Master Your Mojo ... Ideas for 'Just Get Out There and Run' Motivation
It's that time of year when only the truly dedicated (and maybe daft) amongst us are happy to jump out of bed or a cosy warm house and go for a run in the cold, dark miserable winter that's outside.
Yikes! I'm even putting myself off running!
It's ok. You're not the only one who struggles to get their feet out the door this time of year. Christmas is around the corner and New Year isn't far off, it's so tempting to hibernate in peace.
But if you've got a Spring marathon to train for and you've been doing so well this year, it's a shame to let all that hard work, dedication and summer motivation go to waste. Here are some of my top ideas for getting your running mojo back.
Just Chill Out
No, I'm not suggesting you lock the door and open a bottle of red (well not until you've been out running). But if you've spent all year following a training plan and focused on races, your positivity and "go go go ... you got this" positivity might be worn out. It's good to take a break, relax and chill out in your running once in a while.
Leave your watch at home, lace up your trainers, step out the door and run. Forget about time and pace and focus on the process of running. Feel how your body moves, focus on your breathing and breathing deep and easy and take in sights and sounds along your route. Connect with yourself and with your environment and you'll return home rejuvenated.
Run a Different Route
Us runners tend to be creatures of habit, always turning left (or right) and following the same path from our front door. Why not reengage with your love of running by finding other routes and trails to follow. Last year I did a 30 day 5k running streak which took me to loads of new parks in the country and city trails and paths, it was a real eye opener and challenged my running too. If you constantly run the same paths you always know what's coming, with a new route you've no idea when there's a steep hill ahead! If you always run on the road why not try running a trail.
Mix it up a bit
If you're a weekend long slow runner, why not try something different when you head out. Try a few speedier threshold runs to challenge your heart, legs and lungs, you'll feel amazing after. Or how about some 60 second sprint intervals (with walk or jog breaks) to inject some pace into your training. Or how about some hills, hill running builds strength and stamina and you'll feel great once you're at the top!
Find a Friend
If you just know you'r'e going to talk yourself out of heading out arrange to go running with a friend, to keep you accountable. Or tell your virtual Facebook running friends you're heading out, and promise an update when you're back. I find Facebook friends are great at kicking me out the door!
Now the weather has turned and it seems to be dark all the time, why not join your local running club. Mark club nights in your diary, so there's no excuse. Team up with other runners for more sociable running.
Enter a Race
I'm not thinking entering a spring race here, rather something to keep you focused for the rest of the year. Find out if there's a santa run or New Years Day run happening locally. Or how Parkrun to challenge your 5k time. At this time of year I like to be a Parkrun tourist to meet up with some of my virtual running friends, and we always have cake after!
Set a Goal for the New Year
If you're a "I just run I don't race" type of runner and motivation is flagging it might be time to enter a spring race to help you focus your running. Having a race goal really helps to focus the mind. Once you've got a goal and entered a race find a training plan to follow. Good plans will mix up training to keep running interesting, to challenge you and build your running speed and endurance and will keep you focused when morale and motivation is low.
Tis the time of indulgence! So this won't be too hard. You're probably out shopping for gifts for others, but why don't you treat yourself to a new piece of running kit (or ask santa ... he can be very generous, and I've heard he loves to give a Garmin!). Funky new leggings are always a winner, or how about a new hat or gloves for those cold winter mornings you'll be running in.
Take a Break
But there are times when no new plan, goals, kit or friends can get you out of the door. You're tired and listless, miserable and burnt out, and feel like you're coming down with a cold or deadly man-flu.
If you've been pushing it all year, give yourself a break. Give yourself time to rest and recharge, your body and mind will thank you for it. Don't feel guilty, it's your body telling you it must rest. Give yourself proper, guilt free rest and you'll recover to become a more resilient runner.
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