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Getting Out of a Running Rut

Are you irritable when someone asks how your running is going? Do you dread when you have a run on the schedule? Finding any reason to skip your run?

You may be suffering from something that we often refer to as the dreaded running rut. (Insert horror movie scream)

Symptoms include:

  • Hating running

  • Not wanting to run

  • Every run feeling horrible

  • Doing a run because you feel like you're not a runner if you don't run

  • Constantly saying I "have to" run vs "I get to"

  • Hating all activities

No one is immune to falling into a rut. Elites, college athletes, everyday runners, and those just getting started can become disenchanted with the allure of running. Especially during training cycles and immediately after a big race it can sometimes be hard to find more reasons to lace up and get out the door. There is a big difference between a few days of the feeling and it lasting for weeks on end. One of the hardest things is admitting that your just not enjoying running. It's ok to have that feeling....

So the big question once you realize you are in a rut is "How do I get out of it?"

The good news is it doesn't have to be anything drastic. Some small steps can make a huge difference:

Get out of your routine: Don't go the same exact route that you always go. Find a new route, try a different time of day, change up your usual running days, anything to make it feel different.

Find new podcasts/ playlists to listen to: I constantly switch up my music, especially for different runs. I put on nostalgic music to make myself get lost on long runs so I think of other things that what I am doing. I'll hoard podcast from my favorite hosts so I have something extra special that excites me to start my run.

Take a running break: Hear me out.....sometimes the best thing to do to love running again is to take a break. Even the pros take breaks and do other things than running. It's healthy and honestly recommended to not just grind away at miles all the time. Trying new sports, workouts and give yourself the OK to not run can make you remember why you wanted to run in the first place.

Remember why you started running: What made you decide to run in the first place? What was the driving force that made you go "I want to run"? It could have been something completely frivolous and may no long apply. If that's the case, figure out a new "Why"---write down what makes you want to get out the door; big or small, unimportant or super important. Whatever it is just try to remember (or find out) WHY on earth you want to run---because let's face it we are all a little crazy and need to have a reason why LOL

Sign up for a random fun race just because: Not every race has to have a purpose. You can race just to race with no hopes of a new distance, PR or anything other than joy. Molly Seidel ran a race in turkey costume just because she wanted to have fun and she just won a friggen bronze medal in the Olympics---If she can be a dork running I'm pretty sure you can to. Do a color run, a costume run, run the slowest mile ever (another Molly reference) just do something wacky and random.

Watch an inspiring documentary/series/movie: There is nothing better than curling up on the couch with a meal or drink of choice and watching other people work their a$$ off for their goals. I love to watch old races, docuseries or really anything that shows the grind of sports (Even if it's not running). Some of my faves are "Quest for Kona", 2018 Boston Marathon, 2019 Olympic Trials, Lindsey Vonn: The Final Season, Brittany Runs a Marathon, Running the Triple Crown and Once is Enough.

Above all else, remember a running rut is usually temporary. We don't have to love what we do 24/7 365. There are days I struggle to go and run, write about running, think about running and all aspects of running. But I'll keep working to get out of the rut and put one foot in front of the other even if it's at a slower pace. Because at the end of the day, I love running even when I don't like it.
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