I'll admit I go through phases - I will go for periods of time where I never want to stop running and it is the thing that makes me happiest in the world, but there are also times when I don't want to run and I can't talk myself into lacing up. I've been in one of those slumps lately but I think I am finally overcoming it!
So today I've got ten things that help me get back to running happy. (If you have awesome advice please share!)
1) Take a day off from life.
Remember last week when I had a mommy-doggy day with Hank? That was a big step in the right direction for me. It was a no pressure day just hanging out with the best four-legged friend I could ask for. It helped me get my mind back in a better place.
2) Run somewhere new or somewhere special.
I went for a run in Tampa and had a great time seeing new things and running through different challenges. Then this weekend I went back and ran part of one of the trails I used to run all the time but will never stop inspiring me. (No pictures because it started pouring buckets!) Both places made running feel more like a special adventure and less like a chore
3) New clothes/shoes
I like pretty things, it's no secret. I also think shopping is fun. And I just feel more motivated to go for a run when I have something new to wear. It's scientifically proven...or something like that.
4) Evaluate your goals and expectations
Many times when I am in a slump it is because I have set my expectations way too high and I get overwhelmed with trying to accomplish things. Despite having never run a marathon I somehow mentally went from wanting to just finish my first to wanting to finish in less than four hours. As great as it is to have goals, I was trying to progress way faster than what I could reasonably expect.
5) Set new goals if you need to
Expecting to suddenly be able to run several 8 minute miles in a row was doing nothing good for my confidence or motivation so I knew something needed to change. I've started setting smaller and more reasonable goals for my weekly runs that I can easily monitor and change as needed. I set goals for a gradual progression rather than a super-human leap in skill level.
6) Make a new playlist
Although I am slowly learning to appreciate running without headphones, I am very much a music lover and a new playlist can make a world of difference. I get sick of songs and my tastes change (sometimes rapidly) so it's great to give the playlist an overhaul. I use Spoitfy and love it to bits because it is so easy to change things up in your playlist (for free because you aren't buying all the dang songs!) or use a premade playlist. I tried out the Bollywood Workout one the other day and it was so much fun and totally different from my usual.
7) Sign up for some fun races
As soon as my work schedule for the fall is set I am signing up for a half marathon series and a Halloween 5k in Transylvania County. It's ok to be jealous...but the better option is to come run with me :)
I love running in races so this is an awesome way to get my motivation back.
8) Bring back the "star chart"
You know when you were little and you had a list of chores to do and when you did them you got a star and after so many stars you got a prize? Ok my family didn't do that and we just had to do our chores or get in trouble...but I'm borrowing the concept here. I am not above bribing myself to complete my runs. For example, this week if I do all my morning runs I am taking myself to a yoga/spin/barre class. I don't go often due to distance and cost so it's a fun reward and healthier than ice cream (which, ok, I eat all the time not as a reward).
9) Find some friendly competition
I love using the Nike + running app because it shows you how you are doing compared to your friends. I am competitive in a majorly huge way and will do anything to beat my friends at this game (or any game really) so it is awesome motivation to get at least a few miles in.
10) Don't run.
In the past when I have been in a slump, I let myself stop going for runs but kept going for walks. The secret was to always dress like I was going for a run though. I did this day after day until I finally just felt like running. If I have tried everything and still can't find the willpower to want to run I will resort to this. While it might feel like giving up, it has always brought back my love of running over time.