Regardless of why you got into running, you have likely stuck with it because you enjoy the sport. Running isn’t easy, though, and every now and then, even the most obsessed runners find themselves in a rut, lacking motivation and no longer having fun in training. If you’re in a rut, don’t worry — you’ll get out of it soon enough. Here are a few things you can do to speed the process up and get out of that lull and back to having fun, which is what running is all about.
Forget the pressure
It’s really easy to become focused on outcomes as a runner. You’re looking at times, race results, paces and so many other pieces of data. These can all act as motivators, but if things aren’t going your way and you find you’re not getting the results you want, they can also bog you down.
It’s easier said than done, but try to put less pressure on yourself. Focus less on the outcome and more on your effort. If you finish a workout and feel you gave it your all, then don’t worry about the paces you hit. When you run a race, ignore the results list and instead pay attention to how you ran. The less pressure you put on yourself, the better you’re apt to feel.
Enter a race for fun
Still prepare, still go hard, but just have fun with it. As mentioned in the last point, don’t look at the results list. For now, we’re sticking with virtual races, but when in-person runs come back, go out and enjoy yourself on the course, high five your competitors and run with a smile.
Try a challenge
If you can’t enter a race without putting too much pressure on yourself, try a non-competitive challenge instead. Run every street in your city or town, try Everesting (running the height of Mount Everest in one go) or find something else. There are so many running challenges out there, and they can help you chase goals without involving the pressures of competition.
Run with others
Join a run club or find some running buddies. Again, this might have to wait until after the pandemic, but when you’re cleared to run with others, it’s worth trying. You’ll go from running in silence and being stuck in your head to having fun while running and chatting with your friends, which will make training feel like less of a chore.
Leave your watch at home
Your watch could be the reason you’re not having fun anymore. If you’re on a run and you think you’re going at a good pace, it can be incredibly discouraging to look down and find that you’re actually going slower than you thought. Leaving your watch at home and going by feel, though, will let you live in ignorance. Still bring the watch out for workouts, but when you’re planning to take it easy, forget about pace and run at whatever speed feels right.
Make a change
If you mainly run on the road, head to the trails for a change of scenery. If you’re a die-hard trail runner, take a trip onto the road. New views and new routes will mix things up, which will make it easier to look forward to your next run.
You don’t have to run to maintain your fitness. Try cycling, swimming or any other mode of cross-training out there. Once again, this will mix things up and it will give you a break from running. Then, with some time away from the roads or trails, you can return feeling refreshed and excited to run again.
Change your schedule
If you always run at night, try the mornings. If you’re a morning runner, try sleeping in and saving your runs for the evening. We get set in our schedules, but sometimes it’s good to switch our days up.