I have been running for approximately six years. When I'm in "running mode," I'm out there three to five times a week, every week, for months. Then there always seems to come a point when I really start to struggle with getting out the door....I don't know if it's burnout or what. Sometimes it turns into two or three months that I've hardly run at all before I even realize it's happened. To shake things up I’ve tried running roads, canal, trails, short, long, alone, and in a group. Lately, I’m finding it harder to lace up and head out yet I’m not ready to give into another lengthy period of time that I don't run at all. Is this normal or is there any advice you have or anything I can do to keep running more constant in my life?
- A Fickle Runner
Dear Fickle Runner,
Robin Wright once wrote, "A great life is to be able to ebb and flow." Aside from the cliché that life is filled with ups and downs I chose this quote because it is appropriate to being a runner. You might go weeks where you're running great and then things start to become difficult, boring or just plain miserable. It's not uncommon for the athletes I coach to become bored when we get close to the end of a training block. Running has become a tedious chore and not much fun for them. I notice cues of runner burnout - taking much longer to complete their warm-up or the dreaded eye roll while I explain the day's work out. This feedback tells me it's time to switch things up. I would suggest to you, like I do to my athletes, to try something different - add pool workouts, pilates sessions or consider investing in a bike. You still get the work done, but just not in the same humdrum way. Once you've had a change in routine for a little while, you're likely to feel refreshed and ready to run again.
Fickle (can I call you Fickle?), losing motivation happens to the best of us. It's not a reason to be down on yourself but an opportunity to try something different. Above all else, ebb against idleness but flow with purpose.