In the first few months of 2021, I felt good about my running. I ran the Firelane Frenzy 50k with my friends, double North Nasty to celebrate Summer’s birthday, and was seeing progress in my weekly mileage. I kept up the momentum by finishing the tough Tillamook Burn 50k. After that, my job became more demanding. So working long hours put a lot of stress on my body and my training. Whatever run I could fit in felt slow and uneasy. This was followed up by strep throat and some minor injuries.
I needed something to get me out of this rut, so I signed up for the Black Canyon 100k. This will be my longest run ever. My coach Danielle and I started a training plan to start over again to be in peak shape by the race in February. However, I’m still finding it hard to get the necessary runs, and I still feel like I’m getting slower. So, needing some motivation, I reached out to friends to find out what they do to get that run or workout done when the mind tells them to stay on the couch.
Here is what they said:
I read once that generally when we make plans with friends, we don’t back out, so why do we back out ourselves? With that in mind, I schedule time with myself to exercise. I pick a time, put it on the calendar, and get my clothes ready the night before. I also block out time on my work calendar, so I can’t use a last-minute meeting to back out. Jenn Love has great advice as well. She says to get dressed and go at least 10 minutes, even if you don’t want to. If you still don’t want to, after 10min turn around and go home. She says she finishes her runs about 90% of the time with this philosophy.
Sign up for a big race that scares you. Seriously though, I try to take it day by day, make a plan even if I’m not training. Sometimes I tell myself to go out there, and if I hate it, I can end early. I usually end up having a better day than I think I will, but also, if it’s really sucking, give yourself permission to move on and not feel bad. That way, next time, you might not dread it. And yeah, making running dates is the best.
We all get there from time to time, where running slumps happen. So I give myself permission to walk or hike instead of running on days I’m not feeling it. For me- having a goal out there to look forward to and plan for is essential. Sometimes, you need a break. That can be good too.
But I think being around, and with friends out there is HUGE! Feeling loved, supported, and understood is essential in all parts of life. So looking forward to seeing everyone soon; it’s been a while since we’ve all had such different goals this summer.
I set up my weekends to include a big activity, usually an adventure with friends if possible. Unless it is serious or needed, I do not let myself cancel plans. If I’m feeling tired and want to get out of a weekday run, I’ll do strength training instead… Because it’s also a way to ensure I do my PT. Keep my training schedule flexible so that I can be available for activities as they arise = fun and I don’t feel trapped by my training. I also do not put in that many miles… But prioritize challenging courses. Also, try to go to many different places so that a run is also explorative.
It depends on how much I’m struggling with motivation/the reasons, but here are some things that help.
– have a podcast/book/music I only listen to when I’m running to motivate me to do it more (in the pandemic since things have been closed, I’ve been listening to dance music on runs since I don’t get to go dancing anymore)
– use running as a way to procrastinate tasks I don’t want to do, like cleaning
– take me out for an ice cream cone if I do a run. I really didn’t want to
– try and run in the morning when my willpower is at its highest. Leave out my shoes/run clothes/snack the night before, so I don’t need to make any decisions. Or set a time to run and make myself just put on my clothes and walk for 15 minutes if I’m not feeling it. Usually, I’ll do my run because I hate doing laundry, so wasting a set of clothes is a good motivator
I think it’s also been beneficial for me to accept and go with the different seasons/ebbs and flows of motivation. So In fall and spring, running motivation is really easy, and I will do a lot more miles, but in summer and winter, I run less, and that’s okay. It helps me mentally to have an “off-season” and do what feels fun rather than try and push year-round.
Having been a team sports member, I use accountability to motivate. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I do group runs at 6;30 am. The joy of running with friends overcomes the excuses. Props to Lili, Daisy, Deepa, and my NP family for getting me up and out.
When I don’t have a group run planned, I use treat motivation. If I run, I’ll have a latte or glass of wine after as a reward. Frankly, I’m often running for coffee at the end.
-Accountability partners/friends are a good one. If I know someone expects me to show up somewhere, that motivates me to get my arse in gear.
-Watching videos of Corgis running around and playing.
On top of what’s already been said: Usually, registering for a race lights the fire under my backside as nothing else can. When all the races were canceled due to the pandemic, we made up our own “race.”
These are all great suggestions! I will add that I will make an effort not to be hard on myself when I haven’t run “enough” miles in a week and remind myself that enough is completely arbitrary. That helps take off some of the internal pressure.
Totally agree! Taking breaks from running without any guilt and mixing it up with other forms of fitness has been key to my long-term relationship with running! Of course, short-term, a new pair of leggings or shoes helps too.
Having friends keep me on task is definitely beneficial to my running and general fitness. So what do you do to dig deep and get yourself to the trails, the gym, the treadmill, or just outside?