Morning comes. You hit snooze three times before finally slinking out of bed to pull on your running shoes and hit the trail. You’d rather cut your exercise time down because of some tiny excuse that, at the time, seems like a totally legit reason to not go. You’re discouraged because you’re no longer loosing weight like you were months ago. You get tired, not physically…it’s more like you get sick of your workout routine and therefore just don’t want to do it.
Ever had this happen before? It happens to everyone – seriously. Losing your drive to exercise isn’t uncommon and the great news is that it’s not permanent! Only if you don’t allow it to be permanent, though. YOU have a whole lot of control over choosing to rekindle your love for pounding the pavement or leave it where it is and let things fizzle out.
One of the biggest reasons I think we can loose our fitness mojo is because we forget that exercise, though it’s physically demanding, can be and should be fun. That’s right – FUN. When we were younger, running and biking were our main modes of transportation. The games we played centered around physical activity (Red Rover, street hockey, water gun fights, kick the can, steal the flag, all forms of tag) and we’d all run till our sides were sore and then keep running because the happiness we felt from the fun we were having outweighed the side stitches. I’ll get back to this – promise.
So what do you do when your exercise drive is gone? And how do you get over it? Well, it’s different for everyone.
Just like how you needed to change things or shift them around when you first started your path to personal fitness, you’ve got to do some shifting again. Some things may feel weird at first, especially if you’re not use to them yet. You may not initially like these changes. Trust me, it’ll be TOTALLY worth it in the end.
Here are a few tips for getting your mojo back! Try one of them; try a few of them. It’ll take time and patience to find something that works well and really lights a fire under you. Basically, you’ve got to find a way to put the ‘fun’ back into your run 🙂
- Change where you run – if you’re always running the same trails or the same streets, it’s time to find a new path! Find a new river trail or lake path to run along. Take a new turn, explore the area around you. One great way to do this is to run while on vacation! You’ll see new places, smells, people and it’ll help take your mind off of your lack of mojo.
- Join a running group/club – being accountable to someone or something helps get you out the door. It’ll also help you meet new people, which can refuel your motivation to get yourself pumped and excited to get up and move!
- Give yourself a destination – I love this one though it can be a little tricky. Run to work. Run to a friend’s house. Run to a new park. Plan a place where you’ll go to and get there-don’t worry about the time it takes, just enjoy the journey! The tricky part is that with things like this, if you don’t want to run back, you need to either leave a car somewhere so you can drive home or have someone come and pick you up.
- Change when you go – if you’re always running in the mornings, try an afternoon run or a mid-day run. Some of my best runs have been between 11pm and 1am (granted, I don’t go by myself on those). Believe it or not, just changing the heat, lighting and amount of city life can help you keep going.
- Mix it up – don’t underestimate the power of variety! To break up your long runs, add in a day of speed, sprints or “hills of insanity” (find a good, long incline, whether it’s in the city or out in the country, sprint/run up the hill to the top, do a 1 min plank, jog back down–do 3xs).
- Run without a watch – if you know you’ve got a good chunk of time with no appointments to be to, don’t take your watch. Just run. Don’t be afraid to stop, stretch and look around you. Don’t worry about how fast you’re running or how many miles you’ve gone – just run.
- Quit your old playlist – running tunes slowing you down? Scrap the playlist you’ve got and start a fresh one! Ask friends for suggestions of their favorites for running. Pick songs that make you happy AND motivate you. If you need to, rock out on the trail mid-run. It helps.
- Healthy is happy – check out your food intake. Has anything changed? Maybe you’re a little more lenient with the sugar? Decide if you need to make some adjustments and then STICK TO THEM! It’s hard – totally doable though.
- Hit the trails – if you’re a city runner, time to head to the mountains. Fresh air, unsteady terrain, killer climbs and amazing views help to clear the demons from your head and keep you going.
- Race, race, race – sign up for races. Giving yourself a goal will help pump the motivation back into your muscles! If you want to go further, pick a marathon or half marathon to run in 6 months and add in 5k/10k races into your training.
- Too tired to run? – instead of not running, break up your run with walking breaks. That being said, I’m more of a fan of speed walking breaks. Run when you feel you can, if you need a break, take one! Just don’t STOP-keep moving! Something to keep your heart rate up, to keep your legs moving and to keep moving your forward!
- Pool running – might sound a little crazy, but it’s amazing. AND it’ll help you get in your “running” workout without overheating on the pavement.
- Have a daily goal – Scott Jurek says “Maybe it is a technique goal, maybe a pace goal, maybe a goal of running faster at the end…” Give yourself something specific to work on for each workout.
- New suede shoes – well, running shoes aren’t suede, but getting a new pair along with new shorts or tops will help you want to use them. If you feel you look good in your workout getup, you’ll want to wear them and show them off! Win-win.
- Reward yourself – for small things, like running 0.06 seconds faster than your last run or adding more miles to up your distance. Give yourself something to look forward to-your favorite iced drink, a new running top, chocolate milk (hey, it works). Anything. Little rewards for small accomplishments, big awards for big accomplishments. A favorite of mine is to schedule a massage after I finish a race and that’s my reward for my training and performance 🙂
Something important to keep in mind when getting your running mojo back is to listen to your body. Maybe you’ve just plateaued. On the other hand, maybe your body has been overworked and needs a break. One week, one month – listen to your body! Cross train. Stretch. Nourish your muscles with proper fuel and hydration.
It’ll take work. It’ll take time. It’ll take patience. It’ll take experimenting and figuring out what works for you.
Good news is – it’s ALWAYS worth it.