Hi Hayley,

last summer I started running with the Nike Running App thanks to your tips! It was amazing and I managed to run 5k (which is really a lot for me, as I could barely run a minute in the beginning).

But I fell off "the wagon" after summer. Mostly, because I felt no motivation. The app used to motivate me with small badges and medals, but obviously I hit some kind of plateau and didn't get any better. Additionally I don't live in a very safe neighborhood. So I felt unsafe going for a run alone (I run in the mornings, before work, usually between 6.00 and 7.00 a.m.) when it's still dark.

I was thinking about switching the app? So the new app would give me new motivational badges? I know, it sounds really stupid that I'm that dependent on these small motivations, but whenever I felt not very motivated or just exhausted, the Nike Running App tended to give me some kind of reward. When it stopped doing so, I felt not motivated to run anymore.

I hope you can help me, maybe with some tips, maybe with a new app? I used to love running last year, I just can't motivate myself to do it again, and it feels boring and not satisfying.


Ok, let’s take a second here to get you motivated again. But I’m going to give you some real talk. Are you ready? If not, stop reading now.

You used to be pushed by achieving milestones and receiving badges that were handed out to you by a running app, but then that stopped working when the badges stopped being achieved. What should have happened was you should have worked harder to achieve those badges, which is why the app is designed like that. This is very similar to the real world, where the more fit you become the harder you have to work to continue to improve. However, in your case you decided that you didn’t want to work any harder. Fair, but the lesson here is that you need to find a new way to stay motivated and you need something more than rewards from your phone to do that.

So let’s lose the app, it isn’t for you, and let’s find something else. Something bigger: a finish line. Why don’t you sign up for a running event? You have already reached the 5km mark, so why don’t you train for a 10km race? And get involved with a running group in the process. Working towards a tangible goal, and doing so alongside other people, are two of the best ways to keep yourself motivated and accountable. Some of my most memorable achievements happened when I challenged myself to do something I never thought possible and then joined a group where people were doing exactly the same thing. 

Another option is getting yourself a Fitbit, or another type of technology, that will track your movement. 10,000 steps a day actually works and this will give you daily satisfaction rather than having to wait for a badge, or a finish line. These devices will track your heart rate through the day, your sleep habits and calories burned, which means you can track a lot more and stay motivated in more ways than just getting out for your runs.

But my best advice is to find some intrinsic motivation. Do this for you. Run because every day you run you will run farther than you did the last. You will run faster than you did the day before. And the days where you don’t are the days that get you stronger. The days you have to slog up the hills are the days where you learn to love running more. Where you find the satisfaction in not giving up. Where you feel the high because you pushed yourself. YOU. Not some running app you have on your phone. 
In this social media obsessed world we forget sometimes what really matters, which is us. Do this for you and for the way it makes you feel. And trust me, when you have a real person place a real medal around your neck after pushing yourself over a distance you never thought possible, those badges on your phone will be all but forgotten.