Get Yourself Some Running MoJo

Along my journey of trying to become a runner, I have learned many things. Some have been learned from fellow runners or Runner's World magazine, others from my feet hitting the streets. There certainly are physical things that help you run better and with a degree of comfort. These are your running essentials, like your clothes and a good pair of shoes. Some Body Glide and hydration system (whether it's water/sport drink stashed along your route or a Fuel Belt) are essentials as well. Everything else is an accessory.

One of the most important lessons I have learned is that running is 90% mental. Seriously. Your brain controls what your body is doing, sometimes it is in sync with your body and running is glorious, other times your brain does everything it can to get your body to stop.

That's why you have to create your own running mojo. For each runner it's different. You may need to rely on several mental tricks, even during the same run, to keep your mojo working. I like to think of them as friendly diversions to help you forget what your legs and feet are up to.

Here are possible mojo makers:

~Music that keeps you distracted and energized. If your play list is a bit old, freshen it up with a couple of new tunes and see the difference that makes.

~Choose some landmarks to run towards, even a street sign or certain tree along your route. Keep telling yourself, I must make it to that telephone pole or sign or building. When you get there, choose ANOTHER landmark to run towards, and so on until you finish your run.

~Find a running buddy (or group) to keep you company along your route.

~Pray. Seriously. What a great time to talk with our Heavenly Father when you are out among His creation, right?

~Play I Spy.

~Choose a mantra, like a short phrase or even a word to repeat to yourself. Anything from, "I think I can" to, "One more mile" or even, "Brownie when I'm done". Whatever works for you.

~Run without your watch or GPS. Just enjoy the freedom.

~Change up your route.

~Set a goal, whether it's a 5K or marathon, for which to train. This really keeps you focused.

These are just some tricks that have worked for me when my brain and feet are rebelling. Sometimes it takes all of them to get it done, but that's A-OK. The feeling of accomplishment is so worth it. The brownie isn't bad either. Smirk.

What about you? How do you find your running mojo?


  1. you just said everything I do. You're right, it is all mental. I have ran the Maui Marathon, and though no where near as far, I try to run at least 3 miles a day. About 4 days a week, I am successful.

    MUSIC is essential.
    LANDMARKS are the key, short goals, better than long runs... just to the pole, then I'll walk for a sec, okay just to that tree, I totally hear you on that one.
    ...and a BUDDY is COMPLETELY NECESSARY because you will keep each other going, and they make it harder to quit.

    Thank you, awesome post.

  2. Great post! For me, I love running along scenic routes. It definitely makes the miles go by faster.

  3. Running is the best prayer-time! I agree.

  4. You know I also love to run....I think you hit the nail on the head with all those points.

    Music is great. I need it if I'm alone but if I'm with others I love to chat. It passes the time so quickly.

    As silly as it sounds I say..."I am steadfast, Oh God, I am steadfast"...when I think I just can't make it another feet. It helped when I ran my last half. :)

    And I love the running gear...I love the skirts, but today I bought a new pair of Nike shorts...on sale at Academy...to get me motivated.

  5. I'm more a plodder than an official runner. But my iPod changed my life and I enjoy running outside much more than on the track or a treadmill. Good tips. Next time, let us know how you deal with the after-run soreness. My knees hurt...must be getting old.

  6. That is SO BEYOND true. It is so mental. When I was training for my marathon, there were weeks that nine miles killed me, and weeks that I could easily do 18. I know it was all in my head. Physically, I could do it. But mentally? Some days were just harder than others.

  7. Thank you for the great post and for the words of encouragement you left me today.

    As you say...I'm taking it nice and easy...but hopefully I'll soon have my own running mojo!

    Running skirts...I bet they're very comfortable to run in. I may have to look into them if I make it past my one month goal!

  8. Holly,
    Thank you for this....I have been feeling less like a "runner" even though I still run. Less motivated, less consistent, less "paced"...you know what I mean. Your tips are great and you are an inspiration to me. THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

  9. I use the "landmarks" as well as the change of route regularly. I know that once I began training for the tri my workouts had a whole new meaning. I had a goal, a reason for doing this. It made it easier...

  10. I used landmarks like crazy when I was doing that awful long fun in the cold rain! I actually counted 60 steps at a time (who knows why 60?) and then I'd count another 60 and so on. I also like making grocery lists and doing other mentally constructive things.

    Overall, great running tips. Now, if I could just get out there and run! ;)

  11. awesome advice using a word i love- mojo. :) ah, how i wish i could convince my lung that i can utilize mine!

  12. although I no longer run (guess I wasn't hooked on it or I would still be doing so), I used to listen to my music and say "I have to run through 3 more songs". Then I would repeat.
    Glad I am not the only one who uses these tools to make it.
    Congrats on your WW milestones. I have that new book "Eat this, Not That" (which I LOVE for a reference) and another one (but it has foul language) called "How to eat like a Hot Chick". Might want to check them out. I discovered slicing a banana, sticking it in a baggie and then in the freezer is a yummy snack....along with the frozen grapes!

  13. I am such a fan of running skirts too. Sometimes getting a new shirt or shorts (or SKIRT) can pick you up a bit. I guess it's retail therapy meeting running therapy!

    Note on the skirts--I HAVE to get ones with the shorts under (I guess most have them, but some only have spankies) to tame the thighs a bit. ;)

    Another running motivator for me, now that I am following WW, is earning activity points. Much happier when I can plug those in!

  14. Great points. I believe in it being a mental game. I need to get past the block in my head that says I can only do 5 miles. I love setting goals too. I have my third mini triathlon coming up next month. I just try to do better each time.

    And the music and running buddy are a must. I need to have one or the other or I won't go.

  15. My sweet nephew has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair so whenever I feel like I can't run anymore I think of him. He would want me to keep running.

  16. I'm hooked on your blog!! Congrats on the 10 pounds!

  17. These tips are all great! They make me feel inspired. It is beautiful outside right now so I should stop being so LAZY and get out there and do something.

  18. Great Post!
    A fun playlist is a must for me.

    Also, it makes all the difference if I have good shoes. I can always tell when my shoes are wearing out because my hips and knees start to ache.

  19. Laura: YES!!! The right shoes make all the difference. You are so right about paying attention to aches and pains and checking the mileage on your shoes. Sometimes I try to rotate my shoes to get a bit longer wear out of them. I have been stretching my last pair, and I really need to just stop it and go get a new pair!

  20. You're so right about how running is 90% mental! I like to distract myself with going over study notes for exams in my head, thinking about my plans for the day or ideas for altering recipes. Running outside among trees is also great motivation.

  21. I pray when I run also. I guess I'm not the only one who does that.

    Runnign outside is a lot easier for me than running on a treadmill or on a track. I just try to take in all the sights and sounds. I like listening to certain music when I run, but some music is too distracting.

  22. I wouldn't consider myself a runner, more of a 'I used to run, now I want to, but haven't found my groove yet' runner! Now that the snow has melted I've done a lot of walking and psyching myself up to run again. Thanks for the advice!

  23. I was doing really great at the beginning of the year but have slacked off the last month or two. I decided last week I was going to run while the kids were at soccer practice I can run around the big field. I always feel better after I run! I'm working toward a 5k at the end of may.

    Thanks for your great comments!

  24. Lisa and Sagan: I agree, I like outdoor running the best. The treadmill though is convenient when the weather doesn't cooperate.

    Michelle: I bet now that Spring is starting to peek her head out a bit you will find your running groove again.

    Autumn: That's a good way to multi-task (in a way) while your kids are at soccer. Good for you! Good luck with your training--you may just get HOOKED!

  25. i will definitely be using some of these mojo makers tomorrow morning!!

  26. I have peeked at your site from time to time because I have been trying to get back into running. I discovered it through comments you have made on my wife's blog (solis, bedlam style). This weekend I am going to Nevada for a relay race I will be running in. It is my first running race in like 15 years. It is a 120 mile relay split between 20 runners. This year our team is trying to beat 14 hours and 50 min. I am worried that I am the weak link on the team with a 7:45 mile pace. :( I am thankful for your mojo tips. Saturday night at midnight I'll run my leg of the race and I'll need all of the mojo I can get.


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