Do you ever head out the door, day in and day out and start to feel like you are stuck in a rut? Are you following the same route, changing the distance, but keeping things the same along the way? Sometimes this is great. In fact, I have 6, 7, and 8 mile routes that I know. I love that I can leave the GPS and focus less on pacing and just enjoy the run. But sometimes, this every day, hamster wheel training, can start to mess with your head.
While we were in Florida we were able to enjoy running on a hard packed beach. Years ago we discovered that there was a pier my parents could drop us off at and run exactly 10 miles back to their condo. It was perfect and we loved the fact that we had no choice but to just keep moving. But on one of my last days down there I did my speed work heading in the opposite direction. As I slowed between intervals, I noticed some beautiful houses that I had never paid attention to before. It was awesome! By simply heading in the opposite direction, my run took on a whole different perspective.
When we flew back into Chicago we were met with some extremely strong winds (really makes for a fun landing). I needed to do a six mile run and was dreading every part of it. I started in the usual direction but then opted to head into the wind, figuring it would make for a nice treat on the return home. Wouldn’t you know that the same thing happened?! Simply by running in the opposite direction of my normal route, I noticed even more beautiful homes, yards, and fun places to check out again later. How had I never spotted these before?
Running truly is a gift. It gives us so much and asks very little in return. When you feel a bit of the blahs, try switching things around. There are so many ways to do this:
Run your routes in reverse. Flip flop your run and it suddenly feels totally different.
Head to a track We have one across the street and when I feel like I don’t want to deal with traffic, I just go over there and surprisingly get into a rhythm and forget that I am running in multiple circles.
Get in the car and find a new place to explore. Rock and I got sick of training in NYC one spring and found new trails and paths outside of the city. It made the weekends so fun to look forward to.
Find a race. Having something to look forward to is super motivating. It can keep you on track and give you something fun to see on the horizon. Races also don’t have to be raced. You can simply use the experience as a way to fit in your miles with a different perspective. They are great ways to find a new route and enjoy the company of others.
Join a group run. Running stores, athletic stores (like Athleta and Lululemon) and charities offer free group runs. Take a look online or inquire at your local running store. Don’t worry about your pace. These groups are great about including everyone and cater to easy, slow paces. You will enjoy not running solo.
Hit the gym. This might surprise you, but occasionally when I am not motivated to run, I head to the treadmill. Sometimes dealing with routes, cars, and everything else leaves me feeling so unmotivated. By hitting the treadmill, I can watch TV, listen to music and do random fartlek sessions. Plus I like the extra sweat that I get inside.
Try a trail. I absolutely love trail running. It forces you to slow down and focus on every foot fall. There is no time to look at a GPS or think too much about anything else. And mother nature always makes everything better.
How do you like to change your perspective?