Every runner reaches a point where they’re stuck in a slump, a rut or a funk. Whatever you call it, it’s a time when performance disappoints, progress levels off or motivation wanes. These temporary periods are a natural occurrence in a runner’s life, but the key to keeping them temporary is to make some changes in what you’re doing.
Here are 5 ways to help you bust out of a running funk:
Give Yourself Time
Very often, pushing yourself too hard without giving yourself adequate recovery time is what gets you in a running funk in the first place. So rather than pushing yourself more when you see things slipping, give yourself a few days of rest to recover and recharge. Then you can get back to training or racing with a fresher focus. When you overtrain, you risk burnout in addition to injury.
Vary Your Training Routine
Runners tend to do the same thing workout after workout. They run at the same time, follow the same path and get into the same routine. If you find yourself in a running funk, maybe all you need is a change of pace. Switch up your route, change the scenery, run with others if you usually run alone (or run solo if you tend to train with a group) or change the time of day you run. Adapt your usual training schedule to get in some hill work, speed work, or better yet, skip the running and do some cross-training.
Change Your Race
If you keep training for the same type of race over and over and see your performance slipping, it’s time to change things up. Different race distances and race types have different performance demands. For example, you may focus on endurance for a marathon but speed for a 10K. Changing things up can get you out of your funk and can help you see an improvement in your results.
Address Your Obsession
Runners tend to be super results-oriented people, but that can also make them become overly obsessed with one particular goal. If you become fixated on hitting a personal record in your next race or have an all-or-nothing attitude about qualifying for a big race, you risk being letdown when you don’t reach your goal. Even if you do succeed, once that goal has been accomplished you may find yourself in a funk because you had such a narrow focus for so long. Having multiple and varied goals can get – and keep – you motivated.
Change Your Attitude
Running is as much mental as it is physical. So if you’ve been finding yourself in a running slump, look at how you’re feeling mentally. You may be down on yourself because you had a bad race or maybe you’ve just been psyching yourself out before your training. Look at what else is going on in your life that may also be affecting your running. Stress at work or home, lack of time or other life factors may be throwing you off your game. Once you recognize the mental component of your funk, you can start taking steps to turn things around.