My training was going really well for the first couple of months of the year but recently I’ve been hitting a brick wall that I’m struggling to get over. I’ve tried quite a few things over the last couple of weeks to help so wanted to share them in case anyone else is struggling or just fancies a change. A few of these will contradict each other and some may or may not work for you but read on and see if there’s something there for you...
Run somewhere new
Everyone has their regular routes they take, we’re creatures of habit so it’s natural, but that repetitive behaviour also means we can quickly get bored. Next time you’re out running take the first footpath you come across and see where it takes you – it’s amazing how many new routes you can find!
Swap the music out
Playlists are great but one of the things that helped me was swapping it out for a podcast or audiobook. I used to run along listening to music, but found if I wasn’t at the same place when a particular song came on I thought I was behind or if I was struggling and didn’t feel the song the internal battle would inevitably start. When I switched it up and introduced a podcast I got lost in that and the pain in my legs disappeared!
Forget the goal
This may go against the grain but sometimes, when you want to change your running…just run! The ones where you just decide to GO and not worry about how far or how fast turn into some of the most enjoyable runs I’ve had.
Lose the tech
I love running with music and the mile/km notifications to check I’m on time. However, taking it old school and setting off with just you and your surroundings can make a real difference. Nothing telling you that you are moving faster than you usually do or telling you that you’re too slow. Let the run be your ultimate thinking time. Just you, the road and the run.
Replace expectations with curiosity
So what if someone that started running 2 months ago is already participating in a race? Or if your friend can run a decent 10k without any training? People are different. Get over your ego and let go of all the expectations of what your runs should be like. Sometimes running without the rules can help. Stop when you feel like it and walk for a bit. Run faster for 3 minutes. Sprint up a hill. Try completely random running workouts and see what makes you get back into the rhythm.
Take it off road
If anything good came out of the last couple of years in Lockdown, it’s that people have explored so much more of their surroundings. Trail or any off road running is a great way to mix up your training plan. Whether it’s one of the many disused railways, through a forest, up a mountain or just somewhere that lacks a path; it’s a completely different experience. It’s more technical and keeps you thinking. Plus you might just get some scenery you wouldn’t find on your normal road route!
Share your misery
If you think runners always love running, you are wrong. Join a running community and you will meet a bunch of people that like to suffer together and then talk about it over a beer or homemade treats. The harder it gets, the more they enjoy it later. Don’t feel like you have to do it alone.
Treat yo’ self
Without sounding shallow, sometimes there’s nothing like some new gear to get you going! A new training outfit will always make me want to run faster and longer. So if I have time (and money), I will buy either a new pair of shorts or a Tee as a reward for all of the hard work that I’ve done up until then. Plus, if it’s something I know I’ll want to race in later, I can test it out!
Find a happy ending
If you could have anything waiting for you at the end of a hard run, what would it be? For some people it’s ending a run with a pint of the good stuff for others it’s the power of ‘Runch’, meeting someone for a run then going for a bite to eat! Whatever it is for you, swapping the ending of your run for something nice instead of a shower and straight to work can help you rediscover the love.