Reclaim your running mojo....

By Matt Forsman A.K.A. Marathon Matt, March 21, 2016

Running slows the aging process. It stimulates brain cell growth. It makes us sexier. It staves off depression. In short, running is a veritable panacea.

But, running isn't all sunshine and rainbows. If you run long enough, far enough, or fast enough, you may find yourself someplace you've never been before.

You may find yourself suffering from ennui. Running might start to lose its luster. You might lose your running mojo.

It happens to the best of us. So, don't fret. Fortunately, there are a variety of things you can do to help rekindle your running mojo.

Below are ten proven ways to reclaim your running mojo.

-Get off the beaten path. Many runners run the same route day in and day out. I get it. It's convenient. It's easy.

But, even if you love running, knocking out your mileage via the same route over and over is bound to get a bit boring. Variety is the spice of life. Try a different path. Explore a new trail. Simply getting a change of scenery can be therapeutic and can provide a way to reclaim your running mojo.

-Try a different time of day. Some runners are early risers who love getting up at dawn and conquering their mileage when the sun rises. There's an undeniable sense of accomplishment in taking care of your run before most have even gotten out of bed. Some runners are night owls who love the thrill of running in the dark when most are hunkering down inside.

Not everyone has the same circadian rhythm. If you're running in the evening and things aren't clicking for you, try running in the morning or afternoon. Conversely, if you're running in the morning or afternoon and not enjoying it, give night running a shot.

-Explore a new approach to training. If you do the same thing over and over again, you're bound to get good at it. But, doing the same thing over and over can also lead to stagnation and staleness.

If you want to get faster, incorporate some speedwork into your routine. If you want to get better at hills, inject some quality hillwork into your training schedule. If you've always been a road runner, explore the trails. If your running is not turning you on the way it used to, you need to try something new.

-Run with a group/club/program. Some of the best runners on the planet run come out of the Rift Valley in Kenya. The Rift Valley is a veritable 'perfect storm' of training that includes high altitude, an abundance of excellent trails and paths perfectly groomed for running. The Rift Valley also has a number of elite level training camps that provide an opportunity for the best runners to train together every day, usually multiple times a day. There's no question that training with company (exceptionally fast company) helps all of these runners run faster, harder, and longer.

Follow the example of the Kenyans and find a quality training group, club, or program. I've had more than a few of my runners tell me they would not run on their own and the 'casual accountability' my Run Club provides is what keeps them engaged. The knowledge that you'll have one or a few runners who challenge you every time you show up never fails to motivate.

-Run Solo. Running with a club, group, or program is great. It can keep you motivated, engaged, and committed. But, there's also a benefit to running solo periodically. Running on your own is tougher. It provides an opportunity to develop mental toughness. There's little question that conquering a tough long run on your own is markedly more challenging than doing it with a few (or more) fellow runners. So, if you want to develop mental toughness, inject some solo running into your routine.

-Run Free. Many runners tend to be type-A, driven, and competitive. Not surprisingly, many runners are always in training for something. It might be a 5K, a half, a marathon, or more. In any case, training for a race of any distance typically requires adherence to a training 'schedule' of some kind.

This schedule likely includes details around what to do every day of the week for weeks, months, or maybe longer. While it's important to follow a schedule if you're training for a race, it's important to periodically have periods of time where you're running in an unstructured or 'free' manner. If your running mojo is flagging, consider running free for a stint to help reinvigorate your running.

-Sign up for a race. Becoming a better runner requires consistency and commitment (among other things). Few things can keep one consistent and committed like the knowledge that a race is looming on the horizon in the next few weeks or months. The days on which you struggle to motivate to get the miles in will become easier to manage when there's a date circled on the calendar.

So, pull the trigger. Sign up for a race. Get some skin in the game. Your running mojo might be waiting for you at the starting line.

-Unplug. In the current digital age, everyone is plugged in. Heart rate monitors abound. Fitness wearables are omnipresent. There are tons of great apps out there that can help you track your distance, your pace, vertical oscillation, and just about anything else you can fathom.

But, there's utility in periodically running 'unplugged'. Some of the best runners on the planet (again, those Kenyans from the Rift Valley) run without ANY of technology we take for granted and run at an extraordinarily high level. While there are multitude of reasons why they run so well, one of the big reasons is because they are highly 'associative' runners.

The absence of external data and feedback, forces you to run by feel. It forces you to trust your intuition and instincts. Ultimately, this is your true north no matter what any gadget, device, wearable, or app tells you. Some of the best runs I've ever had have been completely 'unplugged'. Unplug and you may just find your mojo.

-Plug In. You're not running the PR's you think you should be running. You're not making the progress you once did. It's possible you've plateau'd. In my experience, many plateau because there is no real structure or thought behind their training schedule.

It might be time to plug in a bit more. It might be time to pay closer to attention to your miles, your heartrate, your sleep patterns, and more. It might be time to put together a more formal and structured training plan (we hear the SportMe Run Trainer can help with this).

-Take a break. It may sound counterintuitive. But, simply taking a break entirely is the best thing you can do. Even the best runners on the planet take breaks periodically.

Taking a few days off can provide an opportunity to recharge mentally and physically. Sometimes, time away is just what's needed. Absence can make the heart grow fonder.

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