When I first started running, it felt hard. Today, running feels hard. Does running get easier? Do veteran runners always feel good running? Do elites feel like they are cake walking every mile? Why do so many runners make running look easy?
No, no and no
I love running and for the most part, I’ve had a lot of great runs. However, like anyone I’ve also had some terrible runs.
There have been plenty of times I’ve woken up: thought, “nope, I’m not running today” and gone back to sleep. Maybe I woke up later and ran or maybe I’ve just struggled to get to work on time.
From time to time, I get an email like “does running get any easier”. The answer is no. We go in waves.
Some days, you make running look easier. Some days, the last thing you want to do is run. If you run, 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 get through, and it just seems like…ugh why to bother. Whether you are training for your first 5k or running your 300 marathon, we’ve all had a running run.
We’ve all been there whether it’s training for your first race or 500th.
So what are some ideas to “switch it up”?
Often change is the key to breaking out of a rut.
Find a running partner:
Run with anyone you see, just don’t approach someone if you’re wearing all black and it’s midnight. That could get awkward. But seriously, change up who you are running with. It makes the run feel completely different! Running with a training partner, listening to music, or podcasts, or finding a running group or run club can help make a run feel easier. These days run clubs are popping up all over the world. I know of at least 15 in the greater Philadelphia area.
Change the time of day you run:
Run at a different time. It’s exhilarating! Once again, don’t run in the middle of the night in all black (although it’s enough to pick up the pace and get your heart rate up).
Run different mileage:
- Decrease your mileage
- Run two short runs versus one long run.
- Commit to a different training plan or hire a running coach.
- Add strength training or cross training (which can also make you stronger and is good for preventing injuries).
Treat Yourself to New Running Gear:
This might be the most costly but sometimes treating yourself to new running shoes makes all the difference. Have you ever noticed how running feels easier in new shoes? No, just me? If you don’t want or need new shoes something as simple as new socks or a foam roller could help you bust out of the rut.
Change where you run:
A change of scenery can be a good thing. I know for me, racing in a different location each week keeps me from getting too bored. Plus sometimes if you run in a different area, running feels easier and goes by faster. 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.
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. If you feel your mind consumed by negative thoughts related to running, it might be time for a break.
A break never hurts and can help you come back stronger.
Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport.
Question for you: How do you break out of a rut?