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Feeling low motivation is totally normal right now

Feeling low on motivation? You're not alone

When pandemic safety measures began in Canada, there was lots of talk of ‘making the most’ of the new normal. For some runners, this meant taking care of the little things (strength, activation), increasing their mileage or signing up for virtual races. But what about for the other groups of runners–longtime lovers of the sport who suddenly felt really low on motivation? It turns out this group is much larger than expected, and includes some of Canada’s very best. Here’s why you shouldn’t feel bad about feeling low on motivation, and how to manage it if you are.

If you need a break, take a break

Our normal is an ever-changing thing right now. With the future so uncertain, it can be hard for runners to make (or stick to) training plans. Canadian 800m record holder Melissa Bishop-Nriagu took a couple of unplanned weeks off, just to refresh, when she got the news about the Olympic postponement. “Finding motivation is really hard right now. Feeling low is inevitable. Everyone is working towards this moving goal, which is really difficult.”

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You don’t need to do structured workouts

World Championship marathoner Lyndsay Tessier has been finding it hard to workout without comparing her current fitness to her form in October 2019. So she ditched the GPS watch and is running to perceived effort. “My ego would take a big hit if I saw these splits on a watch,” she jokes. “I’m not worried about being in shape right now, but I don’t want to be a total sloth. So I’m running by effort with a Casio watch.”

Lyndsay Tessier at the 2019 Spring Runoff in Toronto
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If running to a workout doesn’t interest you, but exploring the trails sounds fun, then do that instead. It’s all about finding the version of running that’s enjoyable right now.

RELATED: Lyndsay Tessier’s morning routine

Try something new

If running isn’t getting you excited, take up a new activity to move your body. Improving at a new sport is fun, and if it works the aerobic system, it will translate well to running when you’re ready to return to the road. If you’ve got a bike, take it out for a spin. The two-wheel express is a great way to get around, see some new spots and get a good workout in.

RELATED: Dayna Pidhoresky’s cycling workouts for injured runners

Avoid the guilt

Longtime runners are used to a certain routine, and deviation from the routine can lead to guilt. The best thing you can do right now is to let that go, take a break, and come back to running when you feel like it. It’s better to take a small break now, as opposed to becoming fed up and needing a huge break later. Running will still be there when you’re ready, and especially if you’re a lifelong runner, the fitness will come back faster than you think.