Even with the most experienced runners, we all tend to get “stuck in a rut.” It’s a normal part of any fitness routine. It usually means that either we hit a plateau, need fresh workout ideas, a change of scenery, a buddy a to run with, new music, the possibilities are endless. These are just a few things that help me break out of my routine.
As soon as I start getting bored thinking about a run (which doesn’t happen often, but recently with mileage it is becoming more so), I know something needs to change. I take it as an opportunity to learn something new or challenge myself. However, with training for a marathon, it is a whole other beast to say the least. It is a different kind of commitment for sure which takes a lot of time and patience. I find myself always looking for ways to break out of my rut, since I find myself either running alone (not so bad since its my preference) or in the same location most times since its convenient. Aside from location, music, even a new workout top or headband—I must say a new piece of workout clothing is quite motivating! It’s not always enough.
Below are some tips and thoughts that go through my mind that help distract me during a rough patch or get me to look forward to my next workout or run:
- FOOD- YES! Of course many of us runners or anyone who likes a good sweat are foodies at heart—at least I AM!! 😛 I come up with what I look forward post run or workout that gives me the right fuel, is tasty, or something special that makes doing the workout worth doing in the first place. Dread six miles early morning on Saturday or a workout class you have to drive to? Make homemade pancakes for breakfast with all the fixings and let it be special or go out for breakfast after.
- Break down the milage or time. Fourteen miles sounds long right? Yeah, that’s what I thought this past weekend. Instead I thought of seven miles out and seven back, plain and simple. I knew I was only doing seven one way, which after resting the day before sounded do-able. My mind was fresh and was more mentally strong knowing I broke it down into managable miles or making my workouts simply thirty minutes.
- Music that PUMPS YOU UP! Find a song that triggers your inner BEAST and let yourself get excited knowing that song is perfect for speed or tempo day when you need to kick it up or slow and steady for long run. Playing it before your workout, as you’re getting ready and part of your warm-up are great ways to get your mind psyched for your workout ahead.
- New Route, Same Location. Yes, I mentioned this earlier, but a new place does wonders. Either re-looping the same route or reversing it helps a lot. The night before mapping out on mapmyrun.com is good for keeping nearby as well as checking out other runner’s routes.
- Find a Race! The excitement and enthusiasm of other runners in a race is great motivation. With that comes a new location in some cases, other people, a little friendly competition, and maybe a PR! 😉
- Running Groups. These are all over the place now. Its a great way to meet people who already have the same interest as you. They offer socializing and weekly meetups which helps with motivation as well. Not just for running either, but biking, walking, and workout groups too! Best part is that they’re free (or a small fee)! Checkout meetup.com for local groups in your area.