Everyone has their own motivations for running.
Their own reasons for getting on the treadmill or out the door.
You might not need the motivation for every run that you go on, but it can definitely be useful when you’re struggling to get started or in the middle of a tough run.
One thing that I know for sure is every runner is motivated by something!
So I thought that it would be fun to ask some questions about motivation and experience on Instagram and see what kind of results were found.
I asked four questions: 1. How long have you been running? 2. What was your motivation to start running? 3. Has your motivation changed since you started? 4. How often do you run?
Asking questions about motivation and experience were meant to see if there was any relationship between the two. For instance, if someone said seeking a challenge was their motivation for beginning, do they have a certain level of experience?
Beyond that, I just wanted to be able to share the results with everyone on here to show that, even though you have your own personal motivation, there are many others in the running community that have similar motivations. Knowing that other people are perhaps motivated by the same thing (for instance – weight loss), can also be helpful if you are going through a rough patch of running.
Now, for some of the specifics. About 50 people responded to each of the questions. There are obviously no right or wrong answers, but I think it is good to see what many others in the running community answered.
How long have you been running? While these responses were fairly evenly split between four ranges (1 year or less, 2-5 years, 6-9 years, 10+ years), I thought it was great to see that 12 of the responses were from people that began running in the last year or so (since covid/lockdown).
One thing that I will say to anyone that has started running in the past year is that you’ve already made it through a really difficult part of the process. I know a few runners that have started running in the past year and have some really impressive times in virtual races. I have told them if they can do that well in a virtual race by themselves, then I can’t wait to see what they do in an in-person race!
What was your motivation to start running? The surprising thing from these responses was that only about 60% were motivated to start running for their physical health (weight loss, physical fitness). The majority of the remaining responders began running to seek out a challenge or to assist with mental health. For some reason, I was expecting it to be a higher percentage that started out running for physical health reasons.
My motivation to begin running about 20 years ago was just for general fitness and the desire to run in the areas around my college campus. These first months and years of running 2-3 times per week made me realize that running could be enjoyable and got the ball rolling for me. Just like with an individual daily run, sometimes the hardest part can just be getting started. No matter what your beginning motivation was, it got you started and we’re all here now!
Has your motivation changed since you started? Surprisingly (to me at least), 11 responders said that their motivation has remained the same since they began running. Perhaps my favorite responses of all were the 12 total people that said that their motivation has changed to their love of running or the running community itself. My love of running and the running community are two of the things that I’ve really begun to appreciate in the last few years. Once you enjoy something, it becomes much easier to continue doing it and begin reaping some of the other benefits of it.
Over the years, my motivations have changed a few times, from general fitness to seeking a challenge to weight loss. Currently, I would say my motivations are seeking a challenge, my love of running and the running community. Having multiple motivations at once can be really beneficial because you can draw on different ones at different times.
How often do you run? I included this question just to see if their might be any link or relationship in motivations and how often the responders ran. As it turns out, 70% of the responders run 4 or more days a week. After comparing these responders’ motivations to the runners who run 3 or less days a week, there really weren’t any links. I think that it just proves that your experience level or how often you run has minimal bearing on your motivations.
While there are many different motivations to start or continue to run, the most important thing is that we continue to be motivated!
Thanks to everyone that responded to the questions! It was good to have a nice sample size to look at when comparing the responses. If you missed the questions or didn’t have a chance to respond, I hope that you at least found the results interesting or useful!