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There are many different reasons why you may face a lack of enthusiasm and energy for training.
We often face life stressors—those positive or negative events that cause change or upheaval in life.
Some of these events may be easy to identify but some are more subtle. Things like a new job, loss of job, starting school, ending school, getting married, going through a divorce, having a baby, kids leaving the nest, moving, building a home, death of a friend or family member, illness, injury, a running partner moving, change of schedule, change of seasons, cold or hot weather, etc.
All these things can leave us with less energy and throw off our normal routine. Before you know it you may be in an exercise or running slump. And the longer you go without running regularly, the harder it is to start doing it again.
Pretty soon you wonder if you’ll ever get your mojo back.
How to Beat a Motivational Slump in Your Running
I think most people go through motivational slumps occasionally in life. That has certainly been true for me and recently we were talking about how Trevor has been going through a running slump lately and thought it might be helpful to address this on the podcast.
So, if you’re going through a low point in your running don’t despair. There’s a mountain for every valley and we want to give you some tools to getting back on track to achieve your running goals.
- Identify the problem: What are some possible causes for this motivational slump? How long has it been going on? Think through some of the things we mentioned earlier and write down some possible causes.
- Identify any barriers: What things or circumstances are currently getting in the way of you running regularly? You may have stopped or cut back on your running for one reason but now have some barriers to getting back to where you want to be. Maybe you’re dealing with time constraints, fear, injury, complacency, financial pressures, etc.
- Clarify your goals: You have to start with where you are. Maybe a year ago you were in marathon shape and your mind tells you that you should be there currently. But face the reality of where you’re at. Maybe it’s difficult to run a mile right now…maybe your running pace has slowed down by a couple of minutes… maybe you’re rehabbing an injury. Whatever the situation, that is where you’re at. Now think about what do you want to accomplish? Write down your specific goals: i.e. finish first marathon by my 40th birthday, run a 5k in less than 30 minutes, qualify for Boston by 2017, run your first ultra….
- Examine the motives underneath: We all need sources of outside help and encouragement at times. That’s not weakness, it’s simply a fact. Surrounding yourself with sources of inspiration and an environment conducive to achieving your goals is important. Think about what would help motivate you to achieve your goal.
- Feed the fire: Get a new pair of running shoes or other gear, buy a GPS watch for training, sign up for a yoga or fitness class, read some new running books, download a new running playlist, watch an inspirational running movie or listen to motivating podcasts, sign up for a race you’ve always wanted to do, start a challenge like running 1 mile per day or doing so many burpees per day for a certain period of time, etc. Another thing people have found very helpful is joining the Academy and having access to a very supportive community.
- Make your commitment known: Write down your new commitment and plan. Post it in a place where you’ll see it daily. Even having a place where you check off a workout can be very effective or uploading workouts to an online tracking service. Tell your friends and family about your commitments. When you have people keeping you accountable you’re more likely to achieve your goals.
Also Mentioned in This Episode
Lumoid is a try before you buy company for wearable fitness trackers and running watches. They make it convenient and affordable to test drive fitness trackers and smartwatches before committing to buy them. Go to lumoid.com and use the coupon code MTALumoid
Links to Resources Mentioned
- The North Face Endurance Challenge Series Races – I signed up for the 50 miler in Wisconsin. Use the promo code MARATHONTA15 to save 15%
- The book Natural Born Heroes by Christopher Mcdougall
- Our interview with David Clark -MTA podcast episode #147
- The New Mexico State Park Marathons – I’m running these soon!
running shoe photo credit: Smallest Forest; Flickr Creative Commons