Recently, I haven’t been writing much. The last weeks are difficult for me, and for some time, I couldn’t even get myself to do any serious running. But I am still running and I find it important to keep myself running. I think most runners will encounter a period when it’s difficult to run, due to external or internal reasons.
Therefore, I compiled a list of tips and tricks that have helped me to survive so far.
How to run when you don’t feel like it
- Be prepared.
Make sure you have clean running clothes, and that you know exactly what distance and what sort of run you want to do (or your training plan asks for). This helps me keep running more or less on schedule.
- Ditch expectations.
Even though you or your training plan expects a 7km progressive run, you might end up doing a slow 10k or a fast 5k instead. And that’s OK. It is more important to run than it is to run exactly what’s in the plan. Even a bad run is better than no run at all.
- Entertain yourself.
Run your usual route the opposite direction. Find a new one. Try to take in the surroundings and look for changes. Count all the people walking their dogs. Check out a new playlist, maybe a new music style. If you run by distance, try to run by time, or vice versa. Try running completely without any tracking device whatsoever. Try a type of run you didn’t before, like a fartlek or a hill run.
For me, even the simplest changes can make the difference to actually enjoy my run even when initially I didn’t feel it at all.
- Keep your eyes on the goal.
While some runners are lucky enough to just run without the need for training plans or goals, most of us have some sort of expectations from our running. It might be an upcoming race, weight loss, or experiencing the runner’s high on a sucky day. I find it easier to get my feet out of the door when I think about the big picture.
- Treat running as a hobby.
Let’s face it, very few of us here can consider themselves professional athletes. Of course it’s fun and games to get faster, better, set PRs, etc. However, in the end, whether you finish as the runner #90 or #99 in a race really only matters to you and maybe the few of your close ones.
There will be another chance, another race. Maybe your weight will drop slower than you expected. But don’t worry: you’ll get there, eventually. If you need some slack, give it to yourself. I know that runners spend majority of their time either running or thinking about running (I’m guilty as charged!), but it is still just a hobby of ours. We take it very seriously and that’s OK, but it’s also fine to let the priorities go somewhere else when necessary.
What are your tricks to keep yourself in the game even when you totally don’t feel like it?