You know the feeling…
You’re getting ready for what’s supposed to be one of your favorite parts of your day…your run. But something just isn’t right. You just don’t feel like running. You lace up your shoes, hoping to get some momentum going. As you walk out the door, you’re feeling sluggish, slow, heavy — oh, and your feet weigh approximately twenty two thousand pounds. Simply put: you just don’t feel like a runner today.
If you’re anything like me, you have these days – and these runs – ALL. THE. TIME. Sometimes it’s not just one day either – sometimes it’s a week – or two weeks – or even an entire training season. You’re running on empty and you just can’t seem to find the energy, the motivation, or the ease that once flowed. Your feet are dragging, your breathing is heavy, your mind is occupied with this thing and that.
You’re running on empty.
So what do YOU do when you don’t feel like running?
Do you muscle through it and push yourself?
Do you give up and go home to rest and reset?
How do you get the momentum back?
Life isn’t always going to be a walk in the park. You and I – our surroundings, our life circumstances & situations, our relationships, our bodies – are constantly evolving – physically, emotionally, mentally, financially. We can’t, we shouldn’t, ever expect life to stay the same forever – and we shouldn’t expect our running to either. Challenging days, and even entire periods of our lives, require different amounts of ourselves. And that’s OKAY. Giving yourself the grace and the flexibility to pause and figure out the source of your fatigue, as well as what you’re needing during this moment in time, is what I’ve found to be the most important step for getting your mojo back.
Whether it’s an isolated argument with a loved one, a financial hardship that’s been mentally draining you for weeks, or simply that dreaded time of the month for all you women out there – we must remember that it’s okay to not be okay. Life’s challenges have a way of seeping into other areas of our lives – including our running – leaving us feeling drained before we’ve even laced up our shoes. But once you can put a label to what you’re feeling – and accept the reason behind your feeling – you can start to take back the power and the control.
You can recognize that the argument you had with your husband is making you feel frustrated, and then you can give yourself the space to figure out what you’re needing from your run that day – do you need a slower pace? A shorter distance? Or do you need to cancel your run all together to think about or journal your feelings today instead?
What’s the alternative? Mindlessly heading out on that run. Feeling like shit. Ruminating and becoming frustrated with yourself. Maybe even letting those feelings turn into some false beliefs like whether you’re just simply not cut out for running – trust me, I’ve been there before & it’s not a fun place to be. But when you don’t give yourself the space to actually figure out why you’re feeling so drained or uninspired, you start to assign blame where it doesn’t belong.
It’s easy to blame a “bad run” on something physical – your endurance, your energy, your muscle recovery, even something you ate the night before. It’s even EASIER to blame it on circumstances you can’t control – the weather, the time of day, your headphones being dead. But blaming your lack of flow on these circumstances won’t help you get better – it won’t help you get back in your groove. Sometimes we forget how important of a role our emotions, our thoughts, our beliefs, and our needs play in our ability to run – & sometimes that’s exactly where the solution lies.
So, again, what do you do?
Pause. Take inventory of your life – ALL areas of your life. Think through your work, your family, your financial situation, your body, your energy, how much sleep you got the night before, what you ate this morning, the weather, everything and anything. You could start by trying to think through the areas of health to see if anything comes to the surface of your mind: physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual. You could also use more of a time-line type of thinking: what happened 5 minutes ago, earlier today, last night, yesterday, last week, this month? Once you’ve developed a sense of the source of your lack of gusto – think through what you’re NEEDING from your run today (or if you’re even needing one at all, man). There ain’t no shame in the walking game on those days when you just don’t feel like running.