Wheelhouse Journey

RV Running Motivation

by Jun 30, 2018Health & Lifestyle

Running the Sutherlin (OR) Blackberry 5k

RV Running

This past year, I’ve taken my running on the road,  RV running wherever we park our RV across the country. It’s given me new appreciation and insights into my running motivation and is a cool step on what I hope is a lifelong running journey.
Running has been a big part of my life for over twenty years. So many aspects of running continue to energize me and make me stronger: the freedom I feel, the flow of new ideas it brings, the connections I make, in addition to all the health benefits. So, when we decided to pursue our dream of full-time traveling in our RV, I was thrilled about what this would mean for my running. I pictured myself bursting out of our RV every day, easily hitting a 7:30 pace, and running with a perfect stride in the most scenic places in the country. I thought I’d never have an issue with running motivation.

How’s it Going One Year Later?

Overall, it’s been a pretty awesome year! There are so many unbelievable places I’ve been able to explore on my runs. Our RV doorstep has been everywhere from National Parks to the Columbia River Gorge’s waterfalls to national forests to wineries to the Pacific Ocean. Our first campground on our trip was a mile from the entrance to Glacier National Park. My runs that week took twice as long as I tried to take in all the amazing wildflowers and lakes. My most surreal experience was running the dunes of White Sands National Monument.  Its white crystal sands created the perfect springy surface and it felt like we had the place all to ourselves. Talk about great running motivation.
Floating in White Sands National Monument
But not every run is like this. The majority of my runs this year have actually been on the shoulder of a busy road because it’s the only route around (not recommended!) or the same neighborhood loop because it’s safe. And a couple times, my run has been to the laundromat after back-to-back driving days. It’s all about balance, right?
Sometimes, the hardest part of RV running is that it’s lonely which of course hurts my running motivation. While the introverted part of me enjoys a little alone time, I also miss the push and security of running with a small group. And, I especially miss this when I’m running by houses with low fences and big barking dogs! Plus, it’s not as easy as I thought to meet runners on the road as we move from park to park and stay outside of major cities.

Evolving Running Motivation

What I’ve learned is that no matter how long you’ve run or how much you love to run, your running motivation will fluctuate. Understanding what drives you and adapting is critical to being a lifelong runner. (I think you can apply this to many activities.) If someone had told me I’d have a hard time always being motivated to run this year, I would have laughed at them. I mean look at all the interesting places we visited. But it happened to me in spite of being on an amazing RV road trip so it can happen to anyone!

My Running Motivation Tips

Find Your Frequency

First, figure out the right run frequency that keeps you charged up and healthy. And don’t feel bad if it’s different than other runners. For me, a heart-pounding run every other day keeps injuries away, allows me to make great progress, and makes running feel like something special. For years, I felt like I needed to run almost every day to be a “real” runner, so realizing a different volume was better for me was a big deal.

Build to Something Bigger

Second, have a bigger goal you’re building to. It can be a race, a cause, or simply regularly dedicating time to yourself. This will help make each run feel like it’s a little more important and has kept me going on the days I ask myself if skipping one run matters.  It’s also better than just having a goal of offsetting the ice cream or wine you’ll have later. (Although, I’ve done that a number of times too!)

Connect with the Community

Finally, think about different ways to connect with the running community. My virtual Instagram running group  is a great source of running motivation. It’s reassuring to see runners across the world sweating through the same stresses I feel. And I try to return the favor. Every time I go for an RV run, I find one interesting part of it to share on Instagram. The thought I might get someone to get running or laugh a little gets me going when the hammock is calling.
Magical Reno sunsets
This picture is from a run I did outside of Reno, NV. We were parked in a pretty barren area by an old casino and gas station, but this was the sunset I ran into every night. One of my favorite examples of finding the beauty in every run!
In addition to virtual connections, I’ve also found new ways to connect with the physical running community. When we camped outside of Tucson, I planned a couple trips to the city around meeting up with Fleet Feet Sports runners. The shared run and “shop talk” energized me for days. I met a fellow RV runner in Phoenix and we’ve connected in two other cities. While we’ve actually never run together, we’ve shared so many stories that it feels like she’s cheering me on. Finally, I try to view races as a way to meet runners in other states (in addition to fueling my competitiveness!) 

Looking Ahead

RV runner in San Diego
As we’re starting to plan the next part of our RV journey this fall, I’m figuring out my running goals. I’m excited for what’s next! One thing I know I’ll prioritize is getting to know the community even more.  I want to meet runners in at least 10 states and add several states to my racing list.  This will be a great start to connect more and terrific running motivation.

Let me know your tips on running motivation, running across the country, or if you want to meet up for a run!-   @crosscountryinheels



Nancy is an avid runner, hiker, and proponent of healthy living who enjoys awesome food and wine. She loves exploring with her amazing husband and raising their puppy.


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