After a big race or an injury, it’s easy to lose your running mojo. The results of the effort that went into getting to the level of fitness for the race, or before the injury, can be lost if the running mojo disappears for any length of time, and then it’s even harder to put on the shoes and get out of the door. I’ve struggled with this a lot in the past, especially after the longer ultras, so here is a list of a few things I’ve learned along the way, as well as a few things I’m going to try next time it happens to me.
11 things to try to get your running mojo back
- Always have a race coming up next. If I know I’ve got another race coming up soon, than it’s the one thing guaranteed to get me out the door. If you’ve nothing in the calendar, you could always do a Parkrun so you have a race every week! Try running a different one if you’ve run a local one lots already.
- Don’t run your favourite route in the last 4 weeks of a build-up to a big race, so that you have it to look forward to afterwards. It’s your favourite route for a reason, and running it again may help you to remember why you love running in the first place.
- Combine cross-training and do something new – Go for a swim, or get on your bike and ride somewhere cool. You could even stash the bike and run a new route from wherever you’ve ridden to.
- Treat yourself to some new running kit – I imagine a lot of you have deployed this tactic before. Even though I’m no icon of fashion, I do find that it works really well for me. If I know I need a new pair of shorts, I’ll buy them after a race so that I can use this tactic if needed.
- Run with a friend /friends – Until recently, most of my runs over the past 5 years or so have been alone. More recently, I’ve been running with a great pal. Although he’s new to running, he’s worked exceptionally hard to get to a decent level already, and so we’re pretty well-matched. His enthusiasm and energy really rub off on me.
- Make a weekend of it – Go somewhere new for a few days, somewhere that has some different landscapes than you’re used to running in. I’m in the land-locked English midlands, so running on a beach is a novelty for me. No forests or mountains near you? Head for them. Doing two or three runs in new and exciting landscapes is a sure fire way to kick start the motivational engines. Even if you’re a road runner and not a trail runner, the scenery around you will be as inspiring.
- Try a different training session – I’ve recently been introduced to the 30-20-10 workout – thanks John! I’m not a fan of speed sessions, but really enjoy these, so it pays to mix it up.
- Run to a picnic – one of the great motivators for me during the ultras is the checkpoints with their piles of edible goodies… Convince friends or your other half to meet you somewhere with a picnic, your very own checkpoint. You can choose to run back after, or not… If the friends and/or other half are runners, you can offer the same thing in return another day. Having that point to aim for, other than a time or distance, can just help to trick the mind into wanting to run again.
- Sign up to Instagram and go and run with the intention of taking 10 good shots – Making yourself look at the same landscapes with different eyes can make all the difference to your enjoyment level. Sharing your run visually with friends means the feel-good factor lasts longer and travels further than just you. You could use periscope or facebook live to film parts of your run to share live while you’re out there. It’s easy to forget that some people rarely see those kinds of views that us runners can sometimes take for granted.
- Watch a few of these motivational videos on youtube – The Ultimate Fan by Salomon; Western Time by Billy Yang; and finally, this video, which I’ve watched countless times, and it always brings tears to my eyes (or, as we say in the ultra running community, ‘sweaty eyeballs’…).
- If all else fails, run to a pub! (and maybe back again…).
That last point may seem a little jokey, but I think the most important part to getting your running mojo back is getting out of the door. The fitness we’ve worked so hard to gain can can be lost pretty quickly. According to research, the hard work of a few months can be largely undone with 7-14 days of no running. So if running to the pub is going to get you in your running shoes agin, then that can only be a good thing, right? Once you’re in your gear and ready to go, you’ve conquered the biggest hurdle, your brain. And once you start running, those endorphins will naturally start flowing, and the motivation levels will reignite of themselves. If this has to happen through a run to the pub to meet your mates, then so be it! Having a laugh over a few beers or a glass or two of vino after a run is one of the great pleasures in life. Do you guys have any other tactics you use to banish the running blues? Feel free to comment below and I’ll collate them all into a future post!