Q Ive been running on and off for 12 years. I still run 20-30 miles a week, but Ive noticed that over the past few years my running has become stale. At times, I feel as if I have a love-hate relationship with my running. Any ideas to keep me motivated?
A There are very few long-time runners out there who havent felt what you describe. Whenever we feel a passion for something we tend to overindulge until we become bored or burned out.
I dont know any sure ways to maintain a constant love for running, but consider the following suggestions to help nurture longer, more satisfying periods of motivation.
- Create a list of reasons why you love running (social, physical, emotional and spiritual benefits). Hang this list on your fridge door and read it often, particularly during down times.
- Understand that, regardless of how much we love anything in life, breaks from our passions are natural and even advisable. Moderation fuels motivation over the long haul; obsession does not.
- Variety is the spice of sport, as well as life. Find ways to vary your running programme: change where and when you run, or substitute a day of biking, swimming or walking for one run each week. Remember to have fun while you train.
- Finally, if you get trapped in the middle of a hate state, dont fight back. Ask yourself what it is thats bothering you. Are your work-outs too hard? Too fast? Too long? Too lonely? Change what you can the key is to switch to a plan that works for you.
In a sense, running is like life: it has its ups and downs. When youre down, go back to the basics of moderation, balance, patience and acceptance. Only then will your passion beckon you to return.
Jerry Lynch, sports psychologist