Finding Your Running Motivation

After Ragnar, and maybe even a little before, I went into some major run slump-age.  And as we all know from reading our Dr. Seuss, un-slumping yourself is not easily done.  

August was a perfect shitstorm of mojo killing circumstances.  Tired, post-Ragnar legs?  Yep.  Family emergency? Yep.  Illness/horrible summer cold?  Yep.  Family vacation?  Yep.  For me, coming back from just one of these things is a pain, let alone all of them.  I'm in the throes of another horrible cold (yay, the school year has begun) so, I'm trying to remind myself how I got out of my August slump.  If you're dealing with any of these roadblocks, here are some things that helped me feel less slumpy.

Run faster!  Simple - yet, not so simple.  This was the hardest conclusion for me to reach on my road to motivation.  After being sidelined for more than a week, I usually feel the need to 'take it easy.'  The last thing I need is to get an injury.  But, I then I easily find myself in yet another rut of always running easy.  And running slow all the time makes me feel slow and afraid to attempt any kind of interval or tempo workout, for fear of failure.  Who exactly am I failing?  Myself, I suppose; and that's the worst.  However, throwing in some intervals or tempo miles can really be invigorating and reassuring.  

didn't think I had any 7:xx paces in me right now, but I definitely dipped under an 8 minute pace for some 800s
I'm probably not the only runner who has a tendency to underestimate myself.  I worry too much about how slow my 'fast' paces might be.  Yet, once I put in some effort, I've been pleasantly surprised that the numbers on my Garmin are going in the right direction.  And there's not much that compares to getting into an awesome cycle of seeing improvement, which is motivating in and of itself to work harder and see change.  Huzzah!  Which leads me to...

New toys!  OK, so buying that brand spanking new Garmin pictured above is a bit extreme.  However, it's something that had been on my mind for, oh, at least two years and I had birthday money to spend.  And, it's been such a joy to do speed workouts outside.  WIN.  

Or new clothes! Always a motivator, AMIRIGHT?  And it's a little bit easier on the wallet than a new GPS watch.  I always look forward to putting on beautiful new gear.  Right now I'm obsessed with my new Oiselle charcoal strappy bra.  

I could also wear my bum wrap and new flyte tank all the livelong day
They took the original strappy and gave it some more coverage and compression.  It is so supportive and comfortable.  Not only are the straps super stylin' - they reduce pressure points along my shoulders.  I usually end up wearing my workout clothes for much of the day, and after a long one, the standard racer back bras begin to dig into my neck and shoulders.  Not conducive to happy running.

Change your route!  This is tough for me, because the best time to run is in the late morning while I have childcare at the Y.  I know the streets that surround it like the back of my hand, which can be nice when I want to run 'naked' and go for an easy six without said Garmin.  But it gets stale.  I've started running some of my routes backwards, or doing different workouts on different terrain.  For example, normally I do my tempo runs on a one mile loop that's relatively flat and has zero stoplights.  This week I did my tempo on a more scenic and hilly route, and it was tougher, but went by a LOT faster.  

Make plans!  Another thing that has been hard for me to grasp, is that making plans and setting goals doesn't always have to revolve around a race.  Whoa.  What?!  I am loosely following a 10K plan to work on my speed and to maybe revisit the Sonohomish River Run 10K.  However, with my son having soccer through the end of October, it's been hard for me to fit in a race on my favorite race day - Saturdays.  And, kiddo's last game of the season is the same day as the 10K.  There's a possibility that I will be able to go home for the Chicago Hot Chocolate 15K, but things aren't set in stone, so it's hard to use either as motivation.  My main focus right now is to build up my speed, try to hit 20 miles a week, and get back to bootcamp at least once a week.  I've found that mileage goals are pretty motivating, as are hours or days per week - maybe even better for those that need more immediate gratification than a race that may be months into the future.

So nice to see the numbers goin' up, especially after big fat zero week 30

New Tunes!  Yes, there's a reason that I look for a new song every Friday.  Especially when you find a really great one that can be played on a loop for the entire workout.  Love it when that happens.

I can say for sure that I'm 100% un-slumped right now and I've had more good miles than bad, and that's an awesome feeling.  Now if I could just build myself a bubble to keep the elementary and preschool cold germs away, I'd be all set...


  1. Ooo is the new charcoal strappy really more coverage?! The other one isn't comfy to me because it's too short shoulder to under the bust. I was afraid to try again, maybe I can find in a store to see it. And yes, new clothes are such a motivator!

    1. I never tried the old strappy, but if you look at pics of both, you can see that there's much more material and they added compression according to the product description. Seriously great, I bought TWO.

    2. I thought it looked like that too! I was just skeptical to order and send back again. :)

  2. Glad to hear you were able to pull out of the slump...now here's hoping you can kick that cold soon!

  3. I agree with all of these! I have been in a running lump lately too. Did some speedwork yesterday and felt amazing! Hope you feel better soon:)

    1. I think a LOT of folks have been in a slump lately, we are not alone!