Running Motivation During Covid – 19

Finding motivation has never been harder for fell runners who live away from the hills. Covid-19 has come with restrictions designed to keep everyone safe and free from the virus. As well as restricting the availability of hilly terrain to train on, races and events have also been cancelled. With the government gently releasing the lockdown soon will motivation increase? Over the last year many runners and other athletes have found motivation difficult due to a number of factors. What are the problems with running motivation during Covid for everyone in the sport?

Motivation killers

1. Postponed races and events

If you focus your training to take part in a specific race the last year has been tough. A marathon or long distance event which was planned for the spring of 2020, has moved to the Autumn, rolled on to the spring of 2021 and has probably postponed again. Three training blocks to start, stop and find another focus. Virtual races may have helped fill a gap initially but there are a limited number of routes you can run from home to meet the criteria of the event. Events continue to be cancelled in 2021. 

2. Not meeting running buddies

As a sport running has a strong social side training on your own can be difficult. With the current restriction of meeting one other person outside who do you choose? 

3. Restrictions of travel

If you like to do the same route every day this won’t be a problem. For everyone else doing the same thing from the same place gets boring pretty quickly and doesn’t help your training. That hill you found difficult a year ago is much easier and less challenging after you practiced it fifty times since the first lockdown. Running on my local hills can’t compare with regular outings to the Cheviots, Lake District or North Yorkshire Moors.

4. Uncertainty

We can’t guess the future and how well the recovery will go. Not knowing if your event will take place or even if you can meet one person from outside your home next week is a big phycological hurdle to overcome. Booking events or accommodation isn’t cheap especially if you can’t use it. 

An unhappy runner
Photo Derwentside A.C.

What can I do about it?

Your running motivation during Covid – 19 may have been low but the recovery roadmap suggests things are about to change. Whatever motivates you to run either harness it or rediscover it. A few ideas to try;

1. Start a run streak

Run a mile a day (or more). Get out there in all weathers. As your run streak increases you feel better about yourself and have a sense of achievement. Can you do a whole month or even longer? Durham resident Paul Smith currently has the the longest active run streak in England which he started on January 1st 2007. He still has a long way to go before catching run streak legend Ron Hill who won European and Commonwealth marathon championships while running every day for 52 years and 39 days. A run streak of a few weeks will help with motivation and get you used to regularly running again.

2. Aim for something

Can you run 100 kilometres this month? Is it possible to get the Strava Local Legend badge for running the most times up your local hill? Is there a landmark near you that you could visit on a run? There are a wide variety of achievable challenges to set yourself if you are creative. Work out what you would like to do and get out there.

3. Connect and challenge your running buddies

This one is probably the easiest and most rewarding of the ideas on here. Increase your running motivation during Covid – 19 by reconnecting with your friends. They will all be going through similar problems. Set a few challenges and give each other encouragement.

4. Research a target and set a long term goal

Is 2021/22 the year to run your first marathon or try something else on your list? Is there a race or event you would like to try?

5. Think of your mental health

Getting out in the fresh air and exercising makes you feel better no matter how much it hurts. Endorphins released into the blood give a runners high but equally important is the sense of achievement. You got out there and did it when it would have been just as easy sitting on your sofa complaining about Coronation Street.

Whatever your motivation and wherever you find it just get out there. No one else is going to do it for you!

What is your running motivation? Let us know in the comments below.

Read more posts on our Dreaming of the fells blog page.

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