For many of us, our run is our favourite part of the day. It’s a chance to get outside, get some fresh air and enjoy pushing our bodies to become better, faster and stronger. But what happens when that love starts to fade? When going out for a run starts to become a ‘have to’ instead of a ‘want to’? Even the most dedicated and passionate runners will occasionally experience low motivation, but if your regular running routine is no longer bringing you the same happiness it once was, perhaps it’s time for a change. If you’ve found yourself in this situation, check out these tips to pull yourself out of your running slump.
Take some time off
If running has become a chore when it used to be something you looked forward to, it’s a good idea to ask yourself why. Is it because you’re just bored, or are you overtraining and feeling burnt out? If it’s the latter, then the best remedy is taking some time off. Maybe try a different activity besides running, like walking, cycling or yoga. The answer may also be that you need to cut back on your mileage and intensity for a little while until you get your mojo back. Even just doing this for a week or two can be the reset your body needs.
Try a new distance
Have you been working really hard at lowering your 5K PB for a long time? Or have you spent the last few years training for marathon after marathon? It may not be that you’re burnt out, it could just be that you’re starting to get bored. If this is the case, now’s a great time to switch it up. Challenging yourself with a different distance (longer or shorter) is a great way to bust out of a slump, and can even help lower your PB at your ‘usual’ distance.
Change up your workout
It’s easy to fall into a routine of doing the same runs and workouts over and over again. Not only will this hinder your training, but it’s not really much fun. If the monotony is getting to you, try adding a different workout into your routine, like hills, stairs, a Moneghetti fartlek or some track work. It’ll be more interesting, and you may even see your times improve.
Get a squad
Of course, this is not really possible while COVID-19 restrictions are in place, but once we’re able to safely run with friends and with groups again, finding a crew to log your miles with is arguably the most fun way to add some pizzazz to your weekly running routine. A running buddy or group can turn a run into a social event, push you to run longer or faster than you thought possible and hold you accountable on those low-motivation days.
Try a virtual challenge
Until we can safely run in groups again, a virtual challenge is also a good way to make running more fun again by giving your training more purpose in the absence of in-person races. You could try running every street in your neighbourhood, or running the length of one (or all) of your city’s subway lines. There are many different challenges and virtual races available on the internet, so you can choose one of those or make up your own — bonus points if you get your running friends in on it.
Find a new route
We all have our go-to routes that we run regularly, but even the most scenic course will get old if you do it too often. Try using your next run as an opportunity to explore a new part of your town or city, or hop in your car and head out to a new trail that’s further from home on the weekend. A change of scenery could be all that’s needed to remind you how much you love running again.