It happens to all of us sooner or later. Especially during the summer. The excitement of starting a new training program has begun to wear off and all of a sudden, you feel tired and bored with running. Every time you even think about going for a run, you have plenty of reasons not to go.
The alarm goes off and instead of hopping out of bed, you roll over. Or, you come home from a long day at work or school and instead of a regenerating run, you grab a beer and head for the TV for Seinfeld reruns.
Sound familiar? It should.
The motivation to run is something that comes…and goes. It could be the stress of running through another hot, humid summer or you’re just plain tuckered out. Or, you feel stressed out by the job or the screaming kids at home. Maybe you’re in a time crunch and have felt rushed when you did run. Or, your last few runs have just been plain lousy.
Whatever it is that’s getting you down, staying motivated to run 12 months a year is tough. Maybe even impossible.
Running is never easy and when it becomes especially difficult from external sources (or the weather), we all tend to lose our mojo for various lengths of time.
The key is recapturing it to keep going forward and improve. And the key to recapturing that motivation, is to make changes in your running. It doesn’t matter what you change as much as making a positive change.
Switch your goals, plan for new ones. Instead of training for a fall marathon, set your sights on getting faster in a 5-K. Add more speed days. Reduce your long runs. Or substitute a strength training workout for a hill day. Run at a different time of day. Make plans to go to a new race in a city you’ve never been to before. Maybe you need to add an extra rest day to your week. Start taking a yoga or Pilates class. Maybe add a spinning class. Or find new running routes around town or join a different training group and meet new training partners.
There are all sorts of solutions to breaking up the ho-hum repetition of running. You may not need to make major, earth-shattering changes, but some change is good to shake up the routine.
Here are some tips that will help you stir the mix and get you fired up again about running this summer:
O Develop new training routes. Too many of us stick with the same roads, the Butler/Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail, the Scenic loop or going up and down Exposition. Seek out a new route or trail in a different part of town—even if it means driving. A simple change of scenery can make all the difference.
O Make new running friends. Join a different training group to do long runs, hills or speed work. Or do different workouts with your regular training partners. If you only do long runs together, try doing shorter, easier runs with your group. Or introduce a friend to your running group.
O Run earlier or later. If you’re a morning runner, switch to the evening. Or vice versa. If you can’t make such a radical switch, run a half hour earlier or later. Or try a noon run in the blazing heat, rather than eating lunch.
O Play great movies in your head. What’s your favorite? The Bridge Over the River Kwai or Caddy Shack? It doesn’t matter. Replay the classic scenes in your head while running. Or replay your life. Pick a year and rehash everything that went on, but stick with that year.
O Buy new shoes or new running clothes. A simple investment in new running gear might be just what you need to get excited about running again.
O Sign up for a new fitness class. Learn how to do yoga, Pilates or kick boxing. You can shop online for protective head gear and grappling gloves. If Tai Chi looks interesting, give a try. How about scuba diving?Ever tried deep-water running? Go for it. Can’t swim? It’s about time you learned.
O Leave your watch, phone and GPS at home. Don’t time your run. Just run in any direction your feet take you and for any length of time which feels reasonable. Be spontaneous. Don’t limit yourself by time or length of run.
O Take five. If you’re still having a difficult time finding the motivation to get out the door and go for a run, tell yourself you’ll only run for five minutes. Usually after just a few minutes of running, you’ll forget all about it and keep going.
Sometimes that’s all it takes to get a new ‘tude about running. Change your routine, make new goals, take a class and you’ll be back to your old self in no time.
If not, it might be time to take a break from running. It’s fine to take a week or two off. That’s usually all it takes to find your inner mojo again.