It’s been five months since the New York City Marathon.
Five months of a complicated relationship with running.
I’ve obviously continued running since the marathon but my desire and love for the sport hasn’t been constant. Running wasn’t as fun for a while. It was a chore. A chore that I gritted my teeth and did because “that’s what runner’s do.” I had some leftover energy from the marathon but my real priority was maintaining my fitness. Because losing fitness is the absolute worst thing in the world…
After the marathon I was physically worn-out and my body was telling me (knee pain, slight hip pain, general exhaustion). While I did decrease my mileage and intensity it was not enough for a full mental or physical recovery. It was enough to lose a significant amount of running speed and endurance, which, looking at the big picture, I’m not at all mad about. (It’s actually kind of fun to see progress while regaining fitness).
Five months later I’m regaining my running mojo.
So what clicked after all this time? While I can’t pin-point one thing I can say that time away from running (consistently) helped. Since the new year I’ve been better at not forcing myself to run just because it’s been two, three, four, five days off. I’ve run based on the weather, my energy level and schedule. I’ve taken it day-by-day.
Lately? I’ve been excited to run. I’ve enjoyed my time on the roads (or treadmill). Let’s hope I didn’t jinx myself…
Believe me when I say that I understand how hard it can be to not follow a plan. But after four months of a plan it’s nice not having to look at a schedule. I think having a mix of both “planned” running/training and “free” running is a good balance for me, because I do like both sides.
My mileage may not be high and my pace may not be fast, but my love of running is back. Let me tell you, it’s a beautiful feeling.
*Linking up to the Fit-Dish. Thanks so much Jill and Jessica!
[email protected] says
Great post! When I start to lose my workout “mojo” I try to make mini workouts to do throughout the day. I make two to three, 8-10 minute mini workouts focusing on getting my heart rate up and working my entire body. Sometimes I feel that last one I do in the evening is all I need to get my head set for an AM workout the following day. I truly believe fitness is a sum of all your efforts so whether it’s an hour workout or two ten minute workouts, you’re still moving and staying fit! Schedules can be tough to stick to and this way it offers much needed flexibility!
[email protected] recently posted…Healthy Living : Progress without Destination
Jessica @ kiwiyogirunner says
I love this idea!! What do you do for your 8-10 minute workouts? Like HIIT or running? I’d love details cos its a great idea :)
Jessica @ kiwiyogirunner recently posted…The one with the yoga interview
That is such a good idea! I love your perspective about fitness being “the sum of all your efforts.” Very true and very underrated.
Gretchen | Gretchruns says
I love following a schedule or plan. I find it hard to keep motivation if I’m just “on my own” and have to wing it! I’m not one of those people who can just be a free runner and not do it with a plan. Even in my off season I have to plan out what I want to do each week or I won’t do it! When I’m losing my mojo, I like to either take a break until I want to run again, or watch inspiring running movies! Always does the trick :)
What’s your favorite running movie?! Sometimes just reading articles on Runner’s World is what gives me motivation.
Gretchen | Gretchruns says
Spirit of the Marathon 1 and 2 are my favorites, and I also like Fire on the Track, Pre (more of an actual movie than a documentary), and Run for your Life.
Alyssa @ Renaissancerunnergirl says
Awesome post!! I don’t follow a plan at all, except for long runs building up to each time I’ve done a half marathon. When I started running, I vowed it was going to be something I did for myself, and not to beat any time or goal or other person. Sometimes if I’m a little burnt out, I take a few days off, and when I get back out there, remind myself to run with a smile on my face – it’s strange, but that small act makes me reflect on why I’m out there. I GET to be outside running!
Alyssa @ Renaissancerunnergirl recently posted…March Recap + Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower Recipe
Running for yourself (and not for time/goals) is incredibly admirable and something I’ve (slowly) adapted over the years. A few days off normally does the trick for me, too. Being physically able to run is a gift.
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
The passion is really what matters in life. Numbers don’t! I’m a little eh about running lately. I did take a month off during the winter due to the weather every week, but after that one 8 mile run I did back in January, things just haven’t been the same :/
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…What To Avoid With A Dairy Allergy
You’ll get that mojo back. The weather can be a big motivational factor for me. Spring is HERE!
I’m so happy you’ve found the running love again! I think that feeling is totally normal after the rigors of a marathon schedule. I haven’t run a marathon, but I’ve heard several others say that.
jan recently posted…Do You Forget How to Run Fast?
I don’t think I needed to run an actual marathon to go through a running lull. Just the constant running and thinking about running was enough to hit that breaking point.
Emily @ Sweets and Beets says
I ran my half marathon almost exactly a year ago, and I still haven’t gotten my running mojo fully back. I don’t wake up early on Sunday mornings and hammer 10 miles anymore, but it’s kind of nice! Now, I run on my own terms — if and when I want to. I think that’s the best approach! : )
Emily @ Sweets and Beets recently posted…Treating + Retreating
I love being able to wake up whenever I want and decide right then and there IF I want to run. The weather has been a make or break for me…guilty.
Sarah @pickyrunner says
Totally get this. I have been in that place after a race where my body is tired but I push through because “that’s what runners do.” But in reality, it only makes me more tired, more injured, and less likely to want to run. As soon as I stopped forcing it, I started loving running again. That’s a big part of why I only run 4 days a week now. It allows me to shift my days around so that I’m running when I want to, not because I have to. I’m glad you’re starting to love it again!
Sarah @pickyrunner recently posted…When in Pittsburgh
I think your 4 days approach is an awesome balance and I’m so glad it’s been working for you. I’m thinking about experimenting with that…making each run count, rather than running more junk miles.
Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie says
I think not forcing yourself to run is something that is important, and taking the time to make that a priority during a non-training season is important. I definitely understand where you are coming from, because I know that I go through phases of absolutely loving running to more of doing it just to do it. I think now that the weather is getting better I am loving it again since it is a way for me to enjoy the outdoors and the weather!
Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie recently posted…Iced Lemon Passion Tea
Balancing the training season and the non-training/recovery season is so important. Prevents injury and gives time for that love of running to return!
This hits so close to home – I feel you on this one! I ran all through college and a post-grad full time work schedule hit me hard – so running was pushed to the back burner. However, it’s been awesome to listen to my body and learn to enjoy some lower impact workouts. Fitness is fun all around – and definitely not limited to running. Once you’re a runner, you’ll always get the title of being a runner – no one can take that from you ;) And those running shoes will always be waiting for you, no matter how much time you take off :) Enjoyed this post – have a good one, friend!
May recently posted…Grocery Haulin’ (3/31/15).
Not running consistently let me dive deeper into yoga and other workouts that I’ve come to love. Walking is so underrated and has become a favorite of mine. You’re right- that title AND my running shoes aren’t going anywhere.
Amy @ Life to the Full says
I’m so glad your love for running has returned! I have fallen into a similar situation in the past. While I was training for my first post-baby #1 marathon, I felt like a slave to the training schedule. Running felt more like a chore or another thing to check off the to-do list!
Your post is spot on. I had to remind myself that running is something I do for FUN and I don’t need to make myself run just because the schedule says to. Taking a break from training, adding more strength training and cutting out a running day, and running lower mileage helped to re-kindle my love for running :) Running a full marathon seven months after having my first baby was just too much for me and the lesson has been learned. Running is something I GET to do, not something I HAVE to do!
Have a wonderful week of running!
Amy @ Life to the Full recently posted…Who Inspires You to Live Healthy?
I try to shift my mindset from “I HAVE to run” to “I GET to run.” It puts things into perspective and oddly makes me enjoy each run more. WOW- 7 months after a baby is incredible. One awesome mother-runner!
Montana @ Pretty Lil Mudder says
I felt exactly like you did after Tough Mudder last November. I did my first 10 mile race and then Tough Mudder soon after so I didn’t really get enough down time in between before ramping up mileage again. I was injured too and it was hard to “love” running again after I healed. But, like you, following my feelings and only running when I wanted to or felt good helped me get back in the game. I actually did really well on my last obstacle race- better than expected. I credit that to the more relaxed schedule I followed and not feeling like i ‘had’ to train!
Montana @ Pretty Lil Mudder recently posted…Comparing Three Big Races: Spartan vs. Tough Mudder vs. Savage Race
I hope to take that relaxed approach the next time I train for a race. I think it can help sustain my running motivation. I’m very interested in trying a Tough Mudder race…will have to read your recaps!
I know exactly what you went through. For quite a while I lost my passion because I wasn’t sure if I was running because I loved the sport, or because I felt like I HAD to. Loved this article thanks for sharing :)
Christina recently posted…White Chocolate Dipped Rice Krispie Easter Eggs
Running can become so ingrained in our routines, for good and bad. Realizing that I don’t HAVE to run all the time to be considered a “runner” is freeing.
Jessica @ kiwiyogirunner says
Great post Emily! I’m in a similar place with my running right now, I’m not following a plan and am trying to build up my fitness after spraining my ankle while still going with the flow! It’s an interesting ride ;)
Ps I found your blog last week and have done lots of creepy stalking cos I LOVE it, I love your views on balance and your family values in partiuclar, that’s how I roll too :) hope you’re having an awesome day!
Jessica @ kiwiyogirunner recently posted…The one with the yoga interview
Hi, Jessica! So glad you stopped by :) I’ve never recovered from a serious injury but I can imagine what a process it is. Good for you for having a positive mindset.
Mary Beth Jackson says
very nice! I am glad you are enjoying it! I do schedule my runs because that way I know I wont be lazy but I am an outside runner and it is Florida, got to be flexible and I would never turn down a last minute dinner date with the hubby because I had a run on my calendar- it’s just a guide :)
Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…Who, what, why inspires you to be healthy?
Oh as soon as it gets really hot (it’s almost there) I become much more flexible with running. Some days are just too hot to do anything but stay inside. Using a schedule as a guide is a great approach.
Jessica Joy @The Fit Switch says
Emily, it sounds like we’re in a kind of similar boat. I love getting back in the groove of healthiness! So happy for you. I am the same way with running. I just keep it seasonal, or have a few races a year, and that’s plenty for me. I LOVE and thrive on variety and the ability to pursue what I’m in the mood for at the time. Enjoy those runs! They’re going to be so great. So jinxing at all. : )
Jessica Joy @The Fit Switch recently posted…Melissa’s Transformation. 100 Pounds Lost and 13 Races Completed in 1 year
I like to think about my running in “seasons.” There’s a race season and a recovery season when I do whatever form of exercise I want :)
Rebecca @ MyEagerFeet says
Sometimes I wish I wasn’t working on my 50 State goal so I could take an extended break from running. I usually find 2-3 weeks completely off between cycles does the trick to renew my love for the sport. (And I think I only really get tired of it since I have to fit it in around work.) I’m glad you are starting to get your mojo back!
Rebecca @ MyEagerFeet recently posted…Myrtle Beach Marathon Race Rating
I think 2-3 is a perfect time frame. And you really don’t lose much (if any) fitness so it’s a win-win. I’m in awe of your dedication to your 50 state goal. You go, girl!
jill conyers says
Yes, I follow a workout schedule. It’s the best way for me to get it done! It seems to me that the only thing that helps loss of mojo/passion is time. I’ve tried all the tips and it still has to just run its course. Happy the mojo always returns!
Rediscovering your love of running feels amazing doesn’t it :) #fitfamlove <3
jill conyers recently posted…#RockYourCore Challenge Kickoff
Yes, sometimes time is the only thing that helps with motivation. But I did love all of your tips on yesterday’s post…very applicable!