“Where the bloody hell did that go?” “I had it before – but I just cant find it anymore. ” “It’s gone. I’ve lost it”………………… No runner has ever not uttered those words (or similiar) to themselves at some point – sometimes more than once. For we all, to some degree or other, lose our running mojo from time to time.
The alarm goes off in the morning and we hit the snooze button (several times)…………. instead of hitting the trails. The idea of even an easy short run is daunting. It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s dark, it’s hot, it’s too early, it’s too late, I’m too tired, I’m too busy………our excuses know no bounds. Our running mojo has gone walk abouts.
Sometimes our love of running deserts us for external reasons. The answer may not be immedietly apparant, such as being injured or ill. Your lacking desire to don your trainers and pound the pavement could be due to stress in your personal or work life, incorrect diet,or poor sleep. Attempt to pinpoint the instigator and use that as the beginning to getting back on track.
If none of the above apply and you have purely fallen out of love with running then don’t panic – with a few subtle changes – you will be back to pounding out the miles, hitting the purple patches that we all strive for, and basking in the “runners high” that we all want.
Start short– Despite the distance of your last run, your next one doesn’t have to be anything epic. Try a nice, easy, slow 2 – 4 miles. You may even find that at the end of that run you feel like tagging a bit more on.
Lose the Garmin – Forget about pace per minute, about negative splits, about intervals, about fartleks, about tempo, about pyramids. Forget about “how long” or “how quick”. You may tell yourself that you wont look at it – you will!! Remove any self generated pressure and stress. Run at whatever pace feels good. Re learn about running in it’s simplest of form.
Enter a race- This can be a fantastic motivator. Having a goal to aim for is a great way to help you get out the front door when it’s cold and dark and wet. If the thought of an impending event is not enough to reignite the desire to reach for your trainers – then think about the money you payed to enter the said race. This may just be me though – think “tight Jock” once again.
Listen to your body – Now this contradicts the last piece of advice, however if you normally enter lots of races then no doubt you also commit to lots of training plans. The simple truth is you may just be burnt out. Be honest with yourself, listen to your your body, and if taking a decent amount of time away from all that training and racing is what you need…………. then do exactly that.
Mix it up – There is nothing wrong with running the same 5 mile route 3 times a week – but to keep your journey interesting – try changing it. Change your route -turn left at the traffic lights instead of always turning right. Change when you run – if you normally run in the morning – try venturing out the door in the evening, or on your lunch break. Change where you run – If you normally run on the road – hit the trails (my personal favourite). Change what you run – if you normally do marathons then enter a 10K, a half marathon, an obstacle course. It will provide a different goal/motivator than you are used to.
Join a club – Running amongst like minded idiots can be a fantastic way to reconnect with the joys of running. Alternatively run with a friend. It doesn’t matter if you run 3 miles then stop for a coffee before running home again. By making arrangements it holds you responsible and accountable to others, as well as generating new friendships. On the whole running is a social activity and in the main runners tend to be social creatures.
Have I ever lost my running mojo? Hell yes!! Has it always come back? Hell yes!