Training Motivation: How to Keep Your Levels High


, by Nick Bester

Photography by: La Famiglia

Motivation levels come and go. Sometimes they’re high and it’s easy to get out the door, while other times they’re low and it’s a real struggle.

Here are some of my top tips to keep your motivation levels nice and high while ensuring we’re training consistently - and most importantly enjoying it.

Enter a race

Nothing is more motivating than when you know you have a race coming up. It’s often the difference between getting your run in, or putting it off for later (and in many cases later turns out to be never). It doesn’t need to be your target race. In actual fact, it’s good to enter 'out of season' races where you know you’re not going to achieve a PB. They give you something to train towards.

RELATED: How to Peak for Your Target Race

If entering a race scares you, I encourage you to try it. The worst thing that can happen is that you have a bad race. Even a bad race is a good result because it’s better than no race at all!

Join a running club or community

You can learn a lot from others around you, and it can be very motivating to train with a group rather than doing all your runs solo. Certain sessions in a group are a lot easier - things like track / interval sessions, tempo or hill sessions and especially longer runs - because it’s a whole lot easier to suffer in a group rather than suffer alone. I know that in interval sessions, where you’re pushing yourself completely out of your comfort zone, the fact that you sharing the work with others and know that they’re suffering just as much as you makes that feeling a little bit easier.

Running with a group is particularly helpful during harder sessions. Photography by: Jacob Lund

People also hold you accountable. If you know you’re meeting someone for a run you’re far more likely to turn up. Once you’ve built these group runs into your weekly routine, that’s when you really start to become consistent and the results begin to show.

If you don’t have a running club or any community near you, or simply would like to join the running club and community I started, Best Athletics, then you’re more than welcome! We have members all over the UK and the world. The vibes are great and we would love to have you. I’ve seen many runners join and the motivational levels go through the roof after seeing the encouragement and support the group gives you. The synergy that a good, encouraging running group can create is very powerful.

DID YOU READ? 7 Easy Tips for Improving Your Run Training

Treat yourself to a new piece of kit

One thing I’ve come to learn over the years is that us runners love merchandise. We would rather sacrifice in so many other areas of our life just to get good running kit. Treat yourself and get something you really like. Whether it’s a pair of shoes, a watch or any other running kit, just do it. It doesn’t need to be something expensive and if you sacrifice little bits and pieces in other areas of your life to make this purchase, it will be 100% worth it. I know as soon as I have new shoes, I really look forward to getting out to run in them. The same goes with new merchandise. You have to feel the part, to run the part and often a little treat to yourself is just what you need.

Getting a run coach can help keep you on track. Photography by: Jade Maas /

Get a running coach or follow a training plan

Coaches hold you accountable for your training. If you know you have a coach that’s checking up on your training regularly or a training plan telling you what to do, you’re far more likely to get out for the run. It can also be very rewarding once you start seeing results from working with your coach. That, in itself, makes you want to get out the door.

TRAINING PLANS: Strava has Training Plans for all major run distances

If you can’t afford a coach, there are various other options like following one of Strava's training guides.

Surround yourself with those who bring out the best in you

We’re all competitive, and competing with someone is a good thing - but make sure you’re surrounding yourself with those like-minded runners who will bring out the absolute best in you.

The sport is hard enough as it is, so being kind to one another and bringing out the best in each other is exactly what we need.

Those are the running mates who are genuinely happy when you achieve a goal you’ve set out for yourself. They are the type of friends who encourage and support you within your training and racing and we should do the same for them. The sport is hard enough as it is, so being kind to one another and bringing out the best in each other is exactly what we need.

Follow those who inspire you on Strava

These days, almost all athletes’ training goes on Strava. Find athletes who you look up to and motivate you. They can be professionals, sub-elites, runners faster than you or even runners slower than you. Whatever their pace, if their training motivates you, follow them.

MORE FROM COACH NICK: How to Get to The Next Level with Your Run Training

I know in my case that I often follow fellow runners I look up to, see the training that they’re doing and then I’ll try and do that session myself (or it will give me enough motivation to smash my session as I know they’ve got theirs in). That healthy competition between friends can often get you out the door once you know they’ve got the session in.

The hardest part is getting stuck in. Once you’re into routine it gets a whole lot easier. Together we grow.

Onwards and upwards,

Coach Nick

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