...Or 'Where's my mojo gone?'
After running both London and Berlin Marathons last year, I'm no stranger to losing my running mojo. That feeling of being on a constant merry go round of running, working, sleeping, running, running, running; endlessly getting up at what feels like the middle of the night or running at lunch in a bid to get your god damn run in; and the boredom of plodding out alone, on the same old tired routes and wondering where the hell you can run to to get those 18, 19, 20 milers in. We've all been there.
With the London Marathon in 8 weeks, spring time marathon training is firmly under way and your big day is almost here. But with the normal loss of motivation littering my twitter feed, I thought I would share some tactics I found useful in getting myself out of my running slump and getting excited about running again.
1. New kit, new kit, NEW KIT
It's no secret that I love new kit. Whenever I'm training and start to feel the lack of motivation creeping up on me I visit the Nike, Adidas, or Sweaty Betty website - let's be honest, usually all three - and get spending. There is nothing better to make me look forward to a run than new snazzy kit to try out. So I suggest you head on over to your preferred running brand's website and get purchasing.
Those new snazzy tights you've been eyeing up? Get them!
The swanky new jacket you don't need but really want because it's pretty? Get it!
Hell even a pair of new running socks have been known to get me giddy about a run the following day. And don't worry about the expense, you totally deserve it after all your hard work and seeing as your life is now just constant running, think of all the money you're saving by having next to no social life.
2) Read read read
You may feel like the last thing you want to do is immerse yourself even further in the world of running right now, but do. Become a running geek and throw yourself at it's mercy. Books or articles which share other's inspirational running stories can be so helpful and give you a huge boost to get back out there and remember why you're running in the first place.
My favourites are Chrissie Wellington's 'A Life Without Limits' and Alexandra Heminsley's 'Running Like a Girl' which are both inspirational and funny. Hemmo's section on looking good while you're getting your race on is brilliant - hello race day nails!
If books aren't your thing try out some podcasts. I love Marathon Talk, which again is hilarious and informative and really lets you get your running geek on.
Reading, or listening, to these make me realise I'm not the only one doing all this training malarkey and stoke the fire in me to find my missing enthusiasm.
3) Run with People
I cannot stress this enough, running with others is WAY more fun that running on your own. For starters, I find a good old chat while running makes the miles fall away and you will also discover new routes to run. Making a running date also makes you more accountable to get your run in and if you're strapped for time do what I do and coerce your fellow workers into a lunch run. For free running you can't beat parkrun, which is easy to incorporate into your long runs at the weekend, giving them a bit more of an interest; or join your nearest Sweatshop Running Club.
If you live in Manchester check out this Time Out guide to free running groups.
4) Reward yourself
Get yourself a massage; treat yourself to a pedicure to help those tired manky feet (boys, I'm looking at you too); go out for a swanky dinner and spend a night not thinking about running; buy yourself that new top; go for a walk; visit a mate you've not seen in a while; basically do whatever the hell you like to do when you're not running. Go and do it, and don't think about your training. A little time off really helps, as does eating cake I find.
5) Release the pressure
Now this one is way easier said than done, but trying to let go of the pressure you put yourself under while training, really really helps. I'm not saying don't aim for those amazing goals, or stop trying all together, no way! I find that sometimes thinking 'what is the worst that will happen if I don't achieve this and what will be the repercussions' can help and make me focus on the amazing thing that you are doing. Remember, you are training for AN ACTUAL REAL LIFE MARATHON. Don't forget how amazing this is, and in turn how amazing you are for actually doing it.
Hopefully these things will help you find your missing mojo. If you've got any other tactics, share them in the comments below!