5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Walk or Run

5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Walk or Run Image  "Family Walking on Southern Ocean Lodge" © Tourism Australia via Canva.com

I’m currently doing Les Mills Pump, and there are some days when a walk is on the schedule. It can be replaced with any other cardio activity, but today I decided to go for a walk because I found out my car has to stay in the shop longer than expected, and I had somewhere to go that I estimated would take me about half an hour to walk to. It was actually a bit further, but not by much. If I hadn’t had that place to go, I probably wouldn’t have done that walk (though I would like to believe I would have motivated myself to do another workout). While on the walk, I started thinking of ways to motivate myself to take more walks (which could also apply to going for runs if I work back up to wanting to do that). I’ll start with what I did today and share four more:

1. Walk or run with a destination in mind 

Having a destination was a motivator today, but it has been in the past as well. For a period of time when I lived in Florida I was running, but I didn’t always want to do it. On days I didn’t, I ran to the store to get a few things I needed and then walked or jogged back depending on how much I was carrying. Although some people live further out from destinations than others, “walking distance” is really only determined by the time you have available and the effort you’re willing to put in to getting somewhere.

2. Take dogs for a walk or run 

My dogs love to go for walks and get very excited to do so. Although it’s not necessarily good for an aerobic walk since one of them wants to pee or stop to sniff something every few seconds, it is good for covering a distance, and I tend to walk for longer if my dogs are with me than I would if I walked alone. For shorter distances, my dogs will also tolerate a run. If you don’t have dogs but want to do this, you could look for people hiring dog walkers, which would be a way to get some exercise and make an extra income. Here’s a clip of my Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Miniature Pinscher taking a walk through the leaves in the woods near our home. 

3. Walk or run somewhere scenic 

If your local streets aren’t doing it for you, find a nice park or garden to stroll through. When I lived in Toledo, I used to go to Swan Creek metro park. In Florida, I liked to find a neighborhood with trees since mine didn’t have any or drive to the beach and walk. In Heidelberg, we were lucky to have a nice city to stroll though which also had a trail up the side of the mountain with a great view over the city. In Kaiserslautern, I’ve walked through the Gartenshau and the Japanese Garden.

Swan Creek, Philosophenweg, Japanischer Garten, Gartenshau

4. Walk downtown 

Even if you choose to drive downtown (or whatever you call the main area in your city), find somewhere to park and walk around. Whether you have a destination in mind or not, you may notice things about your city that you wouldn’t if you were in a car. Although we used to walk around Heidelberg all the time, we were in Kaiserslautern for a year before I finally took a walk around the city, and I saw a lot of interesting little things I probably wouldn’t have noticed while driving.

Kaiserslautern collage

5. Walk when you travel 

I get the most walking done when I’m traveling because I tend to go everywhere on foot instead of using public transportation. Although I might not want to cover the same distance locally, while traveling it doesn’t bother me as much because I have so many new things to see. Doing this is also a helpful reminder on days like today (when I was debating whether I really wanted to get where I was going) that if I can spend a full day covering a city end to end, I can certainly spend half an hour to get to somewhere that would have taken a few minutes by car. If you’re going to spend a day walking, don’t forget the sunscreen.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these 5 ideas to help get you motivated to take your next walk or run. You may also want to check out these fit facts about walking. Although I’m hoping our car is fixed soon, we’re a one car household at the moment, so there is probably a lot of walking in my future if I want to get anywhere while my husband is working instead of staying home feeling like I’m living the opening scene of Tangled. So I’m sure I’ll be returning to my own list to get myself motivated. I’m also thinking about getting a bike so I can cover some distances further from home without taking all day to get there.

If you have any favorite ways to motivate yourself to walk or run or any tips on buying a bike, please share in the comments below! 

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“I’m Checking the Clock for You!” (Day 20: Plyometric Cardio Circuit)

English: an exercise of thigh

I did not eat enough food during the day and it made the workout a bit harder. I am doing well with writing down what I eat but have slacked on copying some of the calories and I know just from the amount of food even if I had the calories added up they would not be enough. So, my goal by the end of the Week 4 is to get some kind of system down where I can keep better track (paper obviously isn’t cutting it) and have foods available that are healthy yet enough calories to give me a boost.

Anyhow, during the power squats Shaun T said “I’m checking the clock for you!” I was glad for it, because it helped to be able to just focus and know how long I had to push without looking at the clock. I also still got enjoyment out of being able to keep up with the Level 1 drills. It’s nice to be able to feel the improvement. I was so tired at the end of the workout, especially due to starting with less energy but I pushed through. I appreciated the camera angles this time at the end because Shaun T places his hand such that you can pretend you’re hitting it and they show Chris’s hands moving in line with the screen for the attack so you can match the movements. Once again, it kept my mind off what I had left to get through so I could just get through it.

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“I’m Smiling Because I Love It” (Day 16: Plyometric Cardio Circuit)

plyometric cardio circuitWhile I generally like the Plyometric Cardio Circuit, I was not all that excited to do it on Day 16 and couldn’t really agree with Shaun T saying “I’m smiling because I love it.” However, I decided to do it anyway. I started to get tired even during the first circuit of the regular workout, but I kept going.

I’m glad I did. As you may be aware, I’m not great at push ups so the Level 1 and Level 2 Drills are a bit of a challenge. I have been having to pause the DVD to get the push ups in and then restart it, and sometimes even do the push ups modified. Well, this time I did the regular push ups, pausing for the first and second run through. During the last one, I left it play and finally managed to keep up with Shaun T’s speed.

My hair was falling out of my ponytail the whole time and sticking to my face but I didn’t want to stop to fix it. Having succeeded at the Level 1 Drills seemed to make the rest of the circuit go faster and I actually didn’t even realize I was about to be done until we stopped. If I hadn’t done my workout I would have missed my little milestone, so I’m glad I stuck with it.

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“Unless You Puke Faint or Die, Keep Going” (Day 12: Cardio Power and Resistance)

cardio power and resistanceDay 12 happened to be my birthday, and I was sore and felt nauseated, all reasons I did not particularly want to do my workout for the day. But I’m committed to not skipping day if I can help it, and I was only mildly not feeling well, so I decided to do it. I had seen a picture earlier in the day with what I later found out to be a Jillian Michaels quote: “Unless you puke, faint, or die, keep going”. I told myself that before the workout and a few times during.

When the workout started Shaun T said “You are pushing through this. You are pushing, pushing, pushing.” I thought this was apt for the day. I did push through but I went a lot slower and get less repetitions done than normal, and I started feeling worse during the workout. But I hadn’t puked, fainted, or died, so I took rests when needed and got back into it. While lately I have been pausing the DVD so I can do regular push ups, I did them all modified except the last set of the 8 hop squats/ 8 push ups where I decided to finish strong.

I think this may be the first time that I have ever done Insanity and felt worse afterward. Generally even if I have a headache or mildly don’t feel well I feel better after getting my workout in. Feeling worse subsided though and overall I was glad I got it done.

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“Come On, Ya’ll. Let’s Goooo!” (Day 8: Cardio Power and Resistance)

The seventh day was a Sunday which was a rest day, so I don’t have much to say about it except that it was great to have a little break from the Insanity. But, before I go into Day 8 I wanted to touch on something I wrote about in the offline journal I kept last time I did Insanity. On my first day of rest last time, my husband and I had started watching Lost. I copied down a quote that seemed relevant to my fitness journey, and does again:

English: Zygaena filipendulae (Six-spot Burnet...

Moths and a cocoon

In the episode “The Moth,” John Locke says, “This moth is just about to emerge. It is in there right now, struggling. It’s dragging its way through the thick hide of the cocoon. Now, I could help it, take my knife, gently widen the opening, and the moth would be free. But it would be too weak to survive. Its struggle is nature’s way of strengthening it.”

While my Insanity journey is self-imposed rather than something I would have come into naturally, it is something I need to do on my own. It is by continuing rather than taking the easy way out that I will develop and maintain strength and emerge from this process in a better position. It’s not an easy thing to do, but in struggling, I am transforming from someone not in shape to someone who is, from someone somewhat physically weak to someone stronger. My transformation and how I emerge from this process is all in my control.

The next day of that process was Day 8, another round of Cardio Power and Resistance. Near the beginning, Shaun T said “We’re going through a few exercises right now until you’re dripping.” Whether the “few” just referred to the warmup or was a liberal interpretation of the word to apply to the whole workout, he was right. My hair was already wet during the warmup and more so by the time I finished.

English: Tricep Dip Exercise performed using b...

I wonder if tricep dips are any more fun in a tree.

When Shaun T asked the girl how she feels during the one-legged tricep dips and she indicated “feeling shitty” I had to agree again. The ball tricep workout that followed seemed even harder than last time. I don’t know if I’m getting the position exactly right but it’s hard to tell considering even the girl who is used as the example of doing it correctly looked to be struggling.

Once again, the moving push ups were a challenge. The first time through I did a few moving push ups, then went to stationary ones. The next two times  I did all modified push ups. At the end of the last circuit, I did a child’s pose stretch to help my shoulders.

Another slight challenge was the globe jumps. Something about bending down and coming up was not working for me, and my breakfast threatened to make a reappearance. I found that taking a deep breath on the part with the arms up and letting it out as I moved them toward the floor seemed to help.

Before the second run-through of the circuit that starts with hurdle jumps, Shaun T shouted “Come on, ya’ll. Let’s gooo!” I find the high energy he displays to be motivating. Immediately after this the music picked up as well, so it wasn’t hard to get back into it. I don’t think I have mentioned the music before, but each DVD gives you the option to play the workout with the music on or off. I have always chosen to use it because it changes with the workout and always seems to go along with it (slower for stretching, faster for cardio, etc).

Also motivating was that, once again, he ended up saying something just as I would stop to rest. This time, it was during the last few seconds of the floor sprints where he says “Get those last three seconds in.” Well, if it’s only three seconds… Thankfully it was followed by WATER! I am not usually one to drink plain water by itself, but I always want to during and after Insanity.

The same thing happened on the 8 squats/8 push ups. I paused each time a set was about to start so I could get the 8 push ups in. I did 8 regular ones, and it was a struggle, so for the next 8 I went to modified push ups. I probably would have stayed on modified except that he said “Finish strong. Let’s go!,” so I finished strong and hit another 8 regular push ups.

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