Falling Back In Love With Running

Happy National Running Day!  In honor of this special day to running nerds everywhere I wanted to chat about a topic that I have heard a lot about lately.  Many runners ask me what to do when they fall out of love with running.  It happens to all of us and I hear it from beginners to the most experienced of runners.  No one is immune to this.

Many of us feel so guilty when we lose the desire to go for a run.  It often starts with that feeling of procrastination for a session or two.  Then it leads to dread and excuses.  Many of us use running as a way to stay in shape or even keep weight off.  So losing the desire to run can lead us into panic mode.  If we don’t run, we might gain weight!  It can turn into a vicious cycle.

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It is important to remember that everything we do in life goes through moments of love as well as dislike.  As a kid, I remember my mom telling me that she always loved us kids but at times she didn’t always like us.  I think this is a pretty fair way to describe a lot of our relationships.  I know Rock loves me.  But let me tell you about the time I had plantar fasciitis and couldn’t run, gained what seemed like endless weight, and turned into a nasty personality.  He did not “like” plantar Sarah.  Heck, I even fall out of love with some of my favorite desserts from time to time.  Unbelievable, I know!

The first thing to do is not panic.  All hope is not lost.  We all lose our running mojo from time to time.  Instead of going into freak out mode, try a few different things first:

Take a break.  Sometimes a week or two is all you need.  There is no rule that says all runners must stick to their routine 52 weeks per year.  Just as we take vacations from our jobs and everyday routines, it is important to take some time away from your running routine.

I hesitate adding this next part because Rock will probably print it out and never let me forget it…..but taking a week or two off from running is not going to make you gain a ton of weight.  This is especially true if you are aware of your eating habits and take a break from eating like a runner at the same time.  It isn’t easy, but it can be done!  When we aren’t running our metabolisms do not require us to eat as much or as often as we normally do.  Instead of worrying about gaining weight take this as a time to eat a light and clean diet and not worry about the weight.  Relax, take a deep breath and kick your legs up on the sofa.  Skip the extra cookie and instead enjoy a nap or a book.  With a little practice, it can be happen!  Remember that a few weeks off will not make you lose a lot of physical progress either.

OnABreak

Find a new routine for a little while.  Running got you in a funk?  Try riding the bike or taking some yoga classes.  When I had an injury that knocked me out of my routine for a few weeks I turned to hot vinyasa yoga.  It was relaxing, sweaty and made me feel good.  It was also so different from what I normally did.  It was refreshing.

Doing a new activity will also work different muscles and make you stronger in different ways.  For me, yoga always helps my endurance and focuses on balancing my muscles and various weaknesses.  By the time you are ready to hit the pavement again you will be stronger than before.

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Drop the technology and go back to basics.  My GPS band broke the other day and while I am waiting for a replacement I have been running sans Garmin.  I thought I would hate it.  But you know what?  It is so liberating to not look at my watch and constantly check my pace or see how far I have been going.  The fact is, I have been doing this for so long I know how far my routes are.  But the funny thing is, when I stripped down the technology, I ended up running faster.  Yes, faster!  I have been running purely for the sake of running and not for paces or distances or times.  And suddenly, it is all very free feeling!

Find some new beats.  Music does wonders.  I love switching up my music.  Sometimes I listen to classical, some days I like to clean to reggae (it makes me feel like I am at the beach), and I even play Neil Diamond Radio on Pandora so our baby will learn to enjoy some of their dad’s music.  Sometimes a new music genre can make a run feel so good.  The other day I heard a One Republic song and it made me want to run so fast.  I love that music can make you do that.

Make it social.  Find some friends, join a running group, or run with some people who like to grab drinks afterward.  They don’t need to be your pace.  In fact, find a group that runs at a slower pace than you.  That way you can just jog along, enjoy the conversation and forget what your feet are doing.  Good company can make a lot of things much more fun.

Switch up your route.  Sick of the same old?  Google some new routes, get in the car and seek out new places.  When Rock and I get sick of running the same spots we get in the car and drive.  We make an adventure of our runs.  We find a place to eat after or grab a drink.  New scenery and something to look forward to after can make everything seem more fun.  Don’t be afraid to take it to the trails either.  Although they are more challenging, they are a great way to mix things up.

Pick a race.  Better yet, make it a destination.  Having a race or something to look forward to can change everything.  Sometimes we get so focused on just getting our workouts in and it makes everything a drag.  But if we have something looming on the horizon to train for, running seems to make so much more sense.  Add in a destination race and you have extra motivation.

What are your tricks for getting out of a run funk?

23 thoughts on “Falling Back In Love With Running

  1. I think it all comes down to making a change. Whether that is to take a total break for a good long while, or to sign up for a race. Just break the cycle! But we all need a break every now and then, that is for sure.

  2. Some great tips – I thnk it’s about finding out WHY you’re in a funk and getting the cause and addressing it. Switching up your routine can help – is it the running that puts you in a funk? Racing? Waking up early? Great tips – happy running day! 🙂

  3. I recently discovered that I was in a running funk – forcing myself to run because I was ‘training for the next race’.
    But now that it’s summer, and here in the desert that means off-season, I’m running for the fun of it… and it’s made me remember why I love running so much 🙂
    I also mostly run without my pacer / tracker giving me updates – I just run for the run of it!

    • I was thinking about that when I posted this. I think some runners get so obsessed with that next race that it takes the fun out of it. Some of us need a break from races too.

  4. I’ve handled ruts several ways. Most times I end up taking a break – once, I got very frustrated and took 6 months off of running. I thought I’d never run again. Most times, a new playlist, route, or some new workout gear helps me!

  5. I was thinking about this exact topic on my run this morning. While I am really enjoying not having a training plan, and looking forward to running NYC in the fall, I think intentionally take a full week off of running before I start training will really help me stay motivated and avoid any burnout. New routes and changing up my routine (running with a run club once a week) has really allowed me to increase milage and intensity while not feeling like I “have” to do either! Hope you have an awesome Wednesday!!

    • I think taking a break before a long training session is a great idea. I often encourage my runners to do this if they run regularly. It is much better to do that and be on fresh legs and mind than to get burnt out in the middle of training.

  6. definitely a tough topic for a runner to face, and i think you gave some good, solid tips to stay sane during such a period. 🙂 my frustrations w/ running have always come during times when i’ve gotten hurt (go figure, right), and then i just whine and complain nonstop and feel like my life is over, and everything is just awful. so dramatic. i went through that last year and it sort of woke me up to how dependent i became upon my identity as a runner, and that i needed to sort of work through some stuff there and come to terms with still being able to love my life if i wasn’t running for a bit. i’ve never fallen out of love with it when i wasn’t hurt, though, thankfully! it keeps me sane in NYC!

    • Oh I totally understand all of this. I myself have had plenty an injury that left me going crazy or feeling majorly down in the dumps. Those are the times to find something else to do and allow your love and appreciation for the sport to grow. So glad you are back and doing well!

  7. Ah! I love all your suggestions! We really need to check back in once and a while and see if we are running because we enjoy it or if we are running because we have to. No one is really forcing any one to run and if it feels that way then maybe it is time for a break or to change it up. Happy national running day! 🙂

  8. Going someplace new, changing up the route is like running for the brain – it engages you in a whole new way. My trick is not to think beforehand, just get out the door because that’s really the hardest part some days. Happy running to you!

  9. Great tips! I can burn out really easily, so I’ve been trying to be smart about laying down an appropriate base as I gear up for Berlin training. I do not think there’s anything wrong with taking a break from running – it was 100% necessary when I had ITBS.

    • I think you are very wise with this. Before a long marathon training session it is smart to get those base miles in, but not over do it. Like I said before, the worst thing you could do is end up burnt out before or in the middle of training. Personally I love marathon training and can’t wait until I can do it again…..although I am enjoying where I am at right now too 😉

  10. When I’m in a run funk, I try to either incorporate other fun activities to cross train or switch up my terrain (start hitting up the trails versus the roads). Most of the time it works!

  11. Thanks for posting! I’ve been in a sort of running funk lately but I really want to get back out there. Such inspiration and ideas like this definitely help make it easier to start up a new running routine.

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