We've all been there. One day your'e happy running and the next your running motivation has totally gone. The excitement, the buzz, the good feeling post run, all gone. So what's happened and how can you get your running motivation back?
Firstly, don't panic. Every runner has been through (or will do) exactly the same thing. It is easy to panic and stress and to feel that your running days are over. Fear not, as your running days are certainly not over.
Rather than looking at your lack of running motivation as a negative, think of it as an opportunity. An opportunity to reassess your training regime and your physical and mental health.
There are a multitude of possible reasons for your lack of running motivation. Some you may not have even realised were an issue.
Here is a list of common ones. See if any resonate with you and then skip to the next section where I'll discuss what to do to get your running mojo back.
Reasons for lack of running motivation:
If your running motivation has dwindled, don't worry, as you can get it back.
Also remember though, that if you decide not to continue running, that is OK too. Many runners give up for a period of years and find later in life, the spark comes back and with a great big bang.
Have you been in a situation where you've been forced to stop running for a week or more because of perhaps illness, family commitments, holiday and so on? Then when you restarted running again, you had a fabulous spring in your step? It shows that having a break can actually do you wonders, both physically and mentally.
Often we have over-trained without realising it and our lack of running motivation is our body's way of saying, "Please give me a break". If you're worried about losing fitness, research shows that taking a break of up to 2 weeks will not have a major effect on your fitness. Even if you take off more than 2 weeks, you will still retain a good portion of your initial fitness and you'll regain your losses quicker than before.
The main thing is not to feel guilty about taking a running break. Just think how much stronger and healthier you'll be when you start back up running.
Running doesn't mean you can't try another sport or perhaps even rekindle your passion for a sport that you used to do. I often notice that the strongest runners usually do another sport such as cycling, swimming or walking.
Runners often become obsessed about running so when they can't or if they lack motivation, they then panic. Having another sport is a great way of dealing with a running blip.
Practicing another sport also trains your body to use different muscles and ligaments that you might not use in running. This can all add to making your body stronger and more injury proof in the long run.
There is no doubt that runners can be obsessive people. They like to check their stats post run, analysing every element. They also like to check the stats of other runners to see how they compare and they can put a lot of pressure on themselves to keep improving. I'm definitely guilty.
If this sounds like you, give yourself a break.
Ditch the GPS watch, stop looking at Garmin or Strava and just enjoy the pleasure of heading out the door, enjoying your surroundings and doing whatever pace takes your fancy that day. Basically, stop putting pressure on yourself and enjoy the moment.
Many of us are limited on where we can run, unless we drive to different locations. This means our running routes become very familiar but they can also become boring. Try running in different locations or on different terrain, such as trail instead of road. If that is not possible, run your routes in the opposite direction or at different times of day.
If you run by yourself, consider finding a running buddy or join a running club. Both of these are a great way of spicing up your runs and adding a bit of variety to how, where and when you run.
There's nothing like a new pair of running shoes to put a spring in your step. With the hefty price of running shoes that might not be an option for all of us. Instead invest in smaller items, like a pair of socks, headband, t-shirt. It might just give you that feel good factor.
Setting an objective is a great way to get motivated. Often runners feel very flat after they've trained for and run a race. Suddenly there is a void which makes them feel unmotivated. Or maybe you just simply feel flat from the repetitive "same routine", "same pace" and "same route", every week.
Setting an objective is really a great way of making your accountable and to give you something to look forward to and with an end result. It doesn't have to be a race but it could be deciding that you'll run with a club once a week or find new running routes or perhaps just to run at a nice easy pace for a while and just enjoy being outdoors.
As I've got older I definitely feel that I need an objective. Sometimes I'll follow a training plan even though I've not got a race planned. It gives me something to focus on. If it ends with a race, great, but if not, I still feel that I achieved something.
Remind yourself of what inspired you to start running in the first place. Write down all the positives, the benefits and the fun things.
You might have started running for weight loss, for fitness, for your mental health or simply for fun. Whatever the reasons, try and think about the buzz and the motivation that got your started.
Sometimes there is nothing more inspiring than reading or hearing about other peoples running stories. Show me a running film or book and I'm glued and I'm there running in my head. Here's a list of some of my favorite running books and running movies.
Not many of us want to run in the rain and cold or excessive heat, yet many of us do just so we can keep our fitness up. This though can backfire as the enjoyment of running gets sucked out of us.
If this sounds familiar, try and find alternatives, such as running indoors or doing a different sport during the extreme weather. Use the time to do strength training, stretching, yoga or group fitness classes. All are great additions to help improve your running.
Most of us are guilty from overindulging at times. I always feel meh after Christmas and New Year after eating and drinking to excess and it's made worse by the cold and wet days. I really have to kick myself out the door. I also know that when I've had lots of late nights then my motivation goes right downhill.
If you feel that sleep and diet are affecting your running motivation, then aim to do something about it. Maybe take some time off running and concentrate on getting some good rest and eating healthier. When you start back running again, hopefully you'll be raring to go.
It's well documented that sport and running in particular can be good for your mental health. If you are going through a particularly challenging time in your life, you may feel a lack of running motivation.
Sometimes you need to just push yourself out the door, and let the fresh air clear the fog in your head. Set yourself small running goals and objectives that you feel are achievable and write down how you felt before and after each run so that you can refer back to how each run made you feel.
Sometimes however, running is not enough and we can get overwhelmed. Lots of things can affect our mental health but the important thing is to recognise when life feels out of control and when you need some help and support whether it is from family, friends or a professional.
I hope that the above has given you some ideas on how to get your running mojo back. Losing running motivation happens to all runners at some point and in the vast majority of times, you can get it back.
Just don't put pressure on yourself and take your time, as after all running is meant to be fun!