Regaining the motivation to exercise and train

Feb. 14, 2012 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated Feb. 13, 2012 at 8:14 p.m.

Sometimes, finding motivation to train and work out is difficult.

If you have just come off a big race or a busy training season, you may lack the focus and motivation that you have held for so long.

Sometimes an injury leaves you feeling a little beat up and you find your workouts are not so enjoyable anymore.

Then there is the holiday season, when priorities may shift and you find yourself wanting to shop or attend parties instead of fitting in your usual workout schedule.

Whatever the reason, you may find yourself lacking motivation to exercise and are now stuck in a workout rut.

Here are a few ways to get back in the groove.

Gradually work back into exercising

The worst thing you can do after a layoff is hit it too hard the first week back.

You may wind up feeling beat up physically and mentally if you jump back into training too quickly.

Don't try to go right back to where you were in terms of duration and intensity. If you had been running four to five miles consistently, start off with a 20 minute run the first few days back and add 5-10 minutes to your workouts toward the end of the week.

If you had been running or working out four to five days per week, go easy with two to three workouts the first week back.

In terms of intensity, give yourself a mental and physical break by forgoing speed work and intervals for a while. If you train all year around, including weekly speed sessions, you may be setting yourself up for an injury.

It can be physically and mentally taxing to stay at a high training level month in and month out.

Lack of mental focus may mean you are over trained and are overdue for a change up in your workouts.

Adding in some new types of exercise or loosening up your training plan for a while are both ways to continue to work out, but with a touch of renewed excitement.

Don't race too often

There is a mindset out there that more racing leads to better overall performance.

Too many races on your schedule, however, can actually hamper training by too many weeks of tapering and recovery surrounding your racing weeks.

Emotional burnout can also occur from racing too much, making you lack excitement and motivation to want to race.

Get back to the basics and run and bike for the simple joy of it. Appreciate the beauty of the day or take time for a social workout with a friend or a group where the workout is more relaxed instead of going full on all the time.

Integrate exercise and social time

Too busy to exercise and socialize separately?

Combine the two.

Ask a friend to join you for a run or bike ride instead of for lunch or coffee. Ride your bike to do your errands or to a social gathering.

Go easy on yourself, but stay committed

It's difficult to maintain a high level of motivation at all times during the year.

All of us hit an exercise rut from time to time and need to back off a bit.

Taking a different view on your training program and allowing for some decreased focus and intensity from time to time is a good habit to get into.

Taking too much time off from your workout program for weeks at a time during the year, however, can leave you feeling a bit sluggish and depressed.

Regain your motivation by starting back slowly and by setting your sights on a new adventure or exercise regimen.

You will be happier in the long run, and your waistline will thank you!

Missy Janzow owns Fit4U, a personalized training and nutrition service. You can reach her by email at or online at



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