It happens to the best of us. One week you’re bounding along, racing buses and banking miles like Bill Gates banks pennies. Next week, you can’t find your stride, you’re slow and sluggish and the sofa is looking oh-so welcoming. It’s likely that everyone will go through a phase of feeling less than enthusiastic about running, but do not fear – I am here to help. Having just rediscovered my running mojo, here are my thoughts on how to find the love again.
First thing’s first… Assess Your Training.
Have you been running the same route for the past month? Same old steady pace? You could be stuck in a running rut, which will make you feel bored and uninspired. I live on the Thames and absolutely love running up and down the tow path, with the beautiful river to one side and various old wharfs and warehouses on the other. However, it got stale. No matter how lovely it was, after a while (it was about a year…) it felt monotonous. I took a detour to the significantly less serene and beautiful Elephant and Castle roundabout and guess what? I felt alive. The route was new and fresh, and just what I needed.
If you don’t fancy mucking with your route, try changing the pace. Include different types of training sessions into your weekly schedule to not only re-ignite your motivation but to make gains in your performance. Fartlek, interval and tempo sessions will add variety as well as boosting stamina and speed. If you’re up for a challenge, find a hill and get to some hill sprint repeats! If you’re near to an athletics track find out when they hold open sessions and head down. Track sessions are not just for club runners, and can be really brilliant fun. This summer I went to a track for the first time and loved it – I wanted to kick myself in the shins for not going before. Try running 400m laps at different speeds, ending with a sprint finish in the final 200m – Mo Farah eat your heart out.
Take A Break (not the shit magazine)
If you’ve increased your mileage recently it’s likely you’ll be tired, and your lack of enthusiasm may be your bodys way of telling you to take a break. I’ve doubled my weekly mileage in training for my first half marathon and whilst my body was adjusting I was bloody knackered! Take a few days break, stretch yourself out and then return to your schedule stronger and refreshed – your running will improve from the rest, not suffer.
Ditch the Tunes
Seriously. If you’re an iPod runner, head out without it. Many people think that running without music will be boring, or that without music they will lack motivation. Whilst there’s definitely a place for music in training, running without it is beautiful. You tune into your environment, your pace, your breathing – not only is this peaceful, but it also means you focus on your running. I personally find that music can really mess with my pace, and when I head out without my headphone is when I run at my best.
Can’t bear to part with your running playlist? Try giving it an overhaul. Try matching the beats per minute of your playlist to your running speed (or desired running speed) to ensure a consistent pace – try jog.fm, a brilliant website that will tell you the BPM for any running speed and then suggest a vast variety of tracks (we’re talking country to trance to nu-metal and back again) at this pace.
Retail therapy works. FACT. Treating yourself to something new and running-related may be the answer to your running blues – I personally cannot wait to hit the road to test out new kit. It could be anything, from a sexy new piece of dri-fit (something bright and happy to boost your mood!), a new easy-grip flask, a new flavour of energy gel or a fancy GPS watch. As the seasons are changing, I just treated myself to a new long sleeve wicking running shirt in a cheerful icy blue – I went running right away. Look at my cheery little face;
You too could look this happy with yourself
There’s no arguing with a double thumbs up.
Sign up for a RACE
It doesn’t matter whether you run a 7 minute mile or a 14 minute mile, races are for everyone. You don’t have to win. Heck, you don’t have to come anywhere near winning. Running in a group with a cheering crowd and shiny matching medals waiting at the end is one of the best feelings ever. The sense of achievement that comes from finishing a course is a natural high unlike any other – I defy you not to feel good. Races also give you an end goal, which gives your training structure – when the sofa and a dramatic repeat of CSI Miami are beckoning, the thought of running a certain distance or finishing in a certain time will kick you up the butt and out the door.
If all else fails…
Watch this video of Dame Kelly Holmes winning double Olympic gold. If you don’t (at the very least) well up, you’re officially a stony hearted troll.
Got any more tips to recover your running mojo? Let me know!