UnMotivating Weeks

It seems like every summer I hit a huge wall.  I wonder, why am I getting up this early.  All my friends go to bed at 11 wake up at 7 (at the very earliest) for work, yet here I am day in and day out up no later than 5:30 every morning solely to run.  I hit this wall of misery every single summer that I’ve run, questioning why I’m even doing it.  Waking up early stinks.  Running by yourself at ungodly hours in the dark…stinks.

In 2011, I got a stress fracture because I gave in and ran in the afternoons on the treadmill.  I became to concerned with pace and miles versus anything else…I was a little baby runner then and I have since learned my lesson.

In 2012 I hit this wall pretty hard as well.  I was stressed with waking up to run before work so I wouldn’t run on the treadmill post work.  I was stressed with a newly created long distance relationship.  I was stressed with doing some open water swims to prepare for my 2 miler and also 5k.  I was, of course, biting too much too chew.  Needless to say I made it through the summer logging huge miles and made it somehow through the summer injury free.  Though I did hit the wall pretty hard.

This summer is no different.  I’m still biting off more then I can chew.  I’m working two jobs to pay for everything.  While no my parents are not making me pay rent at home, I am responsible for paying almost everything else.  Including food I like, running related fees and clothes…and basically everything else.  So I want to be able to afford that as well as having some extra spending money.  So what am I even saying?  I’ve hit that point in the summer (mid july as it always is) that I’m over running.  I just need a mental break.

Last week I gave myself a couple days off, nixed any speed and it seemed to really do the trick.  Though I’m not one to ever pressure myself from pace, if I consistently ran slower then normal it does take a mental toll.

My motivation is pretty much at a-5.  So why do I keep running?  Well, we aren’t always going to motivated running.  Sunshines and butterflies will not accompany all of your runs and it’s actually getting out there and powering through mentally tough times that make you a stronger runner.  Sure, it’s not optimal to run in the humidity, nor is it optimal to run in the NY winters…nor Texas summers.  You aren’t going to have perfect runs every day or even half the time so if I can remember that like last year somehow I’ll hopefully make it through and injury free.

Question for you: Do you see times when your motivation goes down?  

Categories: Tags: , , ,


  1. If you don’t have unmotivating weeks than you aren’t doing it right. One of my favorite writers wrote about following your passion and he said “Hating it was important.” When you throw yourself 100% into something there WILL be times you hate it. Keep pushing through though and it will all pay off.

    I usually start to feel unmotivated about halfway through the marathon cycle. You feel constantly tired and agitated. I just try to sleep more and focus on rest.

  2. I’m definitely in a low-motivation week. I blame the heat. My ideal temp is 30 F. I’ve actually started missing the crazy Chicago winters.

  3. Oh girl. I’ve been through this already this summer. What helped was taking some time off and even though it meant driving 45 minutes to another city, I found a track club and ran with them a couple of times. Completely different routes and meeting new people. It was a step out of my comfort zone, but I am trying to go at least once a month to help break up the monotony of having to train by myself! Chin up, girl!! You’ll get through this!

    1. Since I work 60-70 hours, the meeting times for the track clubs don’t work with my schedule. I also don’t enjoy running with vast amounts of people. I am glad it has been working for you. 🙂

  4. As you know, my running has been less than stellar. Summer always hits me hard, with this being my 2nd summer as a runner I have lots of experience to draw from. I know once fall comes to Texas in October or November, things will be better weather wise, so I just try to keep going. I look at how far I’ve come and I don’t want all that work to be for nothing, to have to start at zero, and that at least keeps me running a few days a week. It’s not as far or as fast as I’d like, and it is usually not much fun. But those days will come soon enough. And I’ll appreciate them more because of the low motivation summer months.

  5. My motivation is SO gone right now. I just got back from a two week vacation at my parent’s house in Colorado where it was perfect weather and beautiful trails. Now I’m back in the DC heat and humidity and I cannot make myself go outside and do it. I think I hit snooze for 2 hours this morning (seriously). Finally I dragged myself out of bed and ran to work instead.

    This is my second DC summer, so I KNOW it will pass (the weather even looks better starting Sunday!). I just have to get back into the swing of making myself do it.

    1. I’m three hours south in VA Beach and this humidity has been awful I’ll tell you that. Glad you were able to get a run in and hopefully it sets back into routine!

  6. I like what Kris said, this definitely happens to everyone. It’s just a part of training hard, nobody loves what they do all the time… and like she said about halfway through training you do get tired and just want to sleep, sleep, sleep! That was me this morning. Stress from things like money and jobs doesn’t help either!

    Regardless, you’re doing a great job Hollie :). Just keep swimming (Err, running)… your success will definitely come in NYC!

  7. When I have longer training cycles I notice this happening. Maybe try mixing things up with more cross training while you can before marathon training or find some people to run with. Anything that will make the run seem fun and exciting

  8. I definitely get unmotivated with extreme high/low temperatures. My body just does not like extremes. Also, I get really unmotivated to go to the gym to swim. The thought of having to change, shower, etc. is just a no-go right now. I really should, though. Getting there, for me, is 100% the battle.

  9. I, also, like what Kris said (super smart lady, she is). Right around mid-summer, I start doing that thing where I look at my long runs in terms of hours and not miles. For me, that generally results in mental conversations like, “OMG TWO AND A HALF HOURS OF RUNNING YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME WEIFGJHIWEOFGWEIOFJWEFWEFIOIW”

    I’ve learned that I have to delude myself a bit to get started (my favorite is telling myself on an out-and-back that I “just have to run X miles, and then I *just* have to run home”), because once I do, momentum usually carries me through.

    I do want to note that stress, for me, was a real run killer last summer. While running can be a great stress reliever, sometimes you hit that tipping point where it becomes too much to handle. I was studying for the Bar exam last summer (which is pretty all-encompassing) while training, and there came a point where my long runs felt like this massive thing that took me away from studying. It sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate right now. Sometimes looking towards an end-date (for you – your move, NYCM, etc) helps me to look past the immediate stress and focus on the prize, much like focusing on a distant tree or runner can help take you through the immediate mile, or focusing on the horizon can calm seasickness. 🙂

    1. Kris is one of the wised people I know…I guess I’m talking behind her back or below her back since she is a few comments up LOL. I agree though about the tipping point. It should be a stessor. I think that is part of my problem of having so many factors of unknown on my plate currently between moving and all of that jazz. It’s like a build up.

  10. ugh man join the club. what is with this week? i already ready for it to be over. some weeks I am all about my training and some weeks everything hurts.I will be enjoying tomorrow’s rest day to the fullest. I am in need!

  11. Girl, you are so much more motivated than me. I’m lucky to drag myself out of bed by 8 AM to get to work at 9. And my workouts this summer have totally gone by the wayside. I totally give you credit for continuing to go even when your motivation isn’t at its peak!

  12. Yes! Yes! Yes! Happens to all of us! Your last paragraph is right on, and big thumbs up to what Kris said as well. You’ll be out of this little patch before long and kudos for knowing its just a phase!

  13. Dear god this entire winter was lacking motivation. I got through it and you will too.

    You’ve got a lot going on right now, and lord knows you just want it to be labor day for my birthday…I mean you want it to be labor day because you’re moving to TX with Tim. Thats enough to make anyone feel off..seriously you deserve that time off and to step back.

  14. Hollie, I can related big time. It seems like this is a typical time for athletes to hit the wall and approach that burning out point. After my race (er, hospital visit), I took three days totally off. Granted, I needed to, but my coaches also gave us a mid-season break this week to focus on resting and recovering. Taking a few days off seems to do the trick for me, and I know this is just a temporary feeling for you.

  15. I’ve been having a tough week so this really hit home for me. I think it’s normal to have ups and downs. And you’re absolutely right about the “it’s not always sunshine and butterflies” thing … it’s refreshing to just hear someone admit that for once instead of constant raging run love. You’re in a tough place right now and you have tons of things to be stressed about. Don’t let running be one of them. It’ll come around eventually 🙂

  16. I think we all have these weeks sometimes. Not just with training, but with life. I hit the wall after lifeguarding for 7-8 days in a row and question why I do it to myself yet I just sign on for more shifts. Same with running, school, social commitments- every good week is bound to have a not so good week that goes with it. I feel like it would be weird for you to not hit that wall. Honestly, mixing up the gym classes has been the best thing that could have happened to me in terms of exercise since I’m learning to enjoy it again and have it not hurt or be painful. It’s just a reminder that there will be days or weeks where we feel like crap and others where we feel like we’re on top of the world. Oh, and I always blame the weather when it comes to anything. It’s so easy to do and usually has something to do with what’s wrong and it isn’t in our control if that makes any sense. I’m going to stop rambling now because my brain stopped working about 4 hours ago.

  17. Heck Yes.

    I absolutely feel completely disillusioned for a period every once and a while. But just like you said, I keep running because that’s what I do, and that’s how it works. I know I’ll eventually get over it, and lo and behold eventually I do.
    I’m sure plenty of people take breaks for a while which is probably a great idea because it gives your body a break (aka less chance of injury) but in the end I never regret it.

  18. There was a key word there girl- stress. But you are aware of it and that is a good thing. And it seems like you learned from the past two summers. Nothing in life can be awesome all of the time and that is hard for all of us to wrap our minds around because we live in a world that tells us to not except average. Sometimes average or just ok or even awful is just fine because we learn from those times

  19. I think in any instances in life, motivation comes and goes. Whether that be in fitness, studies, work and even our social life. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong or one is not normal. I guess its how life works and its motions.

    So glad I found this blog, loving your recipes! And I love how your from upstate NY! I did a semester abroad as Oswego!

    1. I actually worked at SUNY Oswego all last year! I went to SUNY Potsdam for four years then worked there for ayear…I’ve since moved back down South to VA…winter time was not for me…ha ha.

      1. No way! haha, tell me about it, I left the melbourne weather only to awake randomly one october morning to see the campus covered in white.

Comments are closed.