How to Motivate Yourself to Run on Your Own

Sometimes people find it hard to motivate themselves to run on their own and they either don’t run at all or don’t run as much as they’d like to.

I experienced this myself when I first started running…

At first I ran with a friend for a short time while he gained a basic level of fitness to join the Navy.

However, when my friend left and I was on my own I struggled to get out for a run. In fact it took me several months to get into consistent running.

Even though I enjoyed running, had experienced some of the great benefits of running, and knew it would be good for me, I still found it hard to motivate myself to get out there.

As another example, I recently received an email from one of my customers saying that she was struggling to run as much as she would like.

She had a treadmill and could run anytime, in the comfort of her home, but she still couldn’t run consistently.

She was also disappointed and upset with herself because she really wanted to lose weight and hated the way she looked and felt. She also said that…

“Last week I ran for two days and I felt a difference almost instantly.”

Yet despite all this, she still found it hard to run, and I can understand how she felt.

So how do you get over this…

How do you motivate yourself to run on your own?

Well let’s start by being blunt and saying that really it’s nothing more than an excuse.

Saying that nobody will run with you is an easy way to skip runs and have an excuse so that you don’t have to push yourself out of your comfort zone.

It makes it incredibly easy to put off a run and say “I’ll run tomorrow” or “I’ll run next week” when really there’s no reason why you can’t run today.

You have a few choices here…

If you don’t run at all, you can let yourself get older while gaining more weight and having poor physical and mental health, but then you can say “Well nobody will run with me”.

If you already run but keep skipping runs, then you can remain overweight and never get the health, fitness, and body that you want, but then you can say the same thing, “Well nobody will run with me”.

The other option, and by far the best option, is to throw away this excuse and commit to making a huge difference to your life.

Nobody will remember your excuse not to run or to skip runs, they’ll remember what you’ve actually achieved. You would also only be cheating yourself out of a better and higher quality life.

So make the most of your health, fitness, and body by running and doing it consistently.

Here’s what else you can do…

If you’re a beginner runner, make a commitment to run 3 times per week for 4 weeks. Then see how you feel about running. By this time you’ll be getting into a routine and experiencing some of the benefits of running which makes it much easier to keep it going.

The best thing to do is schedule what days and times you’re going to run and say that you’re going to stick to it no matter what. No excuses!

When you keep persisting you can get to the stage where going for a run is just as easy as going shopping, watching television, or doing anything else.

It becomes part of your lifestyle and it feels just as important, and very often much more important, as other things in your life.

If you’re already running but still struggle to run on your own, then set a date with yourself for your next run.

So rather than saying “I’d like to run again on Wednesday, I’ll see what I feel like”, you say…

“My next run IS on Wednesday and I’ll be running at 6pm”

Then you put this in your diary or write it down somewhere and make sure that you stick to it like you would any other meeting or appointment.

Can you see how this is a now a fixed date rather than something that can easily be changed if you don’t quite feel like it?

It’s also important to remember that you either keep moving your life forward by running, and running consistently…

Or you go backwards and settle for losing your health and fitness and putting on more weight, or regaining the weight that you’ve already lost.

Which are you going to do?

Feel free to share your comments or experiences below.


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9 Responses to How to Motivate Yourself to Run on Your Own

  1. Cecilia says:

    Hi James, I know how hard it is to be motivated. For me the best motivation is to try on clothes I used to fit in to. Now I can wear them again and it’s a great feeling and that’s what I normally think about when I’m running. I imagine myself in situations, where I look pretty and get compliments. Another thing I tried this year and it seems to work is running to work. It’s ca 5k, so not a very long run and of course there are quite many people around and traffic lights, but still, running to and from work helps. It’s actually faster than taking the bus. I will try to go out for longer runs once Spring and Summer comes, but I just don’t like the idea of running in the dark along the canal or so (I tried and I was a bit scared, so will wait till it gets a bit lighter). So that’s what works for me, hope it will help others too.

    • James says:

      Thank you for sharing your experiences and tips Cecilia.

      I agree that running can actually be a time saver. Sometimes you can run and get fitter and healthier while saving both time and money. So that can be a good incentive to run.

      Using positive thinking and imagery like you talked about is also very useful.

      • dana hansen says:

        Yes, Cecilia, this is my biggest motivation as well.
        I donated all my large size clothes.
        I vowed NOT to get back to the previous weight, and I am going to do everything possible to keep this promise.
        And besides looks, what an improvment in overall health, ENERGY (the biggest one for me), mobility, sleep, and many others.
        I signed up for a couple of 10 K’s, and seriously thinking about half Marathon in the fall. That’s an other good “push” to get me out running.
        Ooooh, and an other thing: Spring is here (at least where I am), and I can do my runs early in the morning, along the Pacific beach.
        Good luck!

  2. Rebecca says:

    Thank you both, I have been an on and off runner. If you can even call me one. I seem to go for a week straight, but I always seem to let the littlest thing distract me, and I stop. I cant run with a friend because my husband travels, so I run on the treadmill in the morning before the kids are awake. I will definitely try…putting my small clothes on..and mentally picture my self in a bikini running on the beach…lol not what I look like now but what I will look like soon. Thank you.

  3. Donna says:

    Hi Everyone,
    I have also been struggling with running consistently. I love running and what it does for my mind,body and spirit –yet I find it hard to do. Why is it we find it hardest to do the things that are good for us What gives?? I have been doing a lot of thinking and soul searcing, and the bottom line is this. If you love and value yourself, and your body, you WILL do what is good for it, you will do what it takes to make it look better and feel better. Why? because it belongs to you, its” THE ONLY body you have and will ever have. Why not honor, love and cherish it, by doing something that is great , loving, kind and beneficial for our bodies. Well guys, I dont want to sound preachy. But, these are the questions I have been asking myself every time I make excuses for not running or eating unhealthful foods. And yet , I sTill make excuses for not working out and eat badly. I am trying to comprehend why am I not being kind ,loving and good to myself, and instead find it easier to be these things to everyone else?? Is it because I donot love or value myself ? I dont know!!! Is it because we place value on other things other than our health?? Whats’ important to you? Your health? Your car? Your jobs? Your homes?? Your CHILDREN AND PETS? Where do they rank in your life? Are they put before your health ?

    • James says:

      Thank you for those great comments Donna, very thought provoking.

      You are doing right to question yourself about these things because that’s the way you’ll dig up the right answers and get more out of your life.

      So many people drift through life accepting poor or average health and fitness, and taking their body for granted.

      Your physical and mental health depends on how well you look after your body and mind. They have the biggest impact on your quality of your life, yet a lot of people let it go to waste.

      It’s not easy to ask yourself questions like the ones you’re asking Donna because it can be quite uncomfortable. It is extremely worthwhile though. By not asking these questions you simply don’t improve and suffer from a lower quality of life.

      Most people are oblivious to this and never realise what they are doing to themselves. They never wake up to the fact that they’ve had a much lower quality of life than what they could have had.

      And the real problem here is that it not only affects them but also affects everybody else in their life who they love.

  4. lauren says:

    Well those are some good questions I will be musing over! I think I’m just a tad lazy minded but I hope that’s not my inner self under valuing myself! I think my goal of wanting to look like a pussycat doll is a bit of a reach and before I know it psyched myself out of the game! Who’s knows. I say just shove on your ipod and carry on regardless. Xx

  5. nora says:


    i love running but I have a basic problem. I am an attractive Arab woman so when I run in the states everyone thinks its funny to hoot at me and make comments. How can I run peacefully and banish those evil comments from evil people? I mean its really irritating and it gets into my routine. Today I only did about 10 mins of running because of how irritating the comments are.

    Thanks hope you can help

    • Jazzal says:

      You should run with ear phones in and blare some music out really loud. Its what i do when i run and i feel like im in my own little world. It really gives me motivation as well. If not then try running on a teadmill at a gym.