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Find your ‘why’: How to run with purpose and get the most out of your training


Everyone has their ‘why’ that inspires them to do something time and time again. Purpose and action go hand in hand to create something meaningful.  

In order to become a better runner and get the most out of your training, it’s important to understand your ‘why’. 

Many people battle against themselves to establish healthy habits or achieve their goals.

Inner conflict can be largely avoided if you work with, rather than against your personality and preferences.  

A lot of new runners go with what they think they should be doing instead of going with what feels right for them. 

Getting to know yourself better can truly empower you to become a better runner and succeed.

Find your 'why': How to run with purpose and get the most out of your training

Find your ‘why’

Running shouldn’t feel like a chore. Be clear about what’s in it for you.

Once you find your why, this will be a huge motivating factor for you to run time and time again. 

Whether you want to get fit, lose weight, meet new people, get outdoors more, clearly articulating it will help to maximise your motivation. 

If you can’t immediately find a powerful ‘why’, dig deep and ask yourself why you want to run. 

  • I want to run to because…
  • Running is important to me because…
  • Running makes me feel…

It’s important here to be honest with yourself. 

Find your energy

Running can be a solitary activity or an extremely social one. 

Most people fall into one of three categories: introvert, extrovert or a bit of both. 

Whilst introverts draw resources from solitude, extroverts prefer being around people to boost their energy. 

Do you prefer to run alone? Do you prefer the company of a single running buddy or the buzz of a large running group? Perhaps you like a mixture of all three?

Tap into your energy and make it work for you and your training schedule. 

Work with, not against, your schedule

It’s not fun battling against a schedule that just doesn’t work for you or those around you.

Determine your running schedule to avoid the hours when you are most likely to be in an energy slump. 

Do you like a well-planned schedule or freedom to be spontaneous? 

Are you a morning runner? Do you like to run after work? Or do you prefer the peace and serenity of a long Sunday run?

Understand your preferences and you’ll be more likely to get out the door and go for a run. 

Listen to your body’s natural biorhythm 

As with any sport, it’s important to listen to your body and understand what it needs so you can supercharge your training. 

Listen to your body’s natural biorhythms – theydictate your needs for food, drink, rest and recovery. 

They also determine when you’re at your best to run. 

With our modern lifestyles, our biorhythm can be impacted by external factors such as work and family commitments.

It’s not always possible to go for a run when you feel like it. 

Ask yourself: When do you feel at your best? Would getting up early to run fit with your natural inclination? 

Or is it more realistic to exercise during your lunch break or at the end of the day? 

Schedule exercise to respect your biorhythm. 

Find your motivational style

Habits and happiness expert Gretchen Rubin describes four motivational styles (upholder, questioner, obliger and rebel) depending on whether you are most likely to keep inner or outer expectations, both or neither. 

  • Upholders readily stick to their own and others’ expectations.
  • Questioners need to make a task their own before committing to it. 
  • Obligers need external accountability.
  • Rebels need a sense of freedom. 

Which is your tendency

  • If you are a disciplined Upholder of your inner rules, it may help you to set a schedule or set up a system to track your progress. 
  • If you’re a Questioner you need to be very clear about your goals. 
  • Obligers will do best with a running buddy or group, or other accountability system. 
  • Whilst Rebels will need to have a feeling of free choice
6 ways to run with purpose and get the most out of your training

Be aware of your demons

Each of us has our own particular demotivators and distractors. What are yours? 

Are you too busy to run?

Perhaps you talk yourself out of running. The pressures of work and family life often come first.

There is certainly no avoiding these, but don’t let them derail your original intention of getting out the door and going for a run.

Do you procrastinate? 

Procrastination is the thief of time and drains mental energy. 

Find a reliable procrastination buster technique that works for you. 

For example, set a timer to 5 minutes to get into your running gear and out of the house. 

Or try the 5-second rule to overcome self-sabotage and get into action right now. 

Do you waste time?

Perhaps you have a bad social media habit or get caught up in long group chats. 

Do you spend much longer on getting ready to go out than actually needed? 

Do you binge on Netflix? Do you take to the sofa and find it hard to get off it? 

Time wasting can also take the form of busyness.

We all have endless laundry lists of life admin. 

If you want to find time to run, you have to press pause on the busy work and make time for it. 

If this is a problem for you, fix a regular running schedule or run with someone else and become accountable. 

Do you find running too hard? 

If running hurts your joints or muscles, or makes your lungs burn, it could be a sign that you need to take a step back and take smaller steps towards your goal.

After all, it’s not fun to constantly feel out of breath. 

Set very small and achievable goals. 

The Couch to 5k programme is designed for complete beginners and involves periods of walking and running which you slowly build up throughout the programme.

This is a great option for you if you are at the beginning of your running journey.

Whilst it’s good to push yourself out of your comfort zone as a runner, there is a fine balance between all out exhaustion and being challenged. 

Learn to distinguish between genuine fatigue (which should be heeded) and sluggishness (remembering that exercise will give you back your energy). 

Caroline Geoghegan


Amy Haas

Monday 23rd of March 2020

I love, love, love this post! I'm a HUGE fan of the 4 Tendencies framework, and I totally support the idea that each of us is motivated to do & act based upon our own source of motivation - a unique combination of both internal and external!

I love that you also touched on one's personal "demons" - the things that hinder them specifically. When I work with my clients (I'm a health & wellness coach) - we talk a lot about the power of identifying our personal obstacles & planning for them. Love that you touched on that.

There was so much good material in this post! Thank you so much for sharing! ?