Training Tips - Finding my lost running mojo by Tim Redman @TimboRuns.
I love running, although that wasn’t always the case. In fact, I would do pretty much anything to get out of cross-country at school in my younger days.
Now and again, I do have a falling out with the sport. I call it my running mojo and sometimes it completely disappears. This happened recently and I think a few issues were responsible.
For me, the pandemic kind of threw a spanner in the works. All the races that I had signed up for started disappearing one by one. I’m not complaining about that, in fact it’s the best thing that could happen for the sake of everyone’s safety. But having all the goals disappear for a year certainly took its toll on me. I felt listless and untethered, with no focus for my training, not to mention the impact on my mental health.
Gayle, my wife, got called for surgery in the spring. As a result I lost my running partner, who chivvies me along when I start to lose my enthusiasm. Also, whilst caring for her after she got home, I felt guilty about going for a run, even if it was on the treadmill.
My mental health has been suffering over the past few months too. I know that running is good for improving my low mood and anxiety, but I kind of got into a cycle of feeling down and guilty about not running and then that was fuelling my lack of motivation not to go for a run. How bizarre is that, but that’s the way my mind works.
Have I managed to turn this all around and get my running mojo back? I sure have and it only took changing a couple of things!
First, I took the pressure off myself.
Running for me has always been there to help with my mental health, it gives me a high after I have done a session. This high is something that has been missing when I have finished a run and I think that subconscious part of my brain had finally said, “What’s the point in doing this?"
Now, when I run, I check in with myself to see if everything is okay. I do this regularly with meditation and on this occasion it paid dividends, because I was able to realise that my motivation for running, and all sport in general, had been wavering.
Although part of me wanted to give up on my running, I was now aware of the reasons why and I could do something about it.
I scaled everything back. I stopped worrying about paces and times and just started going out for a run to try and enjoy it. At first, I wasn’t even worried about distance covered, just so long as I got out there and had a run. In fact, just thinking to myself that I would go out for a quick run around the block would lead to a much longer run, because I had taken the pressure off and was enjoying being out.
I also started cross training. One of my long-term goals is to compete in a triathlon, so I brought some of this into my training. Don’t get me wrong, I will never be one of the Brownlee brothers, but it’s something I would like to achieve. Using cross training mixes it all up a bit and, by doing this, I am not losing any fitness. Sure, I am using different muscle groups and not having the impact that you have with running, but it’s another enjoyable way of getting out there and having fun with exercise.
Having my run partner back has helped a lot too. When times are tough on a run there is nothing like a pep talk from Gayle to get my head back in the game.
After scaling back and doing cross training, my running mojo has made its return, and I am now looking forward to going out on my runs again. Including the weekly long run at the weekend.
Although my love for the sport may waver at times, I’m sure it is something that I will never give up entirely. I enjoy the feeling too much of crossing that finish line at the end of a race and receiving that all important piece of bling to remind me of all the hard work I put in to get there.
Now that my mojo is back, and races are back on the calendar again. I am so looking forward to running on home turf in September, when I toe the line at the wonderful Chester Half Marathon, especially with it’s exciting new route. See you there!
Vincent Boit in 2015
Amanda Crook in 2013
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|1st||Omar Ahmed (Birchfield Harriers)||1:03:53|
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|3rd||Sophie Delderfield (Vale of Aylesbury AC)||1:18:52|