There was a time a few years ago when I thought I had given up running forever. It was a brief time, but it felt real to me. I had trained hard for my first Boston Marathon in 2013, and we all know what happened on that day.
It was more than bombs and bad people that made me stray. I was determined to hit a certain time goal that day, and although that race gave me a new PR, in my mind it wasn’t good enough. Like a spoiled child, I was not only upset that evil prevailed that day, but secretly I hid my anger with myself. At the time, it seemed petty and unimportant considering the event that took place. But I wasn’t happy with my performance, so I stuffed my disappointment away and hastily ran another marathon 4 weeks later. I achieved what I had wanted to, but at a huge price.
I was burned out, my migraines were raging, and the side effects from my chronic TMJ were wreaking havoc in my daily life. I could no longer enjoy running, I didn’t want to be around my running friends, I felt angry with running, and angry with evil, so I stopped. In the summer of 2013, I can count how many times I ran on one hand. I was trying so desperately to control my life, because there were too many circumstances outside that were beyond my control.
As much as I didn’t want to admit it, the Boston tragedy had effected more than I was conscious of. I was hanging onto what I had out of fear.
Fear, that little defense mechanism that is meant to protect us that can also bring a life of joy to a screeching halt.
This was a tough time in my life. Eventually, I found my way back to running, but I think this can happen to many people. Maybe not this extreme, but losing our love of running or fitness… it happens from time to time. I can tell you that staying motivated isn’t always easy. People see one side of fitness bloggers’ lives, but there is much more that happens behind the scenes. We get burned out and don’t always have this constant love affair with it. We’re human. Everyone goes through times when they are less than enthusiastic about fitness. Getting that loving feeling back is a process, as is the act of starting in the first place.
For the final challenge of the Kohl’s Make Your Move Campaign, I have put together a list of things that help me stay motivated, and maintain my relationship with running. My hope is that you might have a lifelong alliance with living your best life and continue to Make Your Move for years to come.
How to Get Your Motivation to Run Back
- Underscore the Positive – Try not to tell yourself, “I hate running,” or “This is awful,” “Why am I doing this?” Although it is completely natural to feel this way from time to time, it’s best to catch those feelings and replace them with gratitude. Use phrases like, “I get to run,” “I am fortunate to be outside and disconnected,” “I never regret going for a run,” or “This is the best way to start my day.”
- Freefall – You can’t control all things in life, so it’s best to identify the things you can control and let go of the rest. If it’s too frighting to let go, trust a Higher Power that they will guide and protect you. I can tell you from experience, you can’t have control over all things running. Sure you can have a plan, and an idea of what you want, but there is no guarantee that you won’t become injured or not achieve your goal on your time frame. It’s best to have a democratic relationship with running, not a dictatorship.
- Look At The Big Picture – Not every run is going to bring you euphoria and joy, in fact some of them will be pretty awful, but this doesn’t define you. It’s best not to judge a bad run too harshly, tomorrow is a new day and most likely things will get better.
- Ignore the Pessimist – If you can, avoid the company of the naysayers. Many people will not understand your fitness routine or your change in lifestyle. They generally don’t like it because they no longer have someone to sit in front of the couch and make excuses with anymore. Trust your gut, if being around someone is dragging you down, move on.
- Try Something New – If running just feels dreadful, then try something new. Maybe go for a trail run, or hike. Try Crossfit, surfing, or yoga. Maybe you need a break– that’s okay too.
- Run Barefoot in the Grass – I mean it. Take your shoes off and run barefoot on the grass or sand. Be silly, go out without a GPS, climb rocks, be a kid again. My friend Alison and I used to go on trail runs and call them play dates for grownups. Have fun and let your hair down. Don’t take things so seriously.
- Enjoy the Journey – This is a tough one. I know that when I want something, I want it now! Sadly, there are very few things in life that are instant. Success is a journey, not a destination, and dreams take hard work. I have been running for many years, and the only thing that stays the same is that nothing stays the same. There are always new challenges popping up and each one must be met with patience and perseverance.
- Stop Being the Victim – There I said it. Some people don’t even know they’re doing this. They have become so conditioned to complain or agonize over the smallest little thing. I’m sorry that you had a bad run, or that you lost a toenail. Yes, it stinks that you have shin splints and that it’s hot outside, but please stop acting like life is so much more awful for you than for everybody else. Again, it’s best to catch yourself in the act, give yourself some compassion, and try and replace that negativity with a positive thought or mantra. The victim thoughts do not serve you or the people around you in any way.
- Set Goals – Having a goal is the best way to consistently work out. They don’t need to be anything grand. If it’s running, maybe you want to go from the 5K to 10K, or finish a race without walking. It could be even smaller, like holding a plank for 1 minute. Once you’ve achieved that, up it to two minutes. You see where I’m going with this? If you have something to work for, you’re more apt to make it happen. Plus, there is no better feeling that being proud of yourself.
- Invest In Yourself – I always feel great in a new outfit or running shoes. Plus, when you invest in yourself, you can’t just let those things collect dust on a shelf. If I spend money on a pair of shoes or new clothes, I better put them to good use! Get out there and go!
All of these things consistently help me get back on track when I’m feeling unmotivated. This is my final post for Kohl’s Make Your Move. See my others here–
I hope that you have found as much inspiration as I have to live our best lives, which is the essence of Make Your Move. It has been an honor to work with Kohl’s. I am a devoted customer and this campaign proves to me and many others that Kohl’s is more than just a retailer, but is excited about helping people be the best version of themselves.
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How about you? What do you do to stay motivated when you’re in a fitness or running rut?
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Kohl’s.