5 Ways to Keep Running Motivation High This Summer

If Dante had been a runner, August would have been his sixth circle. Nationwide, the temperatures and humidity are soaring, and motivation is correspondingly low. But the fall racing season is a knockin' and if you let the heat sideline you, you might regret it when you cross the starting line come autumn (try the tips in our Summer Running Survival Guide to avoid overtraining).

Head for the trails, where the shade will often be more plentiful than it is on a road. Plus, technical trails require concentration, which means you'll be mentally engaged with your footing—not with the heat or your remaining mileage. Check out our Guide to Trail Running for some helpful tips and ideas.

More: How to Reap the Rewards of Trail Running

Schedule the workouts you like to do: If you really like hill repeats or despise tempo runs, run accordingly. "It may not be perfect physiologically," says Carl Leivers, an Atlanta-based running coach, "but if it's a workout you're excited for, you're more likely to actually do it."

Revisit or set new short- and long-term goals. "Give yourself four-week, three-month, and six-month goals," says Beth Baker, founder and chief running officer of Running Evolution in Seattle. "Once your goals are out of your head and on paper, they are closer to happening." (You should be setting goals all-year long to stay on track. Figure out what works for you, in How to Set Realistic Goals.)

More: Do Your Running Goals Match Your Reason for Running?

Sign up for a short-for-you race. It could be a 5K, could be a trail half marathon. "The immediate satisfaction you feel from crossing a finish line can kick-start the rest of your training," says Jess Underhill, a running coach in New York City.

Finally, if you're on the should-I-go fence, mentally fast forward to later that day. "I always know I'll feel worse if I haven't run," says Jessica Hofheimer, a running coach and Pilates instructor in Reston, Virginia. "I'll be disappointed in myself, so it's worth it just to try. Plus, there's nothing like the feeling of being done with a run."

More: Elite Runners' Strategies to Maintain Motivation for Running

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