think about the fact that if you’re not getting out the door, your competition is. Grrrrr.
  • Remind yourself of how far you have come. Remember when 15 minutes of running was a struggle? Now it’s child’s play. You can do it with your eyes closed (although I don’t recommend it).
  • Promise yourself a reward if you can make it those first 15 minutes, and maybe even a bigger reward if you go further. A warm cup of coffee, for instance, if it’s a cold day, or a long, hot shower if you go further.

Whatever it takes, try to give yourself that 15-minute grace period to make it stick. After all, you’ll rarely regret the run you take, but you’ll always regret those you don’t.


By Nichols