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.
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.
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.
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?