It happens to many runners: one day, you just don’t want to go for a run. Then the next day, and the day after, and for several weeks, you don’t enjoy running. You have no motivation to get out the door and you don’t experience that runner’s high anymore. You have, in short, lost your running mojo. So how exactly do you get out of a running slump? In this month’s Just Run Round Up, runners share how to find your running mojo again when you’ve lost it.
Change Your Routine
Most runners follow the same routine for years: an hour run on Mondays, track on Tuesdays, easy on Wednesdays, tempo Thursdays, long on Saturdays. Repeating the same stimulus with little variation can lead to mental burn-out or physical overtraining.
So if you feel like you’re in a running slump, alter your routine completely. Change the number of days you run, your average weekly mileage, and the types of workouts you do. If you typically measure your runs based on distance, try measuring by duration instead.
Consider the Stress Factor
The most basic equation in running is stress+rest=adaptation. Like any equation, if you increase one factor, you need to increase the other – so the more stress in your life, the more rest you need. Stress includes mental and physical stress – so that new baby or big project at work might be hindering your ability to recover fully. For many runners, poor recovery is one of the first things to sap their running mojo.
If stress is the reason for your running slump, be kind to yourself. Release yourself from expectations, only run as far as you want, avoid any grueling workouts that demand intense recovery, and grant yourself the permission to skip a run. Chances are, once life returns to normal, so too will your running.
Do Something Different
Some athletes I coach have found new life to their running by shifting their focus to trail running, 5K races, or other events. Out of habit and comfort, many runners train for the same event season after season, which can sap the joie de vivre from running. Too much of the same thing can become monotonous, while variety is fun.
Don’t just run a marathon because you have every year in the past. Genuinely assess what sounds the most appealing to you right now. If something has piqued your curiosity, like trail races or snowshoe running, then try it. Do what sounds the most appealing to you, not what your friends are doing, what you’ve done in the past, or even what you’ve qualified for.=
Take Some Time Off
If you feel really burnt out, stop running until the desire returns. Maybe it will return in a couple of days, or perhaps you will cross-train for a few months until you yearn to pound the pavement again. Forcing runs will only make your burn-out worse.
For more advice on how to overcome a slump and find your running mojo, read more in the Just Run Round Up:
Have you ever lost your running mojo?
How do you overcome a running slump?