There are times when all runners – even the most dedicated among us – get hit by a dose of the running blues. You know the score: when you’re physically run down, mentally tired, and you just don’t feel inspired to pull your running shoes on and head out the door. But all is not lost and you can most definitely turn it around! Here’s what to do when your running motivation is in need of a reboot:
Take an enforced run break
There’s nothing more demotivating that constantly feeling like you ‘should’ go for a run when you really don’t feel like it. As well as not exercising, the additional dose of guilt heaped on top is likely to leave you feeling doubly awful, and could even lead to stress or anxiety.
If you’re really not feeling it, put yourself on an enforced, guilt-free run break. Telling yourself you cannot run for a week or ten days will give you time to recharge both physically and mentally, without feeling bad about it, and by knowing you can’t run, you’ll likely be desperate to spring out the door when your break is over.
A running-related treat every now and then can be a great motivational boost. Some new kit that you’re desperate to be seen in, or a sports massage to ease away any aches and recharge your body, are great ideas to help you bounce back into run mode. The odd glass of red wine might not go amiss either (it’s packed with antioxidants, after all!).
Run for fun
Constantly clocking your miles, calories and pace is all well and good, but sometimes this can take the joy out of running a bit. Why not leave your GPS watch at home and run ‘to feel’, forgetting about time or pace and simply enjoying the experience? Try a new route and take in your surroundings – it could do wonders for your soul.
Follow a training plan
Conversely, if you only ever head out for a run with no real aim, it might become hard to see the point of it all. Finding a training plan for your fitness level is a great way to track your progress – and there’s nothing like ticking off another session towards your goal to keep you motivated!
Try something different
If you usually stick to the same old tried-and-tested roads, why not hit the trails for a change? Usually avoid hills? find an undulating route and enjoy the variety. If you’ve felt stuck in a rut plodding out some slow miles, try some intervals or fartlek sessions (playing with pace by running at different speeds throughout your run) to inject some speed into your run.
Alternatively, mix it up with some cross-training, such as cycling or swimming – a change is as good as a rest, after all!
Run with a friend
If you usually run alone, joining a club or even just finding a friend to run with is a great way to keep you on track. You’ll be less tempted to skip a session, as you won’t want to let your friend down, plus you will discover the amazing benefit of the ‘run chat’. Trust us – the miles will fly past!
Set a new goal
If you’ve lost your running mojo, it’s important to set yourself a challenge, to motivate you to keep running. Think carefully about your goal, to ensure it will inspire and excite you. If you love the idea of pushing yourself to run further, a long-distance event, such as a half or full marathon could be for you. Or if speed is your thing, challenging yourself to get faster over 5K might float your boat.
Whatever your goal, make sure it is challenging enough so you need to push yourself, while still being achievable, so you don’t start getting disheartened. Also, don’t book an event so far in the future that you lose interest; a race eight to 12 weeks away is perfect.
Don't forget to tell your fellow Bugs! Sharing your goals with friends means you're much more likely to see it through. Good luck!