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What to Do When You’re Just Not Motivated…

What to Do When You’re Just Not Motivated…

Yesterday on Instagram, I asked what people were interested in on blogging.  I’m not a coach, I’m not a nutritionist, and I’m not a professional or expert.  I’m just a person who likes to run and also blog.

One of the questions I received was “what to do when you don’t feel like running”. As runners, we’ve all been through a time that we “just didn’t feel like running.”  Last April and May, I was burned out.  Between life and not wanting to run, it took me nearly 4 months to be consistently back to training again.  This year, there was a time in early April, I felt the same way.  Instead of pushing through and probably hurting myself, I took a few days off.

What to Do When You're Just Not Motivated...

The world did not end.  Running was there when I was ready.

For most of us, running is not a full-time job or profession and it’s okay to take time off.

After a big race, I don’t always find myself “wanting to run.”  If the race didn’t go well, I might be less motivated.  Even if the race did go well, I might be less motivated because a new goal race is “so far off.”  Throughout the years, I find recovery from any big race is essential.

There is No Shame in Recovery, in Fact, it’s Important:

I can’t stress this enough.  If you attempt to jump back into mileage and workouts after a big race, you’ll get hurt.  I’ve been there before and suffered the consequences.  After Copper Mountain, I bee-bopped around, ran with family and just enjoyed my week.  If I run, yay! If I didn’t…who care.  For instance, with an overnight flight delay in Denver, I wasn’t going to run in NJ at 2:30 pm in July…so I didn’t. It wasn’t worth it to wake up at 3:30 am and run and it wasn’t worth it to me run in 100 degrees. Recovery was the best that day and it became another rest day.

Recovery Includes Mental Recovery:

When you mentally invest so much in a race, it’s important to realize, after that race you need some mental downtime.  Let your brain and mental health recover too!  As someone who took many college classes in mental health, it’s so important to ask yourself: is what I’m doing making me mentally healthy?  The rest time allows you to reset and recharge for the next race.

Set a New Goal:

If your next goal race is months away, find smaller goals or races.  Personally, I prefer racing frequently because it gives me “something to look forward too.” I prefer big, competitive races, for a goal race but I like smaller local races. I can decide race day if I want to run and have something to look forward too.  If you find yourself not motivated to run, look for some smaller races that you can do!

Switch it Up:

This is good advice for burn out or just staying mentally motivated.  A few ways to switch up your running:

  • A new distance
  • New routes or surfaces (trails, go on the roads, heck even zone out to the treadmill if you desire)
  • Run with Friends
  • Run Your “route” backward. Yes, that makes for a whole new run.

Reward Yourself:

Whether that is a physical or mental reward, give yourself something to look forward too.  Someone I personally know puts a dollar in a jar every run they do.  They end up buying new running shoes or gear with the money, which I think is fun!  You don’t have to reward yourself with anything expensive or food related but if it’s something you look forward too, then it counts.

When all else doesn’t work out, don’t be afraid to take time off.  We all need running breaks both for mental and physical health.  These days, social media has made it easy to compare yourself to everyone else out there.  It feels like “everyone else is running” and running well when that isn’t the truth.  We all go through the highs and lows of running and it’s important to remember why you did it (for you).

Questions for you:

How do you stay motivated to run?

Do you take time off after a goal race?

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9 responses

  1. Great tips! I was just talking with a fellow runner last week how social media and things DO really make it seem like everyone is always running or always running more or faster! As you know, I’ve learned that recovery is so important. I also am one of those people the past few years who doesn’t get anxious if they aren’t running every day or even every other day. I go with the flow for my goals or how I’m feeling because getting burned out is real!

  2. These are such great tips! Right now in the dog days of summer I’m having a hard time getting out the door, so I’m motivating myself by getting support from friends.

  3. Love this! I just spent some time thinking about this exact thing, except that I am injured, as opposed to unmotivated. I think what helps me through tough periods is finding new hobbies, and they don’t even have to be exercise-related. I also find that biking my running routes makes me itch to go run on them again. Time off can be so productive.

  4. Keeping races on my schedule keeps me motivated.
    Sometimes I can keep my weekly mileage going without a race to train for, but it sure helps!

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