How to get back up to 10km when lockdown lack of motivation hits

Just to give an intro – this article is aimed at those who do normally run a 10km but have found running in lock down harder or have felt less motivated to do so. If you are wanting to get to 10km for the first ever time – i would offer very different advice although some of the below will still help.

Small back ground: whilst i am a personal trainer and i do run a running club, i’m not a natural distance runner and running has never been my first choice of exercise. Why do i do it? I love being outside, it is hugely important to me to take care of my cardio vascular health and normally it’s something i enjoy 100% more with others. So you can imagine, in lock down, my own enthusiasm to run was small. I didn’t run for the first few weeks and then motivated by our club 2.6 challenge to run 2.6miles for Ben’s Pass The Smile fund i got back out. I struggled then to feel enthusiasm to run further than 5km till this week.3f71ea94-7822-4a1f-9759-cbc45a18e8cf

This week we challenged our runners to a collective total. As a team we wanted to hit 100 miles in a week. This was done by day two of the week so i upped the challenge to 450miles. This was done by day four so i decided we needed to go BIG. As you’ve all noticed i’m sure, we celebrated 75 year anniversary of VE day so we upped to a 750 mile target.

I thought i should lead by example and do a bigger run. The challenge has motivated lots of our runners to run or even run further and that included me. Here is what i put it down to and my top tips if you want to get back up to a bigger distance.

Sign up to a challenge
It was such a lovely surprise how many of our runners jumped on board to get involved with this challenge and how it has helped our club feel together even though we are physically apart during the lock down. It didn’t cost any money, it didn’t require signing up to anything, just running and documenting on the group about your milage. Committing to things helps, feeling part of something helps so if you need a push there are loads of online challenges to get involved with and we will have plenty more coming to.

Run somewhere different
8573f26d-f3a9-436e-a7e9-f8171d016c50So many people run the same routes every time they run. Every time you get to ‘that hill’ you know you want to walk or that corner where someone made you jump. Mix up your route but also your terrain. I decided after mainly pavement running to get into the woods for the first couple of kms and see if it helped and the view and distraction (point A on my map) was just what i needed. I concentrated on not tripping over tree roots, looking at the beautiful bluebells and breathing in the fresher air rather than listening to my breathing and footsteps. It really helped distract.


Mix up the music
cbf30457-0b7e-4dba-b957-abd28d48f25eI’m sure as it does for you, music can spark up so many feelings and is a wonderful tool to get you g’d up for a run but i realised listening to music you associate with chilling out or listening to on a walk can actually make you feel like slowing down so i found a workout play list on amazon that went from Eminem to Survivor and Little Mix to Coldplay. All were up tempo but ‘Eye of the tiger’ kicked in at 3km, my first “i want to walk now” slump and kicked me right into it.
Those of you who use Amazon music, the link to the playlist i used is below.

Check out the Get Motivated playlist on Amazon Music

Sod the splits
If you want to focus on building distance back up then forget your splits, in fact, forget your time altogether. You can’t force time and distance and splits all in one go. Just go at a steady pace and hit the distance first. If that goes well then after a few runs work on your splits – or not. They don’t matter if it’s a case of going or not going!

Give yourself a get out – to a certain point
So, on the map at point B, even if you don’t know these road, you’ll see there is no cut across therefore I knew when i got to that point i had to either commit and it would be 10km or turn around. Once i got to the 4km and the corner of that road and felt ok then i knew if i turned i would do it. It gave me no choice but in a good way. I felt ok and re made my decision to fully commit to the 10km. I also knew it would take my past point C which was my friends house. I didn’t see them (sadly they were not on their drive with a socially distanced water station!) but it gave me a focus, a distraction that wasn’t my breath or foot steps but the thought i might wave to them on the way past and that i would then be onto the last quarter of my run. Land marks, things you like to look at or get out clauses that you then opt in to are a really great way to split up your run, add different things to focus on or just take your mind off it.

Stop comparing yourself to others
I know you have probably seen lots of people posting on social media. They might have more time than you or they might love running more. They might not, but they might be convincing themselves by telling you. Don’t compare your time, your distance, your speed, the numbers of runs in a week or anything else to anyone else. Follow people who inspire you but don’t rely on them. It’s your run, your journey and your call. What someone else does doesn’t matter. Unfollow people who make you feel bad and if it’s one of those days where you just need to not see what others are doing then get off social media all together. It can be the best and the worst thing at this time!
Add some small rewards
It may sound lame but the thought of running past my friends house gave me something to look forward to and that felt like reward 1. Reward 2 – i love walking so i told myself if i hit 10km i could walk as soon as i hit it. So i adapted my route to hit 10km as i got into the park so i could then walk home through the park (which i love – point D on the map) and it made me speed up my last km at the thought of the walk. Other ideas if you’re running intervals are programming a walk to help you look forward to it. Arranging for someone to wave you on and give you a cheer out their window (you’d be surprised how much this helps and also forms part of point 5. If you ask someone to look out for you and cheer, it means you have to make it to pass their house!) or end at your local shop and pick up your favourite drink for the walk home.

Remember good runs and bad runs can be a fluke!
If you have ever been for a run you probably already know. You have good runs and bad runs with no explanation at all. Some days you’re just not feeling it and that’s ok. Once you’ve had a bad run, swipe it off and remember, that means the next one has to be better. Don’t give up – be glad the bad run has happened because we all have them and it means it’s out the way for a while. Just pick yourself up and try again tomorrow!

I hope that helps if you’ve been stuck?


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