LEARN FROM OTH­ERS

Ev­ery run­ner’s mojo goes AWOL some time. Here RW read­ers and staff re­veal the rea­sons they lost theirs…and how they got it back

Runner's World (UK) - - Motivation -

COUNT TO 10

‘I had 10 days off over Christ­mas – I was plan­ning on two! I just couldn’t find the en­ergy, but I pulled my­self to­gether and de­cided on Jan­uary 1 to just run. It was only 5km and lash­ing with rain but it broke the ex­cuses and my mojo is now back. It’s just get­ting out the door – give it 10 min­utes and tell your­self that if you’re not feel­ing the love you’ll stop… bet you won’t, though!’ Karen Stan­ley

ALARM CALL

‘ When it’s cold out­side and you’ve had a mis­er­able day it’s so easy to

come in and drink a pot of tea and eat a cake. Be­fore I knew it a month had passed with the same ex­cuses and I was get­ting out of breath in the park with the dog and the kids. So one morn­ing I set my alarm ear­lier, hav­ing laid out my kit the evening be­fore. I got up and just did one mile. Wow, did I feel great that day! I de­cided to do three short, early runs a week and as time went by home life im­proved and I felt health­ier and hap­pier just for get­ting out there.’ Michael Bowen

FRIENDLY FIRE

‘Af­ter a can­celled marathon I was men­tally ready for a rest pe­riod and I was so dis­heart­ened at not be­ing able to race af­ter all the train­ing that I could no longer find the mo­ti­va­tion to get out early on a Satur­day morn­ing. My so­lu­tion was to start run­ning with some­one else. I didn’t want to let this per­son down by can­celling and found it was a wel­come change to log­ging solo miles. Af­ter a few weeks I started feel­ing mo­ti­vated to go out again on my own, run­ning at a faster pace than I had be­fore.’ Kather­ine Ken­dall, RW brand direc­tor

GO OFF-GRID

‘A few years ago, when I was chas­ing a sub-three marathon PB, there was an eight-month pe­riod in which pretty much ev­ery run was a train­ing run – by which I mean ev­ery run had a spe­cific goal (eg long-run dis­tance, speed­work reps etc). I kind of fell out of love with run­ning as a re­sult, as it be­came a pretty joy­less grind. Af­ter the marathon, for a cou­ple of months I made a point of run­ning when I felt like it and with no spe­cific fo­cus, and dur­ing the runs just en­joyed the sights and sounds of be­ing out in the open.’ Andy Dixon, RW ed­i­tor

POS­I­TIVE THINK­ING

‘Suf­fer­ing with anx­i­ety can re­ally af­fect my run­ning. At times anx­i­ety can leave you feel­ing de­mo­ti­vated, over­whelmed and not know­ing where to turn. Fi­nally un­der­stand­ing that even a small run can make the big­gest dif­fer­ence to my men­tal health re­ally changed things for me.’ He­len Woods

LO­CAL KNOWL­EDGE

‘Af­ter mov­ing to a new area I didn’t have the con­fi­dence to go out and ex­plore, for fear of get­ting lost. This, cou­pled with the fact it was a hilly area and I wasn’t keen on or very good at hill train­ing, meant that I didn’t run for about six months. I re­ally missed it, so even­tu­ally I found a lo­cal club who took me un­der their wing. Soon I had a PB at the lo­cal half marathon and be­came a reg­u­lar at the lo­cal Parkrun.’ Jane Shack­le­ton, RW head of mar­ket­ing and events

SMELL THE ROSES

‘My com­pet­i­tive at­ti­tude killed me with con­stant use of Strava etc. I got my run­ning mojo back af­ter read­ing about the ‘hygge’ way of life. It’s a Dan­ish con­cept about do­ing what feels good, not com­pet­ing, not be­ing both­ered about any­thing other than get­ting out­doors. I even stopped while out run­ning the other day just to take a photo of the view. I felt free, lib­er­ated by lack of mea­sure­ment. Won­der­ful.’ Is­abelle Szczec­cin­ski

DARE TO FAIL

‘Fear of fail­ure was my prob­lem. I got over it by telling my­self that the only per­son judg­ing me is me. No one else cares, they’ve got their own wor­ries to deal with.’ Lay­ton Paul Jones

SHORT CHANGE

‘Af­ter two years in a con­stant cy­cle of train­ing for spring, then au­tumn, marathons I just ran out of de­sire. I un­der­stood what I had to do to get faster – pos­si­bly a lit­tle too well – and felt con­fi­dent I could do it, but where in the past that mix would have been like paraf­fin for my mo­ti­va­tional fire I was, for the first time, sim­ply out of the men­tal en­ergy to take it on.

I took a break, did more cy­cling, en­joyed Sun­day af­ter­noons with my fam­ily, then fo­cused on a run­ning goal that was about as far from the marathon as I could man­age: run­ning a fast mile. The shift of fo­cus re­stored my mojo and the fol­low­ing year I felt ready – itch­ing, in fact – to re­turn to marathon train­ing. Men­tally refreshed, I had my best and most en­joy­able train­ing cy­cle – and I ran that PB.’ Joe Mackie, RW Deputy Ed­i­tor

SPREAD THE JOY

‘A seem­ingly un­solv­able in­jury that dragged on for months threat­ened to

de­stroy my mo­ti­va­tion for good. Each ex­pert I saw re­as­sured me they would have me back run­ning in no time, but to no avail. Coach­ing kept me go­ing. Be­ing able to im­part knowl­edge, ex­pe­ri­ence and en­thu­si­asm to oth­ers made me feel I still had a pur­pose in the run­ning world, and I gained a lot of en­joy­ment and pride from see­ing oth­ers suc­ceed. If you’re not a coach, stay in­volved in other ways, such as vol­un­teer­ing at events or go­ing along to races to sup­port friends. But don’t force it: if you’re re­ally mis­er­able about not run­ning, forc­ing your­self to go and, say, pro­vide tea af­ter a train­ing run (when ev­ery­one re­turns full of run­ning joy) can leave you feel­ing even more wretched. I speak from ex­pe­ri­ence. By the time I was able to run again my whole out­look on run­ning had changed. I still en­joy rac­ing, but it’s now much more about feel­ing good, en­joy­ing each run for its own mer­its and be­ing part of the run­ning com­mu­nity.’ Sam Mur­phy, RW sec­tion ed­i­tor and run­ning coach

FRESH START

‘Preg­nancy and post­na­tal de­pres­sion stopped my run­ning for nearly a year. I got my mojo back by reread­ing Chris Mcdougall’s Born

to Run and start­ing back slowly with no goals, just me and the road.’

THINK BIB

Laura Cur­tis

‘Get­ting in­jured two weeks be­fore a marathon messed with my mo­ti­va­tion be­cause I felt that all the train­ing had achieved noth­ing. The only way I got back to it was to en­ter an­other race, to give me that goal again. I’ve had a few men­tal hic­cups along the way (“What if you get in­jured again?”), but I al­ways get out of bed if a goal is there.’ Roger Bil­s­land, RW pro­duc­tion man­ager and RW VMLM pacer

RING THE CHANGES

‘Some­times I fall out of love with run­ning for a spell. When you spend 40+ hours a week think­ing about, talk­ing about, writ­ing about and, of course, do­ing it, that’s in­evitable. In 2013 I had a se­vere bout of an­tirun­nin­gi­tis. In­juries and a se­ries of fail­ures to crack a four-hour marathon had bred re­sent­ment and I started to see run­ning as a chore. And if I couldn’t im­prove, what was the point?

My so­lu­tion was a new regime that chal­lenged body and mind. I put my­self in the hands of two Cross­fit coaches, who made a valid point about [sup­pos­edly] Al­bert Ein­stein’s def­i­ni­tion of insanity (do­ing the same thing re­peat­edly and ex­pect­ing a dif­fer­ent out­come). I trained for the Ber­lin Marathon by re­plac­ing all my runs with strength and con­di­tion­ing work; and I found do­ing some­thing new and so out of my com­fort zone stim­u­lated my cu­rios­ity and com­pet­i­tive in­stinct. The weight dropped off, nig­gles abated, my mojo re­turned and I went sub-four in Ber­lin with a whop­ping 17-minute PB. Kerry Mccarthy, RW com­mis­sion­ing ed­i­tor

GROUP DY­NAMIC

‘Train­ing through the bad weather of the win­ter – es­pe­cially af­ter Christ­mas in the run-up to Lon­don Marathon– is tough. I per­suaded friends to run with me; that way you can’t back out of your com­mit­ted train­ing slot. I also joined some Nike group runs and did some group classes, in­clud­ing spin ses­sions (in­door) to vary the train­ing. Group train­ing is eas­ier than solo train­ing in the dark win­ter months!’ Jer O’ma­hony, RW VMLM pacer

TAR­GET PRAC­TICE

‘My big­gest mo­ti­va­tion block? Me! I keep telling my­self I can’t, then I get stressed. Run­ning with friends and talk­ing about it helps. I also now set three tar­gets for my­self be­fore I run. Num­ber one is to fin­ish the run – doesn’t mat­ter how long, pro­vided it’s un­der my own steam. Num­ber two is a min­i­mum mileage that’s ac­cept­able to me. And num­ber three is a dream mileage that would be a boost, or rep­re­sent meet­ing a chal­lenge.’ Co­lette Croft

REST, RE­SET

‘Af­ter a good 2015-16 train­ing with no ma­jor in­juries I was sure I would – third time lucky – break the sub-four bar­rier. I woke up on marathon day with the flu and fin­ished in 4:30. I was gut­ted and lost my mojo for a cou­ple of months. I de­cided to give run­ning a rest for a while and re-eval­u­ate my goals, which helped me to re­cover, then kick on to this year’s train­ing for sub-four at­tempt num­ber four [at the Lon­don Marathon].’ AL Rourke

TAK­ING STEPS

‘I lost my de­sire to run when I was in the depths of anorexia. Run­ning be­came a chore and the ill­ness snatched my pas­sion for some­thing that had of­fered free­dom. Now I am pro­gress­ing in my re­cov­ery and fi­nally have the en­ergy to run and ul­ti­mately feel the men­tal ben­e­fits.’ Ali­son Macvicar

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE

‘A few years ago I had an in­jury I couldn’t shake. I rested, I did the ex­er­cises, I went to a physio, I got or­thotic in­serts – noth­ing worked. Two months passed, then three…four…

But I never gave in, not be­cause I love run­ning, but be­cause I want to re­main in good con­di­tion for as long as pos­si­ble. I’m in my late 40s and I see peo­ple my age who sweat while they walk – I don’t want that. I see old peo­ple mak­ing their way painfully down the street – I don’t want that, ei­ther. I see the frailty of my par­ents, who worked so hard, and had no time to think about core work or glute strength, or the right bal­ance of carbs, pro­tein and fats. I worry for them and I don’t want to be so phys­i­cally un­cer­tain when I’m their age. Nor do I want to be a bur­den to oth­ers. So my mo­ti­va­tion is as ba­sic as it gets. I can’t out­run old age, but when the Grim Reaper fi­nally beckons me with his bony fin­ger I want to be able to bound up to him and say, ‘ What is it? Oh, right. That.’

My in­jury cleared up af­ter nine months and I’m still run­ning. In the end I will be caught, of course, but that’s not the point, is it?’ John Car­roll, RW chief sub ed­i­tor

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