How do you Bust Out of a Running Rut?

As runners, we all have good days and bad days.  Days where you feel like you could run forever, and days when you’re struggling to make it through what should be an easy, short run.  Lately I’ve been having a lot more of the hard days.  I know a huge part of this is due to the weather, and all the indoor treadmill runs I’ve been logging.  And also that a lot of my struggle is a mental battle: choosing between the treadmill and negative temps and wind chills is just depressing.  But I’ve got to find a way to break out of my funk, because I do have a race coming up, and I’ve got a definite time goal in mind!  So here are a few ideas that I have to try and rediscover my love of running:

1) Vary the pace, and do it often.  When I’m running inside, I tend to set my treadmill on to a certain pace, and stay there.  If I’m doing speed work, with prescribed paces, it’s a little different, but I am going to try to change up my speed pretty regularly (every half mile to mile) just to provide a tiny bit of variety even in my easy or recovery runs.  I think I do this naturally when I’m outside, as my energy and interest levels rise and fall, but it’s easy to get stuck when I’m on that treadmill.

2) Work on a different goal.  If you’ve been running long a lot to chase down a distance goal, do a short, speedy workout.  Or if you’ve been running by time (i.e. 45 minute run) try looking at mile markers instead.  Switching up the way you approach a run, even a little bit, can make a big difference, I think.

3) Bring a buddy.  I’m often a solo runner, but when my motivation is lacking, I’m more likely grab a friend for a social run.  I often find that I am more refreshed after these runs, and have more fun too.

4) Ditch the Garmin.  I admit it, I don’t run without my Garmin often enough.  I get an immense satisfaction from the immediate feedback that hitting a mile split provides me.  But it’s good to unplug every now and again, and when I run without my Garmin, and even (gasp!) my headphones, I can often remember what’s awesome about running, and why I love it so much.

Have you ever been in a running funk?  How did you break out of it?

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