Happy Guest Bloggers’ Week! And today, writing from Copenhagen, Denmark, is Dan Chabert. Dan is an entrepreneur, husband and ultramarathon distance runner. He spends most of his time on runnerclick.com and he has been featured on running blogs all over the world. Today, we’re thrilled to have him on our site!
3 Ways to Get Out of Your Rut and Love Running Again
So you used to love running. Like, running was your boyfriend. You had a legitimate love affair, you found a new bounce in your step, and you were walking on air. But time passed, and the puppy love faded. There was a time when you could scale mountain-like hills and rack up miles like nobody’s business. You were in love with the runner’s high and sincerely felt like you could go on forever. Ahh, those were the days, weren’t they?
Alright, stop. Don’t throw out your running shoes just yet.
Running can be totally addictive, but as is the case with anything, it can also get boring and tedious. Maybe you’ve taken some time off and just can’t get going again, work’s killed your free time, or you hit a wall and don’t see any improvement. Whatever the reason, you’re in a rut. It happens to the best of us. Lucky for you, this isn’t the end of the road. Here are 3 surefire ways to get out of your rut and love running again.
1. Add some spice to your running life.
When you’ve been in a relationship for too long, even if it’s a relationship with running, it’s all too easy to get into a familiar routine. Running in the morning is a great way to upstart your day, and having a routine keeps you responsible for your health and fitness. But think about it this way. When all you do is watch Netflix every night with your sweetie, it gets old. You need to go on dates, dress up and get creative. The same goes for running. Here’s how:
Go on dates with your running shoes. Take a break from the gym, track or neighborhood you typically hit. Look up scenic trails, gardens or greenways in your area. Run downtown. Or even run in someone else’s neighborhood. A change of scenery can really energize you. Instead of pushing yourself to go, go, go, take breaks to breathe in the wild air, walk slowly and mindfully, or just sit on a park bench.
Wear your finest. One of the best ways to deal with feeling low is to get out of bed, pick out one of your favorite outfits, and put on some makeup and jewelry. Maybe it’s a bit shallow, but often when you look good you feel good (they say forcing yourself to smile actually makes you feel happier!). What’s even better? Go shopping. Buy yourself some running tanks with inspirational and fun messages like “I Woke Up Like This” or the classic “Just Do It.” Go for ombre shades, energizing patterns, well-fitted shirts, whatever makes you feel good. Have you seen those mesh leggings? So hot.
Get creative. Do interval training. Try out a new sport. Take some classes or invest in a personal trainer. In short, add a little spice to your running life.
2. Reward yourself.
Sometimes running in itself is a reward. But when it’s not, substituting something else helps you get to the finish line. Here are a few ideas we personally love:
Run to your reward. Literally plan a route so that your reward is at the end of it. This could be an ice cream shop, a beautiful view of the sunrise, a friend’s house, anything!
Set goals with specific rewards. If you’re struggling to get to where you want to be when it comes to fitness, distance or speed, set goals you can reach and then reward yourself when you hit them. The reward could be as simple as a healthy snack, an activity you love like going to the movies or a nice dinner out. Whatever makes you happy!
Alternate hard days with easy days. This is a way of rewarding yourself without losing sight of your main goal: falling in love with running again. Alternating hard days with easy days is also good for you: your body needs breaks for your muscles to grow and to avoid injuries from over-exercising.
3. Get thoughtful.
Stop trying so hard. Let yourself take a break for once. And take some time to think.
Last but not least, reflect. When we’re feeling low, one of the best ways to deal with it is to ask why. It’s also helpful to ask yourself, “What did I love about running before, and why don’t I love it anymore?” There are no go-to tips on how to answer these questions, but asking them in the first place is a good start.
If you’re looking for inspiration, check out some running memoirs. The Oatmeal, a funny cartoonist, has a hilarious and heartfelt comic on why he runs long distances. Literary writer Haruki Murakami wrote a beautiful memoir called What I Talk About When I Talk About Running while training for the New York City Marathon. Another fantastic book to remind you of why you should run and love to run is Martin Dugard’s To Be a Runner: How Racing Up Mountains, Running with the Bulls, or Just Taking On a 5-K Makes You a Better Person (and the World a Better Place).
We hope these three steps will help you on your journey in falling back in love with running. Cheers to reigniting the flame and running off into the sunset. —Dan Chabert