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After really enjoying running for a couple of years and running a few times a week and entering some races, I have lost the motivation to go out after work in the dark and cold and put in the hours. Do you have any advice beyond the obvious "sign up for a race" that I could try to get my groove back?

Thanks in advance.

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    Have you tried Strava? I find it helps keep my motivation up by having me test a variety of routes created by the community of runners. As an option, you can have your time on the record letting you compete completely casually against others, but more importantly your own times. I find it very rewarding to beat my own times, and climb the leaderboards without really being in a competetive mindset. strava.com
    – Alec
    Jan 18, 2016 at 8:40
  • I am an active user of strava. I find it really valuable for motivation, but mostly for cycling as that's what all my friends use it for. Maybe I should find some people who use it for running.
    – dafyddPrys
    Jan 19, 2016 at 9:19

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  • Run for fun: Do not push yourself to reach a certain distance, speed, time or any other criteria for success. Just do what you like to do today, make a random choice each time you reach an intersection, jump over smaller fences, run backwards and so on.
  • Change style: Try trail-running or something different from usual.
  • Buy some fancy sportswear, which makes you look cool and feel comfortable.
  • Think about other people who stayed at home. Tell yourself that you are outstanding, what you actually are, when you get out in the cold night.
  • Mix your runs with functional exercises like air squats, lunges, push-ups etc.
  • Get friends and have fixed times each week for running together.
  • Get a personal trainer, which for sure will push you beyond any reasonable limit.
  • Accept winter is not optimal for running and have fun trying some other sports. You will most likely feel better at springtime.
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New places, music or podcasts. I need to occupy my mind, and that means listening to something or looking at something new.

Sometimes I'll drive to a city or state park for my workout, or run in a new part of the city I'm not familiar with. Even areas you think you know are very different on foot than seem from the driver's seat. You'll realize how much you miss driving. I try to avoid suburbs...most are very boring and repetitive.

Music, comedians, and good podcasts are great for when you're running in a familiar area. If you have something to think about the time passes quicker, and music can keep you pushing yourself.

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  • I like the podcast idea. I find music difficult to run to as it messes with my rhythm a bit and I have some interesting podcasts that I want to listen to.
    – dafyddPrys
    Jan 19, 2016 at 9:16
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Along with Gyrfalcon's suggestions, I'd also recommend an app like "Zombies, Run!" which gives you a narrative while running. I've got a mixed opinion on the "zombie chase" bits, which I feel do not properly handle courses with hills or other obstacles that prevent you from raising your speed for a prolonged sprint, but the actual storyline is kind of fun to follow.

You could also listen to an audiobook, but my experience is that I find it hard to convince myself to listen to said book while running instead of listening in the comfort of my own home.

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  • I've read a bit about these running narratives - a really interesting idea!
    – dafyddPrys
    Jan 19, 2016 at 9:17
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Running with other people can be fun alot of fun, like sharing here on StackExchange.

Otherwise destination running can be fun too. For me I used the Pikes Peak Marathon as a source of inspiration. Now I have Grindstone 100, Keys 100, Hardrock 100 and Nolans 14 as similar destination type sources of motivation. I use Strava and Endomondo and seeing others accomplish things motivation me to get out there too.

Also I had a goal to beat my times from the past, done, and have taken up my goal from the past to see how fast I can run. So self competition is a big factor for me to go run.

So enjoy your runs :)

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To extend the comment about Strava - look into http://wandrer.earth/

It will take your strava activities and map them together, showing what roads/paths you've run and those you haven't.

The free level gives you the last 50 activities, or join and it will load all your strava activities, over 8,000 for me (took a couple of days to fully import)

As a cyclist with a 1 hour commute each way, I have many routes to choose from. It is amazing how many roads I go past and have never ever been down in a decade of Strava usage.

Example1: Here's a map showing the roads I've never been down in Red. I might plan a route that ticks off those few roads, and raises my % complete above 70.74% as pictured.
People being people like to work toward "completion", and having 90, 99, or 100% completeness for a suburb is an attainable goal. enter image description here

Example2: this map shows the gap where bike breakdowns made me walk to the nearest end, be it work or home:

enter image description here

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