The days are getting shorter. The mercury is dropping. The weather gods don't seem terribly friendly anymore. Looming on the not too distant horizon are holiday parties, shopping, and more time with the family than you might like.
You hit the snooze button several times before waking up for a run, and you dread getting out on the road to log a few easy miles. I've got some bad news. You've lost your running mojo.
Don't panic. Don't run to the doctor's office. Take a few deep breaths and slowly exhale. This is not the end. But, make no mistake about it. You need to take action in order to get better and reclaim your mojo.
If you are to find your mojo again, you have to make some changes. Some of these changes you may not like initially. Change isn't easy. However, if what you've been doing is no longer working for you, change is the only viable option.
Below are a few suggested treatments that may be just what the doctor ordered. Try one or try a few of them. Sometimes it takes time and patience to find what works best for you. But, if you're serious about reclaiming your running mojo, some of these tips can help you get out of your rut.
Change your scenery.
Vacations are one way to change locations, but this isn't realistic for most runners. Don't abandon all hope. You can still get a therapeutic change of scenery without skipping town to the tropics.
Many runners get into a routine that devolves into a rut. Maybe you run the same 5-mile loop several times a week. There's nothing wrong with this. But, familiarity 'may' breed contempt after awhile. It may be comfortable, easy, and convenient to log your miles via the same route over and over again, but this can also become monotonous.
It may not be convenient, but get away from what's familiar. If you have never gone for a trail run, give it a shot. The change of scenery alone might be enough to help you get out of your funk.
If you can't get off-road, try running with a club or program. Running is inherently a solitary activity and many get their mileage in on their own. Humans are social and crave community by nature. Explore opportunities to get your run in and connect with others.
Perhaps you've never actually participated in a race. Given the explosion of events over the years, there are lots of opportunities to participate in a race of just about every distance.
You don't have to run the fastest time of your life. Simply enjoy the experience of being around several hundred (or thousand) people who love to run, and it might be enough to help you rediscover your mojo.
Try a different time of day.
It's tough to run during the winter. The weather generally isn't as inviting and the days are markedly shorter. If you're the kind of runner who tends to be an early riser, this can make things challenging.
If you typically set your alarm clock for 5 a.m., it's no walk in the park getting out of bed to begin with. If your run starts and ends in the dark, getting your miles in can be that much more challenging. During the summer and fall, you may catch some daylight before your run concludes, but in the winter--not so much.
If you're more of a night runner accustomed to getting your miles in after you've completed a full day at work, you might have been able to catch some daylight during your run in the summer or fall. But, the arrival of winter all but eliminates this. Winter spells complete darkness for every mile logged in the evening.
Given the general lack of daylight in the morning and evening during the winter, the only option left is to try to get some mileage in during the lunch hour. If you've never tried hitting the road in the middle of the day, the winter months provide an excellent opportunity to give it a shot.
Running in the afternoon provides a nice way to break up a busy workday and stave off the late afternoon urge to nap. Admittedly, a midday sojourn may require some additional planning and logistical challenges. But, if it means more mileage logged during the challenging winter months and more Vitamin D, it's worth giving it a shot.