If you’ve lost your running mojo, don’t worry, it happens to us all.
It could be driven by a long break. Returning after injury. The same routes. Winter weather. Mental toil. Or something else.
It could hit for a day. A week. Or longer.
Thankfully there’s a number of tricks I turn to to find new levels of motivation and return happier than ever. Implementing any one of these tactics always works wonders.
So if you’re struggling to get out the door, this article is for you…
10 Tips to Get Your Running Mojo Back
No matter the cause, it’s important to recognise the issue and take strategic steps to regain that motivation and passion for running. From new routes and running mates, to gamification and races, there’s plenty of ways to stop the slump.
#1: Track And Review Your Mood When Running
Keep a running journal and log the unique set of circumstances that contribute to your best runs, such as the time of the day, weather, what you listen to, or the added bonus of a reward. It’s then a simple case of doing more of what makes you happy and losing what doesn’t.
It also pays to understand your daily rhythm and where a long run might fit in. For example, all of us experience the day in three stages a peak, a trough, and a rebound. And about three-quarters of us experience it in that order. Sometimes running mojo is just about going with the flow.
For me, that’s running at sunrise, taking photos as I go, and finishing off with a takeaway coffee.
#2: Discover New Routes and Terrains
Running the same roads again and again can get boring. Particularly if you’re clocking long distances.
Exploring new trails, parks or neighborhoods can bring back the excitement and adventure of running. The change in scenery not only represents a physical change but also provides mental stimulation, making my runs more enjoyable and restoring my enthusiasm.
I personally love to explore new running trails. I find trail running more challenging than road running due to the uneven terrain and elevation changes – those mini obstacles adding an element of adventure and the unknown into my runs. I also find them more rewarding as you get to experience beautiful scenery, heritage sites and wildlife.
There’s something about being connected to nature that a treadmill or pavement will never beat.
#3: Join a Facebook Running Community
Facebook groups such as Trail & Ultra Running UK have added tons to my running journey.
With over 40,000 members, any questions you post get loads of expert and real world answers. I’ve asked about running injuries, what gear to buy, what to pack for ultras, even the best websites to buy running snacks. Everyone is so encouraging and helpful.
Other runners are also always posting pictures and Strava details of their runs, so it’s a constant source of inspiration.
💌 Learn Runner Psychology… in 5 Mins a Month
#4: Enter A Race – The More Unusual the Better
Join a race that scares you or motivates you or has a sense of adventure to it, like an easy ultra in an amazing setting or your first marathon abroad. Examples, include the Castle Race Series (triathlons in iconic castles), Tough Mudder (mud runs and obstacle course), Color Runs (the happiest 5km on the planet), or the Marathon Du Malton (with food and wine stops!).
Or you could enter an old fashioned marathon or half-marathon. They are a great way to challenge yourself, focus, and push your limits. Training for a marathon requires dedication, discipline, and a well-planned training program. You’ll get a real buzz as you increase your mileage and learn more about your body by incorporating speed work and strength training into your routine.
#5: Running with Music and Podcasts
I find solo runs a great opportunity to play my favorite Spotify playlists or immerse myself in an audiobook. Both keep me entertained and motivated, and I enjoy the company on longer distance runs. If you’re more interested in podcasts, there are plenty of options out there as well. From true crime to comedy, there’s a podcast for every interest. I find that listening to podcasts can be a great way to pass the time during long runs. Just be sure to choose a podcast that won’t distfract you too much from your surroundings.
There’s also times when I need to run without music. In total silence.
Many runners find that ditching the tunes leads them to a newfound appreciation for exercise. Without music, you can fully absorb the beauty of nature, engage with fellow runners, and embrace the rhythm of your own body.
In short, if you running without music, try without. And vice versa. The change can help you embrace the present moment, tune into your technique, brainstorm on the go, and rediscover your motivation.
#6: Mixing Up Your Workout With Cross Training
I’ve found that incorporating cross-training into my schedule greatly enhances my overall fitness and aids in preventing injury. Swimming and cycling are two of my preferred cross-training activities, as they help maintain my cardiovascular fitness while giving my running muscles a break. Additionally, I am trying to strength train more to build my core and leg muscles, not least to avoid recurrence of a niggling knee injury.
Hill reps are another valuable addition to my training sessions. By tackling steep inclines, I increase my leg strength and boost my overall running performance. Coupling this with regular intervals helps me pace myself for races, maintaining consistency in my 5k, 10k, and marathon distances.
#7: Join a Social Running Group or Club
Solo running can be a lonely form of exercise so it’s good to occasionally run with others.
Running clubs or meetup events make it easy to make new friends who share a passion for running. Participating in group runs not only helps me remain accountable, but also pushes me beyond my comfort zone. By setting and achieving goals together, there’s a sense of camaraderie and accountability that makes getting out in the bad weather days so much easier.
I also sometimes run with friends as it’s a great way to catch up and do something we both love.
#8: Download a Running App
Nike Run Club. Strava. Map My Run. Couch to 5k. There’s no shortage of running apps.
Strava – the world’s biggest social network for athletes
Use Strava to track your runs, see other people’s, and discover new routes in your local area.
With millions of athletes all over the world using it, Strava is the world’s biggest database of road and trail running routes. If it’s been run before, it’ll be on Strava.
Strava also collects a ton of data points, turning your phone into a sophisticated running coach. You can join challenges, track your progress, and deep dive into stats, such as average pace, elevation gain, heart rate, time splits, and any PBs picked up along the way. I also love Strava’s running community features, as other runners cheer on your efforts and you check out their’s and return the favour.
Couch to 5k – ease yourself into running
A partnership between the NHS and the BBC, Couch to 5k offers a flexible nine-week training plan that builds up from run/walks, while clever in-run features like milestone celebrations and a countdown timer help keep energy levels high.
There are tips, progress awards and a selection of trainers to guide you on your runs, such as Olympic gold medal athlete Michael Johnson and presenter Jo Whiley, and you can also tap into the Couch to 5K online community for more support.
#9: Hire A Running Coach Or Personal Trainer
For many people, hiring a running coach might seem out of reach. An expensive luxury for something that’s as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. Thanks to online running coaching apps expert advice has never been more accessible and affordable.
Hiring a good running coach will also do more than improve your running. Your tailored training schedule will come with guidance and coaching on how to eat healthier, recover faster, prepare for race day, achieve personal records, and improve your overall conditioning.
Read on: How much is a running coach?
#10: Take a Running Tour – Really Connect on Your Travels
Running tours are a unique way to explore a new city while getting exercise at the same time.
From short city runs to multi-day trail runs, they offer a different perspective on a destination’s landmarks, hidden gems and local culture, all while keeping up a good pace. A more authentic travel experience on fast forward.
#11: Moderation & Balance – Even Pro Athletes Need Rest
If you’re anything like me, running can become an obsession at times. But I now know that I need to maintain a healthy balance in my training routine.
To do so you can incorporate a variety of physical activities, not just running, to keep your fitness journey enjoyable and well-rounded. It’s also crucial to listen to your body and know when to slow down or take a break.
It’s also useful to reassess goals and establish new ones. Setting achievable and realistic goals doesn’t come naturally to me, but I’ve learned that it’s often more fun to get out on an awe run without having to worry about times or a rigid training schedule.
In Summary: Keeping Your Running Mojo For Longer
Turning to one or more of these tips will help you to rediscover that feeling when everything just clicks, and running feels effortless.
In conclusion, regaining my running mojo requires a combination of rest, setting or rethinking goals, a change of scenery, and the occasional social support.
Let me know what works for you too…
Related reading: How to Love Running (Again or As a Beginner)