It’s all too easy to come up with the excuses. But if you want to rediscover what made you love running in the first place, try out these ideas to get your running motivation back on track…
1. Don’t overthink it
If you spend too much time dwelling on how hard running is for you at the moment, and scratching your head about the reasons, you could be turning it all into a bigger issue than it deserves to be.
It might be time to stop worrying, stop overthinking it, and just start doing it again. Or at the very least, turn that mental energy into finding a positive route back into your running.
2. The first step is always the hardest
The hardest part is often setting off. Leaving the house can be tough. Excuses are limitless: “I’m too tired today”, “a rest would do me good”, “I feel a cold coming on”, “I really ought to ______[insert duty] instead”, etc, etc.
Luckily, there’s a simple remedy. Decide to go!
Don’t fall into thinking that there’s a debate to be had with yourself about whether you’re going out or not. Stop the excuses, just lace up your shoes. The great thing is that once you’ve set off, you realise that the worst part was the anticipation.
Just that first step over the doorstep and the battle against the low mojo is already half won.
3. Be sociable
Run with a friend. If you’ve arranged to run with someone else, it’s not as easy to drop those runs just because you don’t feel like it.
It’s much more fun too, and a good chance to catch up. Chatting on a run will distract you from thinking about not enjoying it.
Think about joining a club too. It’s a brilliant way to make like-minded friends and to improve your running. Or if you’re already a club member make an effort to join in with club training and events. Fellow runners will understand the problems of occasional low running motivation.
If your current club isn’t helping your mojo, look around for a different club. There are all sorts of different clubs with different approaches – some are serious, some are fun, some train on tracks, some go off-road, some are obsessed with split times, some don’t wear watches. Even within the same club, different training groups often have a very different approach to running. Have a look around and you might be surprised what’s on your doorstep.
4. Mix it up, get some variety
They say a change is as good as a rest. Try changing what you do and it might lift you out of the rut. Here are a few ideas:
- Route: Try going a different route from the same old, tired training route you usually use. Maybe avoid planning in advance, just go where your feet take you. Explore new areas and try new paths.
- Walk: If running really isn’t working, go for a walk. You’ll get good exercise and fresh air. Walking is very good for you – low impact, burns calories, keeps the running muscles ticking over. And after a few walks, you might find you’re itching to run again.
- Change your pace: Switch from longer slow runs to short fast ones, or the other way round. Have some fun with different types of running. Use intervals to keep the variety.
- Fartlek: Instead of a planned session, try Fartlek (“speed play”) – free running where you chuck in intervals over whatever distance you feel like running, then space them out with jogs in between. These are fun and allow you just to run how you feel.
- Try something new: for example, try running to music or a podcast if you don’t usually. (I highly recommend marathontalk.com!)