By Rob Martin
I think we’ve all been there, haven’t we? One week you’re training the house down & feeling great, the next week you’re struggling to get out of bed & your head just isn’t in the game.
Sometimes these phases can be brought on by personal circumstances or the cancellation of an event, sometimes it’s niggles or more serious injuries, but sometimes there’s no reason that you’re aware of – it just happens!
So, if you find yourself in one of these “funks” should you just give up running?
No, of course not, and here’s some things to think about & a few ideas that might just help.
- Are you just exhausted? Fatigue plays a major role in how we feel, and if you’re not sleeping well or experiencing some major life stress, your body may simply need a rest. It’s true that exercise will help to deal with stress by releasing feel-good chemicals into your brain, but if you’re physically exhausted you may need time to regroup & refresh. If you beat yourself up for feeling this way, you’ll only extend your funk.
- Do you always do the same run, at the same time, on the same day? Maybe you’re just bored! Try moving things around to get a fresh perspective. Can you swap road & trail, or hills & speed? Maybe you could run in the afternoon instead of the morning to avoid the dark & cold – just do something different to your normal routine to shake things up.
- Do you always run on the road? Roads are great for tempo & intervals, as well as being convenient for many people, but if you’ve never tried trail running you don’t know what you’re missing! Trail running has grown massively in popularity over the last 10 years and this growth shows no sign of slowing down. Trails give you an opportunity to get out in nature & to explore your environment. Particularly if you live in Brisbane, you don’t need to go very far to get on those trails – you’ve got Toohey Forest on the South side & Mt Coot-Tha on the North side. The other advantage of trails is that many people feel they get less injuries than on the road, due to the variety in the surface & elevation.
- Do you do most of your running on your own? Many people feel that they’re not good enough or not fast enough to run with a group, since they don’t want to slow people down or be a burden. The fact is that like most things in life, it’s more fun when you share. If you are struggling to generate motivation to run on your own, then a running group or club is the perfect solution. Yes, it can be daunting to turn up to a group where you don’t know anybody, but runners are very friendly & inviting, and you’ll find there’ll be a huge varieties of pace groups available for you to join. If a club sounds too serious, you can join up with more informal groups where you’re bound to make new friends that you can run with. Try Running Buddies Brisbane Southside https://www.facebook.com/groups/328477122219504 or Club KT Walk-Run Club https://www.facebook.com/groups/362279929000815 for some really good social options! Whilst you’ll no doubt be inspired by the people you meet, what you may be surprised to know is that you’ll end up inspiring people by your actions too.
- Do you have something you’re working towards? If you train for months on end without a goal in sight, this can end up being demotivating. You don’t have to enter a marathon or half marathon – you could work towards an 8K or 10K event, or even just work on your PB at parkrun each weekend. Having something to focus on & plan for can make a big difference, so like with the running group example, don’t be afraid to get involved – it’s a decision you won’t regret.
- Do you have the right gear? If you’re trying to run trails in road shoes, or your shoes are worn out or don’t fit correctly, you’re not going to enjoy running. Simple things like your shorts or socks can make a big difference, so a good way to get an injection of enthusiasm is to invest in some new gear. There’s nothing like that feeling of a “new shoe day” or finally having a GPS watch that give you all the accurate data you ever wanted! If you need any help or advice to make the right decisions about new gear, don’t hesitate to jump online at runvault.com.au or keep an eye on our socials to see which upcoming events we’ll be attending with our mobile shop. https://www.facebook.com/RunVaultShop
- Do you need to hire some help? Maybe you’ve come as far as you can on your own & you’ve simply run out of ideas – why not consider working with a running coach. A coach will work with you to understand where you’re at in your running journey & where you’re trying to get to. A good coach will map out weekly training plans, including strength work, that will be conveniently delivered via a mobile phone-based app. You’ll be able to improve your running form & have somebody in your corner to provide support & accountability as you work towards whatever goals you identify, whether that be improved fitness, a race, or a parkrun PB. If you’d like to see if coaching might be one of the answers to your lost mojo, check out what’s on offer from our Head Coach Jamie Hunter here: https://www.runvaultperformance.com.au/runcoaching
- Have you tried any cross-training? Sometimes it’s a great idea to introduce some bike riding or swimming, even if you’re not a triathlete. Strength work in the gym will also pay big dividends in your speed & injury prevention. Even if you try cross training & don’t enjoy it, maybe it will remind you how much you love running & your mojo might return!
- Have you tried running books, podcasts, or YouTube videos? These days there is a huge amount of content out there & a lot of it is free to view or download. You could try listening to a podcast or audiobook as you run or watch a few videos before you lace up your shoes to inspire you. If you search running or trail running online, you will find more content than you could ever listen to or watch – just make sure you don’t spend all your time watching videos on the couch!
- Just give it time & be kind to yourself. The path to happy running is not linear & we have to understand & accept this fact. Do the best you can & keep moving forward when you can. If nothing seems to be working, why not message a running buddy who’s injured & invite them to go for a walk & a coffee. At the very least you’ll get outside & have some company, but also maybe it will be the step you needed to take to get back finding joy in running.
Final thought: I’ve personally found that the runs you least feel like doing are often the best, most enjoyable runs once you get out the door!
See you out there!