We all have those weeks or months when lacing up our running shoes seems impossible, pointless, or just not very much fun.
Running is a sport that requires consistency, patience, and perseverance, and that can get frustrating – even though, deep down, we love it. Sometimes even if you get yourself out of the door, that rush doesn’t kick in, and you spend the whole run tired, hungry, annoyed, or just a little bit bored.
The best thing to do in these times of flatlined motivation is to turn to your fellow runners for support. And that’s why we’ve put together this collection of tips from WJR contributors on how to tap in to that love of running we sometimes need to rediscover.
1. Take on a new challenge.
It seems obvious to try something new when you’re in a rut, but it’s key to find something that actually interests you, not something you feel you should do. A few things to consider:
- Try something as simple as running at a different time of day, tackling some hills, or adding trail running.
- Pick a more challenging training plan or a new distance – like the 15K.
- Sign up for a mud run – or a fun run (hey, running in costume is its own challenge).
2. Give yourself a break.
Sometimes you just need to take it easy – if you’ve been training intensely for a long time or the rest of your life is getting crazy. If that’s you:
- Go for an ‘effortless’ run and leave your watch at home.
- Indulge in a long walk. It will do wonders for your mind and your enjoyment of this time.
- Cut yourself some slack – sometimes it’s OK to love running a little less.
3. Run with someone new.
The change of company will often offer a new perspective on running, and quite likely a boost in enjoyment and motivation.
- If you’re usually a solo wolf, try running with a buddy or joining a running group in your area.
- If you normally run with others, take yourself out for a long, quiet, solitary run instead.
- Take your dog for a run! Our four-legged pals make excellent running buddies and are always ready to go.
4. Do it for others.
Sometimes the best motivation comes from running for something bigger than yourself.
- Sign up for a charity race and fundraise for the cause. You’ll likely feel more motivated to train as you’ll have the extrinsic motivation of having donors contributing to your run (plus the race itself will feel more meaningful.)
- Try an app like Charity Miles, which donates real money to a cause of your choosing for every run you log.
5. Play a game.
- Reframe your run as your quest for the day, and set yourself the task of accomplishing something on your way (like taking a photo of something specific or reaching a particular water fountain).
- Or let an app – like Zombies, Run! – do the gaming-work for you! (Writer’s note: I personally love this game!)
6. Tell your story.
There’s nothing quite like public commitment to motivate you to stick to your goals, and there’s also something very rewarding about sharing your story with the world.
- Harness the power of social media – start a blog, post a selfie to Instagram, or share your running on Facebook. Chances are it will make you more likely to go for those runs, and to find something interesting in every one of them (which will help to make them more enjoyable).
Being unmotivated or a bit bored with running is a natural part of being a runner, and it’s something every one of us struggles with at least once in our lives. Try to remember it’s temporary, and that you will find that spark again. After all, you’ve got a whole community of runners who are happy to support you and give you tips when you need them.
Written by Varia Makagonova.