“Last night I had a fantastic run.”
I used to be able to say that three or four times a week. I used to be positively effusive the next day, still riding some kind of crazy high, loving how I felt. Sometime over the past 6 months, that feeling has gone away. Somehow, over the course of 2013, I’ve lost my running mojo. It’s happened occasionally before, a lack of “mind over mattress” – it is particularly prominent when the rain settles in here on my little patch of the We(s)t Coast – but it normally goes away quickly. This time, however, it hadn’t. This time it settled in like a deep maritime fog, making every run that I ventured out on a struggle, a slog and a burden. I wanted it to stop but just didn’t know how. I was in a deep runner’s funk, and wasn’t sure how to escape it.
Your attitude determines your altitude
That changed on my last run. My last run wasn’t long (5.5km) or fast (33 minutes), but it was beautiful. While I wasn’t fast, I felt fast, while it wasn’t long, it felt perfect, and while I know I didn’t have the perfect cadence, I felt free again. I was once again able to say that I had a fantastic run. It felt so good that I dedicated that run to an old, cherished friend who has passed on.
It seems to me that something had been missing. Running over the last few months has seemed more like duty than it has pleasure. I’ve been way off on my goals to reach 1000km by the end of the year, sitting at 400 or so by the end of this month. (I’m going to reform that to realistically be 750km by the end of the year. Next year will be my magic 1,000.) I had lost the drive that so often accompanied me changing into running gear and lacing up my shoes. I was, as I like to say, in my own head and breaking my own dishes. Running sucked for months, and for months I faced a run the way a 7 year old faces their mortal meal-time foe, broccoli.
But all of that doesn’t matter. Because that 350km that remains had to start somewhere. It started on a pretty magical run. I started because I remembered that running was a gift and a joy, and not a bore and a chore. It started because of a shift in my attitude. This wasn’t something that hit me out of the blue, either. It’s something I decided, something that I planned a bit – something that I willed to come to be. I just wasn’t going to put up with my own garbage anymore, and was going to go out and enjoy running again. I was going to look around. I was going to enjoy the scenery. Truly, I changed my attitude, I shifted just that little bit and wham, things started to go my way.
What’s really interesting (to me) is that this wasn’t the only run that I had recently that was good. Just ten days before, on the same short route, at about the same plodding pace, I ran what I will always remember as being a pretty wonderful run. It reminded me what it’s like to run in a slight rain, reminded me to remind myself that I won’t melt, that it helps to keep me cool, and really considering I’m going to be covered in sweat in pretty short order there is no reason not to run in the rain, light or heavy. Somehow, though, I had lost that thought until the run above. Somehow running quickly became a bore and a chore again, but I’ve got it back on track now. (Personally, I blame the treadmills that I used on vacation. I hate treadmills. I really do.)
So now the big question….
How the heck do you keep the mojo alive? How do you keep getting out on a run and enjoy it? How do you stay motivated? Well, here’s what I’m figuring:
- I’ve been tending to run later and later in the evening. I need to set a goal to get out by about 8:30 if it’s a night run, and in the morning after breakfast if it’s a day run.
- Focus, really focus, on the positive. Instead of dreading the upcoming hill, just deal with it – no need to attack it, no need to beat your last time out, just focus on moving forward.
- Worry less about pace and more about distance and completion.
- Listen to outside running advice. I’ve recently started to evaluate some new podcasts on running, and will post about them soon enough with some reviews. Some of them are really inspiring, and give great tips for getting back out into the wilds of the running world.
- Be positive and remind yourself every day how much you love running. I want to feel jealous again when I see someone out on a run, and I’m not out on one.
- The biggest reason I keep doing it? It gives me what I want out of my body and my life. It keeps me sane and lets me dump my stress. It makes me feel like I can take anything on. It makes me feel great, and helps me keep in shape.
The main thing is the positivity. Positivity in my preparation. Positivity in my execution. Positivity in planning the route I will take. Positivity in my pace and distance. Positivity in how I feel after a run. I have it back now, and while I have to hope that it’s not fleeting, I think I’ve found my runner’s mojo again, and that’s going to help me keep my promises to myself.