Q+A: How can I get motivated after retirement?

Q I have an identity crisis. As a keen runner for the last 20 years, I have recently retired, but now I just cannot find the motivation to train properly. I climb into my car rather than my running gear. When I do go out for a run, any uphill stretches are just an excuse to walk. Was running just an antidote to work? Any ideas to help me find a more positive attitude would be appreciated.

A The first thing you need to remember is that we choose to run. There is no great force that says we are obliged to do it. So if you still want to run, there’s plenty you can do to get that drive back.

You now have time to really explore your running environment – something you might not have done in the past. Why not try some off-road running? This will help you discover interesting and different trails and routes. Once you’ve done that, take a break in a new environment. You’ll find that running is the most effective way to discover an unfamiliar area’s attractions.

Give yourself some time-specific goals and use age-graded tables to compare your times with younger clubmates and friends. Now that you have time on your hands perhaps you should consider entering yourself in events that you didn’t previously have time for. Why not experiment with adventure running? Or consider giving yourself a dramatic new challenge – for instance, discovering how quickly you could manage 1500m. Think about a big challenge, like a foreign marathon, that seemed improbable or impossible due to your past work commitments. And experiment with cross-training. If you give cycling and swimming a go you could progress to trying a triathlon. But above all, don’t waste precious years and then regret it later.

Bud Baldaro, coach and RW Contributing Editor