Call a Friend
When you're running alone, it's easy to end up ruminating about those new clients at work or your kid's report card. This takes all the fun out of it. When you run with other people, the social banter gives you a mental timeout. Research out of the University of Rochester in New York demonstrated that a positive social circle helps foster motivation and a greater commitment to exercise, compared with going it alone.
Energy solution Keep the numbers of some fellow running pals on speed dial, and don't think twice to call one or two of them spur of the moment. Chances are they're having a similar day and would love the camaraderie. And if they can't meet you, at least they'll be able to give you a pep talk. "With any kind of fitness program," Mintz explains, "there's a greater likelihood of success if you're collaborating with someone."
Turn On the Tunes
A long line of research shows that music can be a big exercise motivator. A study published in the Journal of Sport Behavior found that on top of helping athletes work harder, music also reduced their perceived exertion. Lovett encourages runners to try and tap into the benefits of music in advance of their workouts to help get them in the right frame of mind.
Energy solution Listen to your iPod while you answer those last few e-mails at work, or on the drive home turn off the news and put in your favorite CD. You'll be more likely to lace up as soon as you get home. "Out of all the things an athlete can do to get energized before a run," Mintz says, "music really lights up the biggest part of the brain."
Manage the Moment
On those days when your mind starts ticking off the negatives Everything went wrong today. I'm really beat stop your internal debate and "manage the moment," says Mintz, who suggests countering such thoughts with positive ones: Yes, but I'll have more energy after I run.
Energy solution As tempting as it can be to give in to the negatives, he says, push your body to go through the motions of your running routine: Grab a quick shower or cup of coffee, put on your gear, do some jumping jacks to get your heart rate up, step outside. "The beginning of the run is always the hardest," admits Rice. "But once I get myself out on the pavement, I'm always better for it."
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