You know the Duracell Bunny, right? Well, usually, that's about me. Except, a few weeks back (around holidays season), I ran out of juice. Dead batteries. No more energy. It lasted for days, then weeks. No energy leads to bad runs which leads to loss of motivation. I was stuck in a rut. I fought through it but it's been a struggle to definitely leave it behind me (not sure it IS behind me, even right now). I took some actions which seem like they made the trick. Let's talk about it.
I thought it was important to talk about this subject with you. We too often only see the bright side of running or exercising through social media for example. But, truly, everyone struggles sometimes. It's not always rainbows and unicorns. It's not always easy and great.
Motivation, where do I find it?
Usually, I need nobody to push me. I do that on my own. I run and I exercise because I like it. As simple as that. I'm not doing it because I have to. I do it because I want to. I am the one who decides to train for a specific race. I am the one who decides to go for a challenge. From there, my state of mind is clear: I reckon that's my own responsibility to define how I want it to be done.
One other thing I almost forgot to mention as it's so much a part of me now: my workouts are planed and structure my week. For example: on Tuesday, I run. That's it. No need to think about it. No way to find excuses and postpone the workout forever.
Ok, I'm aware it can't work like that for everyone. Family, work, unforeseen events. Or, simply, everyone doesn't like that much of a structure. I get it. I just wanted to highlight the fact planned workouts mean a routine and it gradually becomes a normal part of your life.
What to do when motivation becomes shaky?
For me, there are two major causes for my motivation to go down:
- physical fatigue
Going out for a run when temperatures are in the 30s/when it's raining/when it's windy/when it's foggy (separately or all at once), no need to lie: it's HARD, and it's NOT fun. And I'm not even speaking about the lack of sunshine which so badly plays on my mental health.
Usually, I only need to "reset" my state of mind. Remind me about why I run. Remind me I am the one who chose to run and the one who decides to give it my best or not. But, also, remind me running is, above everything else, a pleasure. Because, it is. I always feel good after a run.
But, for the past weeks, it wasn't enough. So, I took concrete actions.
What did I concretely do?
#1 - Changing route.
I always say I am a creature of habits. That's totally true. Imagine this loop I do so often, one way, or the other way around, never complaining nor getting bored. Overnight, bam, I can't stand it anymore. And from there, it's getting harder and harder to find joy in the prospect of getting out there, in the cold, to run AGAIN on this damned loop.
So, that's about time to find another route.
#2 - Running with the playboy.
I always run alone. My rhythm, the silence, the road and me.
2 weeks ago, I innocently asked the playboy if he would fancy a hill repeats workout with me. To prove it's so unusual for me to ask him to actually run side by side, he didn't quite get it at first. He thought I was suggesting a workout for him.
A bit of change is never a bad thing. It gave me a mental boost and I loved sharing this workout with him. Bonus point, knowing he was just behind me pushed me to go up the hill faster than if I would have been alone.
#3 - Reuniting with the trails.
End of November-early December, we stopped going for trail runs as often as we did before. You have to choose the place. You have to map your run in advance. You have to be sure the weather will be ok. Many excuses and we chose the easy way: running on the road. But, for a few weeks now, we fell back into a routine. We go running on trails every weekend.
Running on trails is like a second wind. The rhythm is not regular. The ground is changing. I like the scenery. I stop often. I simply run.
#4 - Choosing hilly roads.
Even on the road, I like rolling hills. I think I get tired and bored on a flat road.
Eventually, routine is a good thing, but breaking it once in a while is good too! I think I'm getting back on tracks. I thought sharing my experience may help you too. (Just to be clear, I don't lend my playboy to go running with you. I leave it to you to find yours!)
To finish, I would be glad to hear from you. Did you already experience that kind of bad patch? How did you find your way out? And more generally, what do you do when you have a loss of energy/mental/motivation? Tricks? Ideas?
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