This year so far I have lost my running mojo. Super Bowl Sunday suffered a bad sprain on a trail and then on Valentine's Day my car was rear ended. The car accident resulted in seeing a chiropractor for back spasms. Still, I'm healthy enough to run more than I am.
The past few weeks I barely eek 20 plus miles.
So my question is if you ever lost your running mojo for a brief period of time, then what did you do to recover it.
All responses are appreciated. It just seems more mental than physical at the moment.
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” - T.S. Eliot
What's wrong with running 20mpw? If that's how much your mind/body wants to run, then do that. If you decide at some point you want to run more, run more. You might also try switching it up, to see if there is something else you find more enjoyable/motivating. Like a different route, or if you usually run on the road, try trails. Or try some faster interval-type training.
Barking Mad To Run
Find something that will self-motivate you mentally to get out there. It really does help.
For example: When I was in the Air Force I was stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Was reassigned to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. I reported to Texas in August...our HOTTEST month of the year. Weather SO not like Ohio,that was for sure! Even at 4 a.m. in the morning it was in the upper 70s and the temps climbed all day from there. I was SO not motivated to run in tha!
I got lazy for over a month or so. I finally told myself I had to figure out something that would help get me out there. So I took my running shirts down to a local store that does print lettering primarily for uniforms of sports teams. I had them put on the front and back of my shirts: I BEAT CANCER! NEVER GIVE UP! as a self-motivation thing. Because, you see, I have this superstition that as long as I keep running I will not have a recurrence. Totally un-medical, all in my head of course, but I don't care....this really helped me to get back into it. And now when I have those moments of running apathy all I have to do is open my shirt drawer and that helps me remember why I keep on getting out there. It really is a 'mental boost' for me, a good swift "kick in the pants".
I think all we runners lose our mojo on occasion, for whatever reason, such as recent injury/illness; training not going the way you thought it would; training for a big event, all excited about it, then getting it done, and then it's like "What now?" and you sort of have "all the air go out of you"; etc. There are as many reasons as there are runners why we lose our mojo.
I think we all come to the point - sometimes several times if you've been a runner for years - where we ask "Why the heck am I doing this?" And some people will give it up. But if you love running and love the feel of how YOU feel when you are out there running and having a good or even GREAT run, then you will manage to get through this. Dig deep inside of yourself and FIND that self-motivating thing that makes you keep wanting to get out there; and then help it along by setting yourself some challenging but reasonable and attainable goals (do a goal race; do so many miles a week/month, etc; - whatever is meaningful to you) - and then go for it! Set yourself one BIG goal to shoot for and set yourself some 'mini-goals' that you can celebrate reaching along the way to your BIG goal. With every 'victory' you'll feel better about yourself and that too will help you keep getting out there. Good luck!
Oh, and btw, if this helps you get some perspective: I have been running since 1983, 2013 was my 30th anniversary as a runner. I used to run a LOT of miles but as I've gotten older - I'm 60 now - things sure have changed. I now have some really bad spinal arthritis (not the result of running but due to some incidents during my 24-years in the Air Force) and these days I can't run non-stop anymore, I now have to use the run/walk method because nonstop running is too hard on my joints, and I can no longer do distance running - the longest distance my back can handle now is about 10K distance. Anything farther than that, my back usually gives me HELL. You say you barely eeked out 20-plus miles. Well, my friend, I have not done 20 miles a week in I don't know how long. My average weekly mileage is about 15 miles a week.
But you know what? SO what? ALL of us eventually for whatever reason - injury, illness, or simply plain ole just getting older and our body parts just slowing down as part of the aging process - are at some point in their running lives, some sooner, some later - going to have to slow down and face reality that we can't run the same way we used to. So attitude plays a big part here. Stay positive and do what you can with what you have. I'm certainly not the same type of runner I was 20 years ago. But that's okay, that's just LIFE and how it is. I"m still out there, still doing something and I'm happy about that because after all these years running is not just something I do, it is also now part of who I am. Although my running life is different now than it was before, I'm still very happy with the quality of running life I have now. I still have fun with what I CAN do - and I sincerely believe that the combination of this love of running that I have and trying be positive and also keeping my "sense of humor about it all no matter what happens" - the ability to laugh at yourself can be a GREAT help in getting you through things - well, all that makes me enjoy myself every time I get out there, and it also helped me complete 75 races - my highest yearly total ever - in 2013. Never Give Up!
Sorry, I guess this got a little long-winded. The point is, you can do this, you can get through this. Dig down. You are stronger than you think you are. Good luck!
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Theodore Roosevelt
I just ease back into it. 20 is better than nothing. Maybe signing up for a race will help. Years ago I lost a job that my daily route went by. I didn't run much when I was in that funk, but changed my route and moved on.
I just came back to running for different reasons than yours. Having a race on the horizon (even if a shorter distance or in a few months) really helped with my mojo. Hope you find yours soon.
Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner
"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
A few ideas.
1. Change things up. If you haven't been doing much speed work, try a month in which you do a bunch. If you were doing a lot, try a month in which you don't do much. If you normally run flats, go run a bunch of hills. If you normally run roads, find some trails or vice versa.
2. Sign up for a race and make it a goal race.
3. Set aside $20 and make a goal of running "x" miles in the next two weeks. If you succeed, take the money and blow it on something you'll enjoy like pizza or ice cream. If you fail, donate the money to a cause you don't like. (I'm not talking KKK or stuff here. Give it to the Republican Party if you are a Democrat or vice versa or something like that).
Short term goal: 17:59 5K
Mid term goal: 2:54:59 marathon
Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life. (I started running at age 45).
You know what works really, really well for this? Get injured. And then get injured again. Repeatedly.
I assure you that if you do this, you will most likely not have the "lost mojo" problem ever again. (That might be because you're always injured and don't actually have the opportunity to lose it...)
After my last marathon I had a major loss of mojo. My race was disappointing and I didn't have any upcoming race goals. And my hamstring was acting up and it had gotten dark and cold. I gave myself 2 months to slack and then started following a training schedule. That helped some. And now that the weather is getting nicer, I'm actually starting to enjoy it again.
I find that I need structure and a reason for getting out there. Last fall, I was training for my HM, then I immediately went into a mileage challenge for the 2013 game. After that, I had a week or two of downtime before my next HM started. And it sucked. My legs felt heavy, and I barely wanted to run at all. The first week of my plan was a million times better, even though not much had changed physically in that time. It was just the difference of having a purpose for getting out there, and a plan to follow.
Last week sucked big time, because again I was off my plan and just taking recovery. And suddenly I had to convince myself to get out there, and when I did, I was just counting down until I was done.
Although it felt physical, this is all in my head. I can't just go out there and love running. I need a reason to be out there. And then I love running.
PRs: 5K: 25:35 / 10K: 53:03 / 10mi: 1:26:15 / HM: 1:55:02 / FM: 4:50:35
You know what works really, really well for this? Get injured.
This works, unfortunately. Nothing lit a fire inside me like being unable to run for five months.
I like LtH's advice though. If I lost my mojo, I'd probably take to the trails or sign up for a race.
You know what works really, really well for this? Get injured. And then get injured again. Repeatedly.
I was going to say this too. Sometimes you don't fully appreciate something until it is taken away from you. When I had my knee injury it would drive me crazy reading about people saying "meh, just not feeling it". I was thinking "I have the motivation, just let me use your knee if you don't want it".
I like finding inspirational images, videos, blogs, articles and going back through Trail Runner magazine articles. Also www.trailporn.com is a favorite of mine. I've never really lost my running mojo I think, but sometimes I need a little bit of inspiration.
*Do It For Yourself, Do It Because They Said It Was Impossible, Do It Because They Said You Were Incapable*
5k - 24:40 (7:57 min/mile pace)
10k - 54:39 (8:48 min/mile pace)
15k -1:23:31 (8:59 min/mile pace)
13.1 - 1:56:38 (8:54 min/mile pace) New PR as of 10/04/2014 - 1:53:12 (8:39 min/mile pace)
26.2 - (Debut) - 4:48:10 --- Redemption Will be on November 7, 2015
These are all good suggestions...
Running imitates life in some ways and when you become bored with or indifferent towards something in life you take a break from it. With running however, most of us do not take off from it until we are forced to. You are in the unique position to do it on your own.
Take a week completely off, or two. Recharge your batteries and reassess your running goals. Or if you are in a period where you are running for fun that is fine too, the time off will do your mind and body good.
Get to the point where you are actually looking forward to your first run back, not dreading your next one.
I signed up for the 2014 in 2014 mileage game. I ran a HM in November, and even set a PR, but I really didn't care. My attitude was "yeah, I did the race, and set a PR. So what?" I continued to run, but I was afraid that this would translate into slacking even worse than I usually do in winter.
So I signed up for the game, even though I'm such a low mileage runner that my miles don't count for much. Just being part of the team is enough to keep me going out there. I have a couple of HMs in mind for the fall, and I'm looking forward to them. Maybe even a new PR at the one in November.
Return to what you like most about running. It was probably 4-5 years ago after recurring injuries that I began to wonder if my running days were over. I couldn't train enough to race with the injury recurring, and I wasn't really that interested in running if I couldn't race. So I turned back to my first love in running, racing the mile on the track. I could do that with minimum mileage and hopefully avoid another injury. It definitely brought back some of the joy I had in running and racing. Since then I've decided to explore new fields to keep running fresh, hence the dive into ultras which remind me so much of what road racing was like 40 years ago when it was a much smaller, more closely knit community where you knew almost everyone.
2014 Goals: Run first trail ultra, first 100K, and see what I can do in a 24-Hour race