8 Ways to Start Running Again When You’re Just Not Feeling It

Healthy young people running race on seaside promenade

When you’re on fire, you know it.

Running is all you can think about. You plan your meals, sleep, and social life around your workouts, and although those runs may be tough, they’re the best part of your day.

After each one, you feel unstoppable, and you can’t wait until tomorrow, so you can do it all again.

But…

When you’re not on fire? When you’re not living for each run?

Well, that’s when running is hard. I’m talking really hard. It feels forced, and you know deep down that even if it looks like you’re running, you’re really just going through the motions.

As a runner, this is a dark place to be in. Not because a few bad runs are a big deal, but because as soon as running is no longer fun, it’s no longer productive. You get into a training funk, where workouts aren’t where they should be, and your mental game isn’t on point.

Runs get skipped. Workouts knocked down a notch. And race day disappoints (if you even make it to race day).

And though you may give yourself a pat on the back after you grind out a workout, you can’t help but remember all the times when you didn’t need to fight for each run — when you ran because running was all you wanted to do.

8 Ways to Break Out of Your Running Funk

Let me start by saying, “it’s okay.”

It’s okay to get in a rut like this. It doesn’t mean you don’t still love running. It doesn’t mean you can’t go on to achieve great running goals. It just means you’re in a rut, plain and simple.

And thankfully, ruts end.

I’m on the other side of a nearly year-long rut, and when I say that was discouraging and tough to deal with, I mean it. Running has been my life for a long, long time. And when I found myself no longer wanting to do it, it was like I had lost a piece of my identity.

When you’re in a funk that deep, quick tricks or hacks — like listening to a podcast or testing out a new pair of shoes — just don’t cut it.

So I made some pretty drastic changes to the way I trained, and how I viewed my running.

Matt has been in that same boat before, and together we’ve come up with eight ways to break free of the funk.

If you’re having trouble getting yourself to run, no matter if it’s because of the winter weather or it’s inside your head, we know the feeling. Here are actual solutions that have worked for us in the past, and can work for you today.

1. Have a goal that’s bigger than any one race. (Matt’s Tip)

There’s something to be said for living in the moment — savoring the joy of achieving one goal before you look ahead to the next.

But so many times now, I’ve made the mistake of finishing a race and then finding myself goal-less when it comes to running. This mistake never fails to result in a period of prolonged laziness.

I’m not saying that as soon as you cross the finish line of your half marathon, you need to start training for the next. What I suggest, instead, is that you have a bigger, longer-term goal to do the work of keeping you motivated.

So maybe your long-term goal is to run a marathon. When you finish your half, go ahead and celebrate it with a massive champagne battle in a locker room covered in plastic wrap … but because you know your half was just a stepping stone to the bigger goal of a full, you won’t be tempted to take three weeks off.

Which easily becomes three months. Trust me, I’ve done it.

2. Change the structure. (Doug’s Tip)

Training plans tend to follow a specific structure: Long run on the weekends, a workout or two mid-week, and a few recovery runs. Throw in 1-2 days off and the week is over.

When you’ve followed a plan like that for any period of time, it begins to feel like that’s the only way to maintain your fitness. And when that structure breaks down for any reason, motivation breaks down along with it.

This is what happened to me after having our baby. For awhile, I no longer had the time (or energy) to get out for my daily run. The structure collapsed, motivation collapsed, and the few runs I did get in felt useless.

So I sat down and reworked a plan far different than the normal structure: Three runs per week, two long and one fast. That simple shift worked for my schedule, and my attitude immediately shifted.

Your structure could look totally different. Maybe you’re just running 20 minutes a day, or running twice a week and going to yoga, or spending time in the saddle on off days.

Sure, there may be optimal training schedules for certain distances, but rarely is your life in an optimal place for training. Allow yourself to break free of that structure, and look at running and training as more of a fluid cycle than a rigid plan.

3. Track it. (Matt’s Tip)

When it comes to goals and routines, you’ll see a lot of benefits from tracking your results. Running is no exception — tracking helps reinforce the habit, especially when you’re trying to get back into it.

An interesting method of tracking I learned from Leo of Zen Habits is that of simply marking down a “1” when you run, and a “0” when you don’t. It’s a lot less intimidating to put together a string of 1’s than it is to have to write down every detail of every workout, especially when I’d be writing down paces that I would have scoffed at when I was in peak shape a few years ago.

Meticulous tracking has its place, sure, but if writing down “1 mile warmup, 8 X 400m at 1:30, 1 mile cooldown” isn’t doing it for you right now, try 1’s and 0’s.

4. Stop running. (Doug’s Tip)

That’s right, I said it.

NMA’s resident running coach just gave you the thumbs-up to stop running.

Because sometimes the best thing a runner can do is to not just run less, but stop running altogether.

Even many of the world’s best runners take weeks or months off during the off-season to allow the body and mind to rest. It’s like hitting the reset button, and after several weeks of little to no miles, your legs will almost certainly be itching to hit the road or trail.

And just because you’re not running doesn’t mean you can’t do other fun activities. In fact, this is the perfect opportunity to try out a different sport or cross-training. You could:

Or any other activity that you’ve been meaning to try, but haven’t had the time for because of running.

Or maybe… just maybe…

Spend a few weeks watching movies and taking naps.

5. Set a 4- to 6-week training challenge for something wildly specific. (Doug’s Tip)

I’m a challenge guy. Mini-goals within the context of a larger goal are big motivators for me to get out and push when I wouldn’t otherwise.

With a little structure, those mini-goals can end up propelling you towards the larger race or training goal.

For example, after a tough race experience where the hills beat me up, I took on a 4-week vertical gain challenge.

I’ve used run streaks, speed workouts, and strength exercise challenges all to keep me motivated and improving.

To set up a challenge like this, think of something that will be both fun and work on a weakness of yours. Maybe it’s consistency (run streak), climbing (vertical gain), or speed.

Once you have the goal, be specific when designing the challenge. Establish parameters and rules that provide structure you can apply to your training, and that will help keep you in check.

6. Train with a friend. (Matt’s Tip)

You always hear that it’s great to work out with a partner. They’ll keep you accountable, so the advice goes.

If you’re an introvert like I am, you’ve probably brushed it off and said to yourself, “That’s not for me; I motivate myself just fine, thanks.”

But if your running has stalled, make an exception and give it a shot. I’m not talking about running every single run with someone else, but establish a standing weekend long-run group, or an early morning outing once or twice per week with a friend.

Knowing that someone is getting up just like you — even if they’re just as cranky when they arrive — can make all the difference.

7. Change what running means to you. (Matt’s Tip)

When running came easy to you, it was because it meant something important.

Maybe that was a huge goal of losing weight, and now you’ve lost it. Or maybe it was running a certain distance, and now you’ve done it.

If it isn’t going so well now, look at what running means to you. If it still means weight loss, and weight loss doesn’t motivate you anymore, you need to find another reason to run.

Instead of the old motivator, make it about breaking 20 minutes in a 5K. Or being in shape to keep up with your kids.

Or make it about something that has nothing to do with fitness — make running your uninterrupted time each day to meditate, or to brainstorm, or to spend 15 minutes thinking of everything in your life that you’re grateful for.

When you see it in a new light, it’s amazing how completely different you feel, even during the run itself.

8. Become a different type of runner. (Doug’s Tip)

We runners tend to get set in our ways. We figure out what works for us, and stick to it. We get comfortable.

And comfortable is a motivation killer if I’ve ever heard of one. What likely drove you to running to begin with was some wildly inspiring, wildly uncomfortable goal.

So what if you flipped it and reversed it?

… Do you typically run marathons? Try truly training for a speedy 10K instead.

… Do you typically run roads? Commit to weekly long runs on the trail.

… Do you avoid the track at all costs? That’s right, train for a wicked fast 400m or track mile.

… Haven’t run an ultramarathon? Maybe now’s the time.

You can always go back to what’s comfortable, and you’ll likely be a better runner for it.

Taking Small Steps Out of Your Slump

The suggestions above are big — some very big — changes to the way you train or think about running. It’s those big changes that will likely have the strongest impact on pulling you out of a running slump in the long term.

But sometimes the first step towards a big shift is actually a small one. The tiniest acts — even just five minutes — could be what kicks off a comeback. Each time you take one of these steps, you’ll be grooving the habit deeper and increasing your desire to do it again.

So take one or two of the big actions above and start to work on it, but instead of going all in today, take your time. Start with just a few minutes of running today, and a few more tomorrow. When the time feels right to jump in with a larger strategy, you’ll know what to do.

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Comments

  1. i love this! and needed this so much right now. running has become less enjoyable so this week i have allowed myself to run just 3 miles at a time. like you i needed to break from my mileage heavy weeks and go back to basics. thank you for reassuring me this is okay πŸ™‚

  2. Great post. I got really busy and stressed and out of shape in 2011 because of multiple school/work obligations, wedding planning, etc. –> which led to weight gain –> which made me less fit –> which made running feel terrible! But I slogged away as slowly and shortly as I needed to and, finally, after months it feels good to run again. Not every day–some days it plain sucks. And I’m not as fast or fit as I was a year ago. But it’s DEFINITELY getting better.

    I think you’re right about lowering expectations and being forgiving to yourself. Do what you can and trust in the truth that slow, hard work will gradually pay dividends.

    • It’s so hard for me (and you too, I imagine) to understand that the path to making really big changes and getting back your old fitness is not with massive jumps but tiny steps to build momentum… still struggling with the idea. But the more I learn about change, that’s what it’s all about!

  3. needed this bad! Thanks!

  4. Wow, great minds think alike. I wrote the same kind of post today, more focused on maintaining motivation in the middle of the training cycle. But the recommendations are scarily similar.

    • You know, now that you mention it, I remember seeing a tweet from Jason Fitzgerald about your post… maybe that had a subconscious impact on my choice of topic? Looking forward to checking out your post to see the similarities.

  5. Amber Elizabeth says:

    Similar to #2 Run Less, sometimes it helps to get your clothes and shoes on and just go for a walk. It may end up as a run, it may not, but at the end you’ll be glad you got out of the house and off the couch. Don’t worry, netflix will wait for you.

    • Good tip, Amber. I’m sure going for a walk is even less intimidating than a 5-minute run. But it definitely gives you a lot of those same feelings of fulfillment and satisfaction (and sometimes more so).

  6. I needed this badly, too. Thanks, Matt. I’ve been taking a break to focus on yoga and now that I’m starting to see results there, I think it’s time to start putting running back into the mix.

    20 minutes it is!

  7. Thank you so much for posting this, you have no idea how much I AM IN THAT FUNK RIGHT NOW. I finished my first 10k in the frigid MN cold, and I sort of shut down. I didn’t have another goal set until March (a 7k) and then June (my first half).
    I’ve been in a slump for 3 to four weeks now, and I went from 15 miles a week to 4. Pretty pathetic.
    Today I realized I only have 100 days until my half, and it kind of woke me up.
    So this posting came just in time, thanks for that!

    • Sure thing, Hope! But if you just needed a break from running then, no amount of mileage is “pathetic”! You’ll be good for your half since you were running 15 miles a week recently. Just get started soon!

      • Ok but what if I haven’t run in like over a year? And when I did run I did like 5 miles tops..should I just go out and start running Because I want to but i don’t know if I can..this is weird but I feel like if I won’t be able to do 3 miles then I will just feel very frustrated and discouraged! anyways I hope you can answer I know all the pro runners on here probably don’t feel this way but I need help

  8. Matt, you couldn’t have written this post at a better time. These past two months have been trying times. I love running, but I feel like there’s a rift between how it made me feel when I started on this adventure two years ago and how I feel about it now. In fact, I can’t remember experiencing as blissful a whirlwind of emotions as when I ran my first 50K last April. I’ve ran several since, but it hasn’t been the same. I’m hoping my first 50 miler in 6 weeks will rekindle that passion I once had for running. We shall see. Nevertheless, thanks for sharing your perspective.

    • It’s a hard thing to figure out. The jump from 50K to 50 miles might do it for you; the few weeks after my first 50K is probably the proudest I felt of what I had become as a runner. I took about a month off after that, and in hindsight I wish I would have started running again after a week or so. So think, in advance, about how you’ll feel after the 50 and what (if anything) you want to go for next. Good luck!

  9. I was goal-less in January and it really impacted my mental state going into runs, I actually regressed progress wise. Luckily I found out about a half marathon and that helped me get right back on track and I am loving every minute of it!
    I’ll make sure I bookmark this for the next time I find myself in a rut.

  10. Something I did with my race schedule this year was to purposefully mix it up. Starting with an ultra, to a half, pacing at an ultra, another half, an ultra, a break, a 5k, a 10k and so on. Back and forth between trails and road, long and short. I might also add to your list volunteering at a race. Especially a marathon or ultra. Nothing like seeing the joy others have for running to get amped. It’s contagious. Or being able to cheer the back of the packers on to a monumental goal. That’s pretty cool.

  11. Perfect! Thanks for posting :0)

  12. Great sharing Matt! Been going thru the same the last 2 months… and the smaller blocks really help in bringing back the fun. I also get a boost out of running with those who are newly initiated to the joys of running and sharing with them my experiences….. it brings me back to the time when I was starting out and a mentor came into the picture.

    • Actually Paul, that might be a big part of why running with my friend has been effective. He’s relatively new at running, and most of the training we did was in preparation for his first ultra, so that did add to it considerably, now that I think about it. Great point!

  13. Hey Matt. I felt the need for a mental and physical break at the end of last year. I defined my start date as the first weekend in Feb rain or shine. I found myself chomping at the bit as the day came closer. I was so excited to run that day. Even though I sucked wind a bit it was magic again. I was able to fully detach and never felt guilty over my break. Snowboarding helped with that for sure. I’ve got several goal races this year culminating in my first Ultra in September. Soooo excited.
    Glad you are pumped again and looking forward to more ruining posts.

    • Interesting, Jason. I just recently learned (from Leo Babauta of Zen Habits) that when you’re inspired to make a change, one idea is to purposely NOT start immediately. Instead, you set a date a week or so in advance, so that the anticipation builds and as you said, you’re chomping at the bit to get started.

      I’ve never tried it but I definitely will now!

  14. What motivated me was coaching the Track Club in my City last year for their Cross Country season. I was getting into a rut- I mean you get to a point where it takes a TON of effort just to shave a few seconds off of a time, and you wonder if it’s really worth it. Well, that was me. But, coaching kids really helped me see why I loved running and I wanted to inspire them to love it too (so many kids don’t- running is other sports’ punishments, etc).

    With coaching, I ran with the kids, so I got a little workout in, but the kids are 6-11, so we only ran maybe 2 miles total at practice- and that was fine!

    Funny thing was, when I stopped worrying over so many training details and had little people who inspired me, I PRed in the 10K :).

    • Very cool, Amy. I haven’t done any coaching of kids at all, but it really does sound fulfilling. And I’d especially like to help them see running as something other than a punishment!

  15. Matt, that was shocking to read. Only because I feel exactly that way at times. It was like my inner self talking. Great piece, a pure gem!

  16. Thanks Matt for this article.

    One site that is great at tracking all kinds of stuff and visualizing it, is http://www.beeminder.com

    It’s free, it’s motivating and you should give it a try πŸ™‚

  17. Sylvie Audet says:

    OMG! Thank you for sharing that!!! I’ve been having such a hard time lately! can’t find the motivation to go out and run. I don’t feel like it, but I feel sooooo guilty about it! It’s comforting to know that even the best can feel that way too.

  18. Thanks for this article…this is how I’ve been feeling lately about running…just lost the spark and going through the motions. This article gave me a few helpful tips ESPECIALLY the one about not feeling guilty about not running! πŸ™‚

  19. Dying to get back at it- broke leg and had rebuilt 14 weeks ago. Just started walking on treadmill and almost up to 1 mile. Will start outside this weekend- Hope to run again in April and maybe a race in May or June

    i am 6’8 and 300# so RACE is a stretch for theterm- I go to events and have fun running with 100-500 or 30,000 friends.

  20. Wow, this article and so many recently have come to the aid of what you refer to as a “rut”. I am so in that rut and being a runner, have been for almost a year, not a few weeks or even a month but a whole year. I ran some in 2011 and even did a few races but they just weren’t fun to me anymore and I think that is where I lost my mojo for running. I lost the fun in the run. I did a 5k recently with a friend, only because it was her first and she asked me to and I forgot how fun they can be. I think I’m going to take your advice and get back out there if only for 5, 10, or 20 min. a few times a week and see how I feel. I continue to kickbox and do bikram yoga but I certainly miss my running.

    Thanks Matt!

  21. Jon Weisblatt says:

    Great timing Matt! After 10 marathons the past 8 yaers and running pretty much non stop the last few years, I strained a calf muscle and after 3 weeks off and some cross training I thought it was better until yesterday when I ran the first 2.9 miles feeling great and it tightened up a bit again the last 1/10. Maybe it’s time for an extended break and NOT feel bad about it. You are right! Sometimes it’s hard when I’m not out there and it seems like everyone else is. I need to remember there are other ways to enjoy a beautiful sunny day, or snowy day, or rainy day, etc…..

  22. I have worked out and try to stay fit but running is my nemesis. Any advice for someone who cannot run for more than 3 minutes but really wants to join Team in Training in the spring?

    Thanks,
    katy

  23. Monica carten says:

    Gosh it’s amazing how many people are going through this! I haven’t enjoyed morning runs lately as I feel compelled to at least match my pace or improve from previous day. In past I made sure I mixed up runnng outside with treadmill but so cold here in Denver at 530 with lots of snow- I’ve been too lazy to venture out. Allowing myself to run smaller distances is probably just the thing I should do! Thanks!!

  24. Great article, Matt. I was ‘off’ for 3 months myself (plantar fasciitis helped) and am just beginning to get the fire back. As one of my virtual running gurus, American 50k champ Josh Cox, put it, “A short run is infinitely better than no run at all”. Love your 1-0 zen record-keeping technique.

  25. I am not a runner, but this advice fits with working out generally.

    I especially liked the point about allowing yourself to do less. In my experience, this is the key of success as often these “high expectations” can be real killers.

    Once, I hear Gretchen Rubin of the “Happiness Project” say that her dad used to say that once you wear your athletic shoes and get out the door, then this is considered a run.

    Perfect demonstration of lowering expectations!

  26. This article is just what needed! In Jan I ran my 1st marathon. Was so upbeat with training 3 days a wk and long miles on weekends. When the marathon ended I was living the experience! A person who trained me said I need to slow down a bit. I never listened! 3 wks ago, while running my knee started acting up. I haven’t run since. I am all ears now! Last wk I began walking w/o overdoing it. I am regaining my motivation. I rode 19 mi a couple of days ago. No problems! In fact, I believe this will be how I approach running, mix it up with biking. The other factor with this injury is running shoes. Thanks again for the article. My goal is to start off slow and run another Half right before summer. Go back and train once againg for another Marathon.

  27. Runlong says:

    It’s nice to know “it’s not just me”. I have been reciting an “I suck big time” mantra because I just haven’t had the motivation i used to. I used to wake up in the morning and start planning how my day would fit around a run. Then everything stopped, I put on weight and I’d get down on myself that suddenly running 15 minutes felt like an eternity. What’s wrong with me? Why don’t i LOVE running like I used to? Now i realize that we all experience this rut and we all take different amounts of time to get over it. Here’s wishing me, you and the rest of the posters a really healthy and active 2012!

  28. hi matt! thanks so much for this post. ive been in a serious rut and just like you describe, anything less than my former baseline of 6 miles seems so lame…but i am learning to let myself be okay with 20 minuters and its been great. heres hoping my half marathon next month doesnt turn out disastrous as a result…

  29. Hi Matt!
    I’ve never been one to say “I *LOVE* running” but it has most definitely become a part of my life over the last 4 years. In the last 2 months, I have been the antithesis of this article – I have thankfully rediscovered my running mojo after a really tough year… And now my friend has asked me to get her back in the groove for a half in September – we ran our first half together 3 years ago πŸ™‚ Thanks for this post – I appreciated it and am definitely going to pass it along!!

  30. Thanks. I wanted to (but didn’t want to πŸ™ ) run tomorrow morning after three weeks of vacation (and potato gratin) and was looking for some motivation. I think I just found it! πŸ˜€

  31. Thank you so much for this, it was timely. Went for a run with hubby last weekend and I was left walking after him because I simply don’t have the drive anymore. I stopped running earlier this year due to kneepain and on doc’s advice. Now I am struggling to return to my former love. I missed the rush and serenity – but last weekend I was so surprised at how easy it was for me to simply give up and WALK! But I am taking your advice – small steps then πŸ™‚ Thank you so much

  32. Great article! Trained all last Spring/Summer for a half marathon in September and once it was done the predictable happened! So, I’m going to aim for the bigger picture of a full marathon in 2014, and do at least two half marathons this year, along with the usual 5 and 10ks. BUT, I’m going to start tomorrow with your ‘only 20 minutes allowed’ rule and build up from there! What a BRILLIANT approach – none of the disheartening thoughts of “but I was running 6-miles as standard a few months back”. Twenty minutes and no more – and a new Garmin to track my progress! I’m feeling excited and motivated already!

  33. Matt, Some good advice here. I ran for almost 30 years with a few short breaks, then I took an almost two year break. My wife and friends wondered what was wrong, I said I just need a stop from exercise. Now that I’m trying to motivate myself to restart, I feel like it will take a very long time to get back there. Breaks are good, but you need to be mentally prepared for the work of getting back in shape.

  34. Thanks so much for this. This is exactly how I’ve been feeling. Almost 2 years ago I started running, started being the key word. I’d never been a runner, unless forced to in gym class.
    One day I decided I was going to enter a 5K, and to make myself accountable I annouced to every person I came into contact with. You can image my husbands shock. I didn’t go from being a couch potato. I was fairly active in walking 3 -5 miles a day and mountian biking, just not running. It literally became an obsession. I planned my whole day around my run!!!!!! After finishing the 5K and placing 3rd in my age group, I no longer had anything to work for. Since then I’ve entered 2 more 5K’s and placed 3rd in both, but the spark wasn’t there. I despised the training and would often make excuses. But I still loved the races.
    This morning before I left for work, I packed my running clothes, something I hadn’t done in awhile. I accidentally came across this and it’s the encouragement I needed. I’m ready to fall in love with running again.
    Thanks!!!!

  35. MAGGIE TALAMANTES says:

    thank you
    i really needed to read something like this. my motivation has been really down since december. it seems like i just gave up. but 20 minutes a day is realistic and maybe i can build myself up again. thank you

  36. Loved this post on motivation and changing in up matt! In the past I got an injury on an 7 mile run myself (achillies flare up) and rather then be disappointed as i needed to heal it- i started a strength and mass gain program which had no running and full recovery for max strength. Results were I bulked from 86kg to 97kg and was ALOT stronger. When I went back to running 5mths later it was so fun again πŸ™‚

  37. Wow, this was so cool to read. I wasn’t expecting it to cheer me up, but it certainly did. I’m not a marathon runner, I just do it for weight loss, that feel good sensation and just because it’s nice to do something to stay healthy, but I was kind of feeling down because I got shin splints a while ago and I couldn’t run for like 3 months, but I’ve recently started, so this was great. Thanks.

    • Hey, this sounds a lot like me. I’ve taken 3 months off due to shin splints and I want to get back into it, but I’m not sure how to tell if my lower legs have fully recovered. How did your legs feel when you started up again? It seems like mine are still not perfect but that could just be because the muscles in my legs have shrunk quite a lot since I stopped exercising.

  38. Thank you for this article. I finished my one and only marathon almost 4 years back when I turned 40. then I had joint pains in my knees, ankles and neck, so at my doctor’s recommendation I have stopped running. and I just couldn’t bring myself to walk (it just didn’t give me the same enjoyment) and so, I let go of myself and did no physical activity. I hate how I feel (sluggish, lethargic) and every time I want to get back to running, I set up these high goals of 5 miles or nothing. 1 hour or nothing like I did 4-5 years back. anything less or short was just unacceptable to some one like me who finished a marathon or so I kept thinking and saying to myself. and when I couldnt run for even 15 min straight, I would get discouraged and beat myself up and just give up for a few weeks/months.

    yesterday night, I came across a quote attributed to Babe Ruth “yesterday’s home runs dont win today’s games”, it just clicked. here I have been enjoying the fact that I trained for and finished a marathon, that I some how expect myself to run for 1 hour straight now even after a 4 year break… this morning, I told myself, I will run 1 and only 1 mile no matter what and just stop. and I did. it felt so good to be able to set a goal and finish it even if the goal is drastically lower/smaller than what I have ever set. the feeling of sense of accomplishment was no less. I decided to run for the rest of the week 1 and only 1 mile a day. no more than that. I just want to get back into the habit of just getting out of the bed and going for a run.

    and now I came across your article.. and your #2. Run Less was exactly what I needed to hear and read again and again. Thank you, Kay.

  39. i’m so sad, i haven’t been able to run for 8 months now, I’ve been an avid runner for 10 years, and due to knee pain I took time off, went to so many doctors, done intensive strength training, glute exercises, had MRI’s, X-rays, ultrasounds, physical therapy, cortisone injection(bad) never again, had acupuncture, and PRP. I’m going crazy nothing is helping and i refuse to give up. I’m so sad, i see runners out and cry. I see the mountains and cry I miss the trails, miss my friends, miss it all. I don’t know what else to do. Considering stem cell therapy, but i can’t afford it, help help help.

  40. This was absolutely fantastic! I have definitely been feeling the “running funk” this year after being a competitive runner for about 12 years. That all ended when I got very sick for about five months and now that I’m finally well it feels like the 5 mile runs even a few times a week are forced. It is devastating! I just want my love for running to come back! Your idea to get out and run for even 20 minutes has truly inspired me. I am already pumped to go out and run today πŸ™‚ Thank you!!!!!!!

  41. Thank you so much for this post and motivation!! After my second Ironman in Sept I have backed off running for nearly 3 months. I’ve kept active with other workouts just not so much running and today I ran again and it felt so tricky and I am exhausted now all day. I appreciated your reminder to start slow. Even with 20 minutes or so and I can combine it with other things. Thank you. I will get back into running by mid Jan to train for my next Ironman.

  42. I an SO glad I stumbled upon this. I used to run 64 miles a week, (no kidding) 8 years ago then I got really sick and stopped and gained weight over 200lbs. My illness was/is mental but I’m getting better. I just got back from running 2 hours ago and I feel energized! My body remembers what it’s supposed to do nobody needs to tell you but the trick is drink LOTS of what the day before.

    Running is mental as much as physical GOD I know this. This advice is really good everyone is different.

  43. Thanks for the article, it really made me feel a lot better at taking a break last winter! I’m training for my half now which is coming soon. And I am looking forward for my first marathon this October! Can’t wait, stay strong and keep running! πŸ™‚

  44. joey garcia says:

    absolutely been in a runless funk for months! thank you for the motivation…. been a vegetarian for the last 25 years and a runner for about 12 years and hope to begin again!!

  45. It’s been great reading everyones comments. Thank you! I ran a marathon last year, loved every minute of it loved the training, LOVED running. One thing lead to another and I’ve barely run since and i miss it so much, but I just can’t get back into the swing of things and my fitness has dropped significantly. I keep trying to go out for 3 milers to get me back in to it but i just keep remembering when 10-15 miles used to be easy. My legs feel like cement! I’m going to do 20 minutes today. NO MORE!

  46. Thanks….great article, I am just getting back into running after a loooong break. The bit about about allowing myself to take it slow at first, enjoy it and find my appetite again is especially helpful for me at the moment. Thanks again from a fellow non meat eater! πŸ™‚

  47. Jason moore says:

    I ran 3 times a day at my peak when I was in the forces but when I came out my motivation went it was the couldn’t be bothered attitude but now as the years have passed and the weight has been put on now do I realise how stupid I’ve been so thanks for that pep talk its making me realise nothing is impossible

  48. My mom got diagnosed with cancer and I just totally lost my motivation to run, eat healthy, or anything! I really enjoyed this article and it was so motivating .. I miss running every day and I just need to get out and try! Thank you xoxo

  49. I know that you wrote this article a long time ago but it’s helped me as well as the many others who have commented. I took a 10 year break from running while I decided to explore the world of tobacco and alcohol πŸ™‚ Fun!…or. Over the years there’s been a few times when I tried to get back into running and I was always able to make it up to the three or four mile mark with in a few weeks (even at a pack a day) but then it would fade. I decided I needed a little motivation so I signed up for a half marathon in about 6 months. The whole half marathon thing aside my main goal is to enjoy running again, the 20 minute cardiac benefit minimum always got me going in the past, but the small habit changes are a newer tool that is proving useful (nerdfitness helped in that arena). Thanks for the mojo!

  50. Sitting here in what seems to be an ongoing funk and decided to google “how to get back to running”. In 2012, I went running with my husband around a nearby lake, approx 5.6 miles, and couldnt even run 1/4 of the first mile. I sucked and was beyond frustrated. My husband is in phenomenal shape and very competitive. “I suck” got stuck in my head BIG time! I went back to that lake every day and kept pushing myself to run that firat 1/4 mile and within 2 months, the run became the entire lake. First time, completed it in about an hour and 40 minutes. Best time was 50 minutes and when that got boring, I started running the neighborhood. Lots of hills here and worked my way up to 10 miles. All the while, I started with a personal trainer at the gym who was a beast and pushed me beyond what I thought capable. Okay, he was mean and I hurt everywhere, every single day but damn, I was in fantastic shape! Then it happened. Was a at a Mormon wedding g of all places and my foot was broken in 3 places due to a rather heavy man sitting his metal chair on top of my foot, not once but three times! Couldn’t do anything for 8 weeks and after that, getting back to the gym for a zumba class hurt too much. By this time, all motivation was lost. I also found out that my eldest son was secretly struggling with a serious addiction problem and that too, sent me into something I still can’t quite put into words. I lost my oldest son in April of 2013 to suicide, and having 3 more boys, all my focus was on everyone else to help qnd see them through it. Its now March of 2017 and I have been to the gym a handful of times but nothing serious enough to get me back where I once was. Even so I know physical activity is fantastic for peace of mind, I can’t seem to get myself motivated enough to take even the smallest steps. My mind screams that I do something! I won’t lie, I did not like running when I was doing it. Loved it as a kid and in Jr high & highschool track and field but as an adult? Nope, its tough! Perhaps I’m a sissy though I’d like to think not? Every speck of my being is wanting to get back to being active and in shape. I lived off of coffee and started smoking when learning of my son’s troubles. My eating habits are quite embarrassing. I can go days without eating. I can eat a little or eat a lot but mostly drink coffee. Stress, bad eating and a broken heart has actually made me quite ill. Couldn’t stop throwing up from pains that appeared to be stabbing in the liver? Did several tests and even went turned to naturopathy for help. Learned I was toxic, went back to GI doc and found that my gallbladder was the size of a large grapefruit. Was taken for emergency surgery but was septic, did antibiotics for 24 hours, surgery and pain was gone! My digestion has not been normal since. As mentioned, my body is begging that I start investing in physical wellness, which led me to googling about getting back to running. I believe running will do wonders for not just my body but also my mind! Its weird how the brain works in that if I went and ran for only 5 minutes, I would feel back to sucking. Funny thing is, it already feels that way because I do nothing and 5 minutes is better than that! Looks like I need to go for a walk at that same lake and if it turns into a little run, I’m on my way! Your article gives me hope, knowing that I am not alone in how the mind can play tricks on us. If you have any more suggestions, I would very much appreciate learning about them!!!

  51. Kristi Glover says:

    I ran consistently 6 miles a day for the last 2years. Prior to that I would run about 7 miles twice a week and 4 miles with weight training every other day of the week. I have been running for 11 years. Numerous charity runs with family. I ran at 4:30am before work everyday of the week. I got around 5 to 5.5 hours a sleep. I was comfortable with my weight. Then, over a 5 month period running starting to be a chore. I had to give everything to finish my 6 miles a day. I was starting to dreed it but there was no way I was going to stop. I felt incredibly off if I ever missed a day. And I made sure I never missed more than one day never 2 days in a row. I had never missed two in a row for 2 years.

    Then in November I fell roller skating and broke my tailbone and developed britis on my buttocks. I had to take 6 weeks totally off (I could barely walk yet alone run). I went to PT for 6 weeks. Since then, I have started swimming. Major change in cardio fitness and my lifestyle. I have to go in the evening and now I am getting around 7 hours of sleep. I have to admit I do feel much better since I have gotten more sleep. I also have a peaceful cup of coffee with my husband. We have 5 kids so peaceful times are rare. However, when I go to the gym in the evenings, I missed some time with my kids.

    I am now noticing the muscle in my legs are changing and I feel like I am gaining weight. I am really frustrated and down.

    I am wondering if a trained coach could design a program which keeps my cardio system in shape, muscles strong and reduce the weight I have gained. My husband and my kids don’t believe I have gained weight. I am definitely not as toned. I want someone who can keep me in shape and help me progress back into running. Any suggestions?

  52. Running always seems to be the most effective cardio workout. However, I do experience some issues with breathing. The problem is, I don’t even get to the point of feeling my muscles burn because I feel like my lungs are collapsing. This doesn’t happen with any other workout. Is there some sort of breathing technique that could solve this problem? Again, this happens only when I’m running.

Trackbacks

  1. […] some back posts of the No Meat Athlete, Matt Frazier, and found myself gravitating to his postΒ 8 Way to Start Running Again When You’re Just not Feelin’ It. I have read it before, but I don’t think I ever actually *needed* to read it. As I went […]

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