When I first began my journey running, it felt hard. Today, running still feels hard.
The meaning has changed and what was once difficult is now longer not, however, every training cycle presents itself with new challenges.
Every new runner has asked:
Does running ever any easier?
Do veteran runners always feel good running?
Do elites feel like they are cake walking every mile?
No, no, and also no
I love running, and for the most part, I’ve had a lot of great runs. I have a running blog and work at a running store. However, like anyone I’ve also had some terrible runs. It’s not all the Instagram highlight and picture-perfect reel. No one lives are!
There have been plenty of times I’ve woken up and thought, “nope, I’m not running today” and gone back to sleep. This has been enhanced by the recent time change and daylight saving time.
If you have been running for any amount of time, you’ve probably had a time when running felt stale.
It’s boring; there isn’t anything to look forward too, and you’ve lost all of your motivation. You’ve had several runs you’ve struggled getting through, and it just seems like…ugh why bother. This happened to me, around this time last year. I didn’t go through my big burnout until last April. However, I began to feel stale around March. I firmly believe if I had taken a couple of weeks off last March, I probably wouldn’t have taken four months off in April.
Could have, would have, should have, but I have no regrets.
The truth is, running never really gets much easier. Every runner new or old struggled with getting out of the door at some point.
Here are a few ideas that can change your mindset and motivation:
Often times, change is the key to breaking out of a rut.
Find a Running Partner:
Run by anyone you see, but just don’t approach someone because that could get awkward. But seriously, change up who you are running with. Thinking out loud, it makes the run feel entirely different! Even running on the same route with someone new makes the run fly by. Even listening to a new podcast makes it feel like you’re running with someone.
Run different mileage:
- Decrease your distance
- Run two short runs versus one longer run.
- If you were training for a longer race, train for a shorter run.
- Add cross training or find a new class
Change where you run
A change of scenery can be a good thing. Personally, racing in a different location each week keeps me from getting bored. Try running on the trails, different neighborhoods, or even the treadmill. Sometimes catching up on trashy TV and running on the treadmill is what I want to do. I wrote a post about not hating the treadmill! With a rest day, race, running with someone, and workout, I normally only run the same route 1-2X per week. It keeps things interesting.
When all else fails and running is just not going well, take a break. There is plenty more to life than running. Even if you’re an elite runner, you still probably enjoy a few things outside of moving your feet.
A break never hurts and can help you come back stronger. At the end of the day, it’s just running.
Question for you: How do you break out of a rut?