10 tips to stay motivated to train during the pandemic

May 9, 2020

Feeling lost, a little hopeless and lacking motivation to train? Exercise has been proven to boost immune systems, enhance moods and alleviate stress. Here are 10 ways to get and keep motivated to train amidst the global pandemic.

Runner in mask during the pandemic

1. Get competitive

Look for a bit of healthy competition, if that’s something that motivates you. Find a virtual group of people to train with in order to keep up the pace or chart your times against others with a fitness app like Strava.

2. Reward yourself

The power of reward doesn’t end in childhood. Create a reward system for yourself. Track your process with good old-fashioned gold stars or an online challenge app.

Rewards can be something as simple as allowing yourself an extra 30 minutes of sleep or getting that funky new accessory.

3. Keep moving

On days when you aren’t able to meet your training target, train for whatever amount of time you have available instead of sitting it out completely. This way, you’re more likely to stay in the swing of things since you won’t have missed an entire day. Consistency is key.

4. Release the endorphins

The runner’s high is real and is a phenomenon applicable to many sports. You may experience feelings of positivity or even euphoria, as exercise improves your mood and makes you feel better by releasing endorphins, one of the happiness hormones. And who doesn’t want to create some happy vibes in these crazy times?

5, Set goals

Break your intentions into small, manageable goals on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. This can include the amount of time you put in per week, how fast you run a certain distance, or the number of days you train. Write these down. Keep yourself accountable and tick them off as you go.

6. Let music move you

Use this opportunity to create a playlist of all your favourite tunes. Select upbeat songs that put you in a good mood and inspire you to keep moving forward. Only allow yourself to listen to these songs while you train.

7. Mix it up

Switch up your training routine at least once a week. Run hills instead of a long distance or add in some sprints on the bike. Look for new routes or do your usual route in reverse or throw in a few fartleks.

8. Vitamin D

Training outside is a fantastic way to get the sunlight needed to boost serotonin levels. This helps to put you in a good mood while reducing stress and anxiety.

9. Morning ‘runspiration’

At the moment, we are all required to run in the morning but luckily the early morning lends a certain energy to your training. You may feel like you’re getting ahead of the game, which can set a positive tone for your entire day. Who doesn’t want to feel like they got it all this morning?

If possible, try and get out at the start of the exercise window to enjoy the beauty and silence of the early morning. Waking up early allows you to take time for yourself and enjoy this quiet, peaceful time of day before the exercise window gets too busy. Other benefits include boosts to your productivity and concentration.

10. Nature’s gift

After being cooped up for weeks on end, enjoy the natural surroundings in your area – the big trees you run past, the house with the beautiful flowers outside or the mountains or hills in the distance that you may not get to see from home. Even if you’re in the heart of the city, try running past a natural park within your 5km radius once a week to enjoy the feeling of space.

Christine Prokopiak

Christine is a running coach and nutrition specialist based with Sole Buddies #LiveLife in Cape Town. She is also the co-anchor for the GerhardandChristineLiveLife podcast, and co-founder of For The Long Run, a social upliftment project and registered NPO in Fisantekraal. Read more about Sole Buddies here. 

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