HOKA asked five of our staff members about their motivation to hit the trails. Some run competitively; others do it to clear their head and breathe hard. Either way, they’re out there moving.
HOKA created its FLY HUMAN FLY campaign to celebrate runners, hikers, and walkers of all walks of life.
As such, we’re casting the spotlight on our own team to tell our readers — and each other — what gets us to lace up our shoes and get out the front door to exercise.
The Starting Line
HOKA asked editors and runners from iRunFar and GearJunkie about the different ways they motivate themselves to run.
Below, we’ve included several answers from different runners to show a diversity of motivation and self-talk. The idea isn’t that there’s one correct answer, but that we all find reward in showing up to run.
Running can be both a respite and an achievement. Some days we lace up for slower, clear-your-head training runs, and other days we toe the line to perform our best.
What’s your starting line?
Meghan Hicks (iRunFar): My starting line is making sure I get out there for focused exercise and running every day, amidst the typical American overbusy life, in order to ensure my overall health and well-being. No matter how busy life is, there is always a starting line for exercise and for self-care.
Katie Jedlicka Sieve (GearJunkie): Me! Truly — I run for me, myself, and I. It keeps me balanced both physically and mentally. Running is a gift, and I’m so grateful for it.
Julie Robichaud (GearJunkie): My starting line is simply getting out the front door. I grew up in a family of service workers and was raised to be a consistent reliable presence to those around me — hard work, problem-solving, and genuine hospitality are in my bones.
Subsequently, I’ve formed a pretty un-kickable habit of pushing self-care down to the bottom of my priority list. Don’t get me wrong — I genuinely find great joy in all of it, but on days where I find an imbalance of giving more energy outward than inward, the first thing I do to get grounded is hit the trail.
Just allowing myself to soak in all that surrounds me in nature clears my mind, filters out negative energy, and gives me the motivation to knock another day out of the park for myself and others.
Is there a mantra that you tell yourself to get yourself there?
Hicks: Consistency wins. Not every day needs to be perfect. You don’t have to run far or fast or even feel amazing when you’re doing it, but getting out there consistently is the biggest win.
Katie Eichelberger (GearJunkie): It might seem simple, but it’s just, “You got this.” My dad passed a little over a year ago, and whether it was a college soccer game or 3-day running relay, he was always there cheering me on saying, “You got this, Sweet Pea!” And now it’s something that I have to repeat to myself.
Some days it’s “you can do this” because running feels too hard. But it’s always worth it, and that mantra is my reminder.
Inspiring Others to Discover Themselves
In what ways are you inspiring others to get to the starting line?
Hicks: I don’t know that I inspire anyone in particular, but I guess if I can get out there and run every day when the hours of the day are packed absolutely full, then a lot of others can make a little room for it too.
Jedlicka Sieve: When I first started running, encouragement from friends is what kept me going. It is always more fun to run with friends or in a running community. Not only does the conversation distract you, but it also keeps you accountable. So run with a supportive friend or running group!
Robichaud: I’ve never been the runner focused on distance or speed — I can’t remember the last time I clocked any measurable data during a run. I’m out there purely for mental health and overall well-being, and ultimately to show up for others as the best version of me. Hopefully, that encourages others to find their own starting line.
Sean McCoy (GearJunkie): I’ve completed several ultramarathons up to 100 miles, including the very challenging Leadville 100. And the majority of my training starts at my front door.
Sure, I do longer runs on the weekend, but by running consistently, a few miles every day, I have maintained enough fitness to run a marathon any day of the week if needed.
Why do you think it’s important for others to find their starting line and show up for themselves to get there?
Hicks: We all have a reason for being, though it’s a little different in each of us. When you are out running, you are free from the constraints of life and only with your passion. Being out there, even for just 15 or 20 minutes, brings your passion to the forefront and reminds you of your reason for being. And then, that clarity on passion and purpose gives direction for the rest of your day.
Jedlicka Sieve: Running is so empowering. I’ve run distances and trails I never thought I would be able to do. Continuing to show up has given me confidence in my physical abilities and has enriched other areas of my life. And also, if you don’t use it you lose it! So just keep on running.
Robichaud: We live in a time where constant comparison is not only prevalent but pretty unavoidable. Allowing yourself the space and time to focus on your own idea of achievement is a true gift of self-discovery.
It’s important to find your own starting line (whatever that means to you), set your own personal goals, and work towards them at your own pace — and make sure to celebrate the checkpoints along the way!
Showing up and holding yourself accountable will make the finish line that much sweeter, and you might even uncover new potential.
How would you encourage someone to show up every day?
McCoy: I suffer from a chronic illness that, when not managed, makes running impossible. I remind myself every day, on every run, that I cannot take it for granted. Every run could be my last. So enjoy and cherish every second.
Hicks: Make it a habit to show up. They say habits form in about 6 weeks, so commit to showing up for at least 20 minutes a day for 6 weeks. Commit to carving time for yourself, to feeling a little uncomfortable, to the challenge you seek. After that, showing up will automatically be in your nature, and missing a day is what will instead feel uncomfortable.
Jedlicka Sieve: Set a goal! For me, I love signing up for races. I find that having a race that I’m training for keeps me accountable.
FLY HUMAN FLY
As you can see, there are many reasons we run or walk that have nothing to do with personal records. Not every effort needs to feel like flying to be worthwhile. But those days when it all comes together are the ultimate reward.
For most of us, running celebrates movement and allows an escape from our busy lives.
As a habit or a passion, running, walking, and hiking can all put us in touch with how interrelated our physical and mental health are. And once you’ve discovered it for yourself, you may hope to inspire others to follow.
When you can, while you can, try to fly.