by Jonathan Dunsky in Stories, image by practicalowl

How To Overcome Your Running Slump And Get Back On Track

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A few years ago, after I developed my fitness to a point where I was running 2 half-marathons each week, I suddenly stopped enjoying myself. I didn’t want to run anymore.

This surprised me: I wasn’t feeling pain, I had no injuries, and I was in the best shape of my life. Yet, the thing which gave me so much pleasure for so long now seemed boring. I was fed up with running.

As I talked this over with other runners, I learned that many of them also went through a slump in which they just didn’t want to run anymore. In this article I want to share with you some of the steps I, and other runners I’ve spoken with, took to get our running groove back on.

Challenge Yourself with a race

If you’re a leisure runner who runs a few times a week or on daily basis without any specific goal in mind (other than health and fitness), I recommend that you find a race to take part in.

I have a friend who is training for the London marathon. If he didn’t have this particular goal to work for he wouldn’t be running every day.

Once you decide on a race to run in, you are entering into a competitive mindset. This is one of the biggest motivational forces that you can find. It’s true in business, in education, and in sports. You will suddenly have a whole new reason to run.

Run For Charity

One way to get back into the running spirit and actually do some good is to run for charity. In many races around the world, you can join a team which runs to support a certain charity. Corporate sponsors actually contribute money to important charities based on the number of runners in their group and/or the distance they run for.

This way, you’re not just working for yourself but for something bigger. I’m sure that this will help you run better, faster, and longer.

Change your setting

If you feel that running has become boring you may need to change your setting. I’m talking about your track. You should explore other places to run and make it a habit to try out new venues on a regular basis.

For instance, if you usually run in a residential area, you should go outside the city where you live and workout in more natural surroundings. I’ve run along beaches, in woods, in mountainous regions, and in the desert. No run has ever been the same. In a way, I combined my desire for running with my love of exploration. It’s virtually impossible to get bored that way.

Note: if you go out to run in the wild, make sure someone knows where you’re going. You don’t want to find yourself isolated with a sprained ankle or down a ravine with your arm caught under a rock (no matter how much you like James Franco).

Change your running style
If you’re used to running for long distances at about the same pace, you should try to do some intervals. The change of style will be refreshing. If you usually run on a plain try some uphill running or train on sand dunes. Each terrain offers its own challenges and you will overcome whatever boredom you’re currently feeling.

Join a Running Group

If you can’t make yourself run, you need other people to do it for you. The best way to do that is to join a running group. This will take the loneliness out of running (which may be causing your slump) and help you enjoy it more.

Running with a group has many benefits: you get to meet like-minded people and create new relationships, you get to test your running skills against other runners regularly, and having a team “forces” you to keep running. Being in a team is an obligation. You will not want to back out of it.

Don’t Worry

Finally, don’t let your slump worry you. It happens to a lot of runners. It’s natural. I recommend to take a week or two off from running and then apply the steps I’ve outlined above. The rest will clear your mind, recharge your body, and give you a greater desire to run again. The other steps will make running exciting and new.

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