Mental Ruts

Yesterday I posted I was not on track with running.  The truth was I was not in the right mindset either.  I was being down on myself and my training.  Having 60 mile weeks, 4 months out from a marathon is great.  I’m not starting from scratch and realistically I do not need a 20 week marathon training plan.

After reading the postagain, I mentally refocused and am ready to get back on track.  It’s always hard not to compare yourself to other athletes.  It’s hard not to compare yourself to yourself.  After running 5 days a week (versus 6 days) of course my body would be tired adding another day.

Being sick the last week forced me to go back to 5 days a week.  My legs felt great, unfortantely nothing else did so it was back to five again.  It’s always humbling when you have to take off due to an outside factor that isn’t related to running.

It was frustrating to say the least. 

Now I’ve mentally refocused and I’m ready to get back on track.  I wrote a post ions ago of how to get back on track after an injury.  Granted I haven’t had a physical injury in the last month I’ve suffered from a mental injury.  I’ve been my own worst critic and not accepted that my training is going well, despite not being linear.  I am still keeping my fitness.

We talk about how to come back physically all the time.  Google “coming back from an injury” and I can guarentee you’ll find 100 different posts.  Google, getting out of a mental rut…and it’s a few less.

How I’ve overcome my mental rut the last month:

  1. I’ve focused on the postive and good.  No I haven’t been able to maintain the mileage I want.  Yes, I’m running injury free.
  2. No I’ve already been thrown some lemons in training.  Yes, I’ve caught them and made lemonade out of the situation.
  3. No I’ve had to skip a few runs lately.  Yes, I’ve enjoyed EVERY single run I’ve been able to get out for.

Right now I’ve become at peace with running.  Each run I’ve gone out for I have enjoyed.  I think that is a huge componenet of training.  If you do not enjoy the runs you are able to go out for, are you enjoing running? (No).  Despite being unmotivated the last few weeks, I’m glad to be back on a better mindset.

Questions for you:

How do you get out of a mental training rut?

What is something positive about your Monday?

26 thoughts on “Mental Ruts”

  1. I use strava and the week starts on Monday so I think about all the miles I have logged and how many more I can do this week…I get into a rut too…sometimes those long runs are a killer…I think the weather affects me too…I hate the heat! You were smart to not race when you didn’t feel well. I raced sick once and it made me worse. Had t miss a week of work…I think it shows you are smart. Happy running

  2. I am in the process of getting my mental focus back into marathon training which starts this week. It’s definitely going to be a challenge but one I am ready for and I am going to take it one week at a time.
    This morning has been rough but I have my coffee and overnight oats. Happy Monday!!

  3. Focusing on the positive can be so hard, but it makes things so much better in the end!

    Unfortunately, since I am taking two weeks off for the wedding, I can’t take off at all this week. I am free Sunday, though!

  4. I also start my running/workout weeks on Monday and am feeling a little rutty. Basically I’m just tired of spin, glad I can elliptical now. It’s great that you’re focusing on the positive, even 5 runs per week is pretty amazing especially when you work and commute, commutes can be killer on running and general motivation.

  5. I have had mental motivation issues too, especially when I train by myself. I find that I sometimes just look too ahead and get overwhelmed with the amount of work still left to do. I try on just focusing on the workout at hand, sometimes even just the interval I’m doing, to get through.

  6. I am in a mental rut right now and, to be honest, you reading positive posts and inspirational things helps a lot. Also, I find taking myself somewhere and being alone with my own thoughts is the best way to just… mentally prep yourself. Sometimes you don’t see things until you’re forced to focus on them and really think about the large scheme of things. <3

  7. Getting out of a mental training rut for me usually requires a few physically good runs to let me know everything isn’t completely falling apart. It also helps a lot to get some extra sleep so I feel more refreshed and ready to run, rather than tired and sluggish which makes running feel more like a chore.

  8. I definitely suffer from loss of motivation — for me I have to take a good week (if not two weeks) off from running and just do something else. I think its nice to have that mental break from not pushing yourself to go out the door every day — it then makes you excited for the next training session to start! Last summer I had a bunch of those bumps — getting sick, then injured, then sick again lead to not getting in a ton of consistent training which lead to a not so stellar marathon for me last year. This year I am trying to focus on being consistent and getting in all the miles! Good luck getting out of the mental training rut!

  9. I really struggled mentally in the last 6 weeks before my ultra. Training was hard, six days a week is NOT for me and I just wasn’t enjoying running. At. All. I ended up taking a step back and running without any pace or time goals. Just running. I also took more rest days and signed up for a few fun runs to try to get back on track.
    I knew after the race I’d have at least a month of no training plan, just running when I felt like it before getting back into it. Knowing I’d get a break was also really important for me.

  10. I just keep working at it. If there is a club run, I have to go. At work I’ll tell my self I’m only going to do a mile or so, and viola I run a 10K. Even with an upcoming race I cannot snap my self out of it. It just takes time, patience and persistance.
    I think sometimes when we are in a rut it is our body/mind telling us we need to take a break. I have an intense two weeks coming up with 4 races, from a 1 Mile track race at Tufts, to a full marathon. I may be in the rut soon.
    Cheers – Andy

  11. This past week, I faced a huge mental wall too. Still not sure I’ve totally bounced back, but like you wrote, I’m focusing on the positives. Training is going well, and I’m having FUN–which is the most important part. 🙂

  12. “How do you get out of a mental training rut?” I’m actually stumped. I can’t remember the last time I was in a mental rut that hasn’t been related to an injury.

    I only get in mental ruts when I get injured, then I find it hard to do the injury prevention work. Great topic, needs to be explored…

  13. I can definitely say mental ruts are the worse! Even just negative talk throughtout the day is something I have noticed. But, trying to think positively and think of all the things you CAN do, and it helps (a little haha)

  14. This post just makes you more real and even a more inspiring person. I wouldn’t call it “ruts”, I think evaluation or re-evaluation is a better word. It’s a way to make ourselves even better. Just like our muscles, they need to break down to re-build even stronger (our brain/mind need that too). I think you made more than just lemonade with the lemons you were thrown, I’m thinking you made lemon meringue pie? 😉

  15. Mental training ruts stink, but unfortunately are part of this thing that we love. You have a lot going on and it’s no wonder it makes it hard for you sometimes. You know I’m always here, and know that you are stronger than you give yourself credit for.

  16. Lately I feel like every post I write says something about how I’m not where I want to be but I know I will get there if I am patient. I guess you could say I’m talking myself out of a mental rut when I write those things. When I get down about my running, it really does help me to think about how much progress I will potentially make later if and only if I stay on track now and don’t quit from discouragement.

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