10 Motivation Tips for New Runners

Can you believe that we’re already halfway through January!?  Time flies when you’re having fun an adult.  This time of year, we’re getting back into our routines, making healthier choices, and trying to keep those pesky resolutions.  If you have made plans to start running in 2017, this is the post for you.  Staying consistent with your running, especially as a newbie in the dead of winter, can be a massive challenge.  That’s why I wanted to compile a list of tips for motivation for new runners.

10 Motivation Tips For New Runners Featured Image

10 Motivation Tips For New Runners

Did you know that in the USA, only 8% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions succeed at keeping them?  Personally, I think New Year’s Resolutions are kind of silly.  Really, other than turning a new page in the calendar, there really is no major difference between December 31 and January 1 in my mind.  However, I do think that we naturally all want to make better, healthier choices come January 1, after eating way too much junk over the holidays.  Our families go home, we go back to work, and we resume our routine…and it feels so good.  It makes perfect sense that so many of us resolve to make healthier choices in January.

Here are 10 ways to make those healthier choices stick, and to stay motivated to run all the way through the year.

1. Register for a Race

Putting the money down for a race and writing a date on the calendar is one of the best ways to get motivated.  As soon as you’ve made a solid commitment to running, it’s a good idea to register for something like a 5k or a fun run within a few months.  Counting down to race day will keep you accountable, and get you moving on those tough days when you’d rather stay in bed.

Make your first run something fun – Like a Color Run or a Night Race!

2. Follow some blogs for Inspiration

When I was a new runner, I followed several running blogs to keep me inspired, and also because they were a wealth of knowledge for a newbie like me.  I’m stoked that you’ve found this post, but, as you may know, I blog mostly about travel and adventure with a little bit of running sprinkled in.  If you’d like to follow some awesome mostly-running blogs, here are a few of my favourites;

Carlee McDot

Cowgirl Runs

Run To The Finish

Kaella On The Run

Suz Lyfe

photo of Kaella, me, and Sue after Rock N Roll San Diego Half Marathon
Blogger love!  Kaella, me, and Sue after the Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon in June of 2016


3. Track Your Progress

Any app that tracks and logs your running and allows you to follow and add friends will be a fantastic tool for motivation.  A few of the best known apps are MapMyRun (my personal favourite), Strava and Nike+.  I can’t count the number of times that I have not felt like running, only to get a notification on my phone telling me that one of my friends just completed X number of Kilometres.  It pushes me to head out the door.  Plus, it’s super fun to see how far you’ve come.


4. Set Goals and ‘Run Rewards’

Set realistic goals, and allow yourself rewards when you reach them.  I treat myself to different things at the end of every 100 km that I log – such as a new workout top or a massage.  I have also experimented with the “money jar” – where I pop a dollar into the jar for ever Kilometre I run.  Once I’ve saved up $100, I splurge on something I normally wouldn’t.

photo of 6 pairs of the same running shoe
Let’s be real. I normally just buy myself more shoes.


5. Mix It Up

Running every single day isn’t only boring, but it can also cause injuries.  Be sure to shake up your routine with plenty of strength training and cardio cross-training, such as hiking, cycling, or swimming.  Variety is the spice of life, right?

photo of hiking in Banff
My personal favourite kind of cross-training is hiking.

6. Get Social

Use social media such as Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to stay in touch with the running community in your area!  Through photos, videos, advice and words of encouragement, the inspiration and support found in the online running community is incredible.  Start by searching hashtags such as #running, #runchat, or #run(your city) to get connected.

group shot at color me rad
I met every single one of these amazing women on Instagram. Every. Single. One.


7. Find a Buddy

Running with a friend, spouse, partner or running club will keep you accountable.  Just make sure that you find a buddy who is around the same level as you (or willing to scale down a bit) so you don’t get discouraged in the beginning.

photo of completing SeaWheeze
Claire and I completing our second SeaWheeze Half Marathon together


8. Stick to a Schedule

Whether you’re training for a marathon or are just trying to run for 30 consecutive minutes for the first time, setting and sticking to a schedule is crucial.  I typically write a rough schedule for the next 3-4 months (depending on my goals) and then write a detailed, structured, day-by-day schedule every two weeks.  Treat it like a job – if it’s on the calendar, you have to show up!

Photo of running with blue sky

9. Create Accountability

There are several ways to stay accountable, but my favourite ways are through financial commitment (ie. signing up for a race), running with a partner, and utilizing social media.  It’s incredible how much satisfaction you can get from posting about an awesome run in a runner’s Facebook group or on twitter.


10. Invest In Good Gear

At the absolute minimum, you should be investing in a  good pair of shoes.  Go to a proper running store and have them help you find the right shoes, spend some money, and hit the pavement.  (Check out this shoe-buying guide from my friend Ange at Cowgirl Runs before you head out!)  Running in your old worn-out bargain bin gym shoes from the ’90s will do you no favours as you embark on your new running journey.  Try to resist going overboard with clothes and gear in the beginning, but don’t be afraid to treat yourself to a few new items to match your new lifestyle.

photo of a pink sign that says "good vibes next 4km"

What are some of the running goals you’ve set for yourself in 2017?

What helps you stay motivated?

Let me know in the comments below, tweet me, or join the conversation on Facebook.

Ashley Dempster is a twenty-something Canadian Travel and Adventure blogger based in Calgary, Canada. Her passions include good food, minimalist packing, running, music, and chasing down every opportunity for adventure.


  1. This is awesome Ashley! I really should download one of those apps, but I just don’t like taking my phone with me when I run. I defo follow your running buddy tip, though, and usually force her to take her phone (which has an app!). I’m hoping to do another half marathon this year (I had last year off oops) but we will see!!

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