One of a runner's biggest challenges is maintaining momentum. Here's how to stay motivated to train.

How to Keep Yourself from Bailing Out on Running

Choose a Tempting Destination

I’m not always in the mood to exercise. Some days I have to convince myself. I might tempt myself by running to a place that I want to explore. If there’s a store I walked by a few days ago that looked cool, I’ll decide to make that my destination and run over so I can window shop. I might run up a hill to enjoy the sunrise, sunset, moon, or the city lights.

Make It Social

A lot of times, I like to go to a place where other people will be around. After a while, you start seeing the same people and say hello. I like to people watch, and it’s a positive message to see all kinds of people running, cycling, and exercising.

Have a Running Partner — or Two

What works best for me is to have a running partner and a regular, predictable schedule. That way, if you decide not to go you feel like you’re letting your running buddy down. It’s so much harder to let someone else down than to let yourself down. It actually works best to have a trio, because that way even if one person bails, that still leaves two of you to work out.

Reward Yourself at the End of the Run

Before you start running, choose a reward to give yourself when you get back. It could be your favorite energy bar or drink. I’ll reward myself after a longer run by buying myself a new shirt to run in.

Trick Yourself into Getting Out There

I’ll tell myself that I’m just going for 15 minutes. Of course once I’m out there, it’s much easier to keep going. The thing about running is that once you get into it, you start feeling better so you want to keep going. For me it’s a lot like skiing; it feels like a hassle when you think about getting suited up and the long lines you might encounter, but once you’re on the mountain you love it.

Brian Soo is a senior physical therapist at the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center who works inpatient, outpatient, and in sports medicine.  A recreational runner for many years, Brian also bicycles, plays racquetball, and most importantly, paddles on a 20-person Dragon Boat team that competes internationally and practices three times a week. He also enjoys active video games and believes they can be an excellent complement to an overall fitness regime.