What is a running slump?
Feeling motivated is easy. You have a strong desire to get out and get moving. But motivation is not a constant. It moves in waves, and it’s natural to have times when you feel less enthusiastic about running.
A sense of frustration is common when you’re having a motivational downer that is the running slump and it helps to have some strategies to re-light the fire inside and keep your training on track
6 steps to beat a running slump
1. Adjust your expectations
It’s time to acknowledge that you can’t be up all the time, either physically or mentally.
Allow yourself the odd training run with shorter distances and a lighter intensity. Don’t compare yourself to others, or expect perfection.
Acknowledge that there have been running slumps in the past that you have overcome, and that this is just a temporary motivational setback. You will climb out of this, and a fresh approach mentally is a good starting point.
2. Revisit your goals
What really drives you to run? Is it to lose weight, stay fit, compete in events, better yourself, or simply because you enjoy it?
Maybe your goals have changed since you’ve started. It’s important to revisit your goals every now and then to make sure they are achievable. Set yourself the type of goal that provides motivation and direction when mapping out a training program.
Giving yourself mini-rewards when reaching certain milestones can also be a motivating force.
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3. Change your routine
Don’t subject yourself to exactly the same training routine all the time.
Cross training [KF1]is a technique that involves regular changes to the way you exercise, helping to keep you mentally fresh and prevent overuse injuries.
There are many training variables that you can manipulate, such as the type of activity, the location, the time of the day, the person you run with, the duration, the training surface, the gradient and the intensity.
4. Take a break
Many of us schedule exercise into our busy lives, but do you also schedule time for rest and recovery?
Running is an intense activity that requires rest afterwards, or at least periods with a reduced training load to prevent overtraining and fatigue.
As a regular practice, consider massage, icing, rest days and stretch sessions. In addition, from a total wellbeing perspective, take your holidays every few months to refresh and re-charge.
5. Do an energy audit
It’s hard to get enthused about anything when you’re running on empty. There are a variety of lifestyle issues that can make you feel tired, fatigued, and lacking in energy or motivation.
Take a closer look at your pre and post run nutrition, diet in general, sleep patterns, recovery, hydration levels, and iron intake, and look for ways to improve your overall wellbeing to boost your energy levels.
6. Gear up
An investment in fitness fashion, accessories and wearable technology can really ramp up your enthusiasm for running.
Having comfortable clothing that looks good can boost your confidence, while items such as shoes and compression garments may even boost performance.
Alternatively, wearable technology and smart phone apps can motivate you in a different way, giving you measurable targets which you can try to beat in the future.