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One Tip Wednesday: In a rut? Time to kick butt!

We’ve all been there. Those days that you feel very “un-runner-ish.” You wonder why you ever started. Ugh. Running. Who needs it? Those days when almost anything sounds better than running. You’re excited to clean up last night’s dirty dinner dishes instead of lacing up and heading outside. You start tidying up your inbox, reading junk mail, pairing socks. Anything that will help you procrastinate or avoid your run altogether.

Last week you started noticing an overwhelming number of “normal” people out and about at decent hours–like 10:00am–walking their dog, reading the paper and sipping coffee on a Starbuck’s patio.

Why can’t I be more like them? Why do I have to get up at crazy hours and go sweat it out in the early morning rain? Or, dodge 5:00 o’clock traffic and the glare of the setting sun in the evening?

And then you realize:  ah, the running rut strikes again!

It’s yucky. It’s a downer. It makes me eat more cheese.

The worst thing about the running rut is that it sneaks up on you. Remember when your kid was a toddler (or maybe that was today) and they got that scrunched-up-panicked-pre-cry-red-face that said, “I’m gonna LOSE it any second if I don’t eat or get a nap or both!” And then the next second happens and they explode and you think, dang, I didn’t see that coming!

A rut can sneak up on you like that, too. So, today’s tip can help you get past it…. in a way you might not expect.

I’m not going to tell you that you probably need a rest (though you probably do) or that you might be over training (though that’s entirely possible) or that it’s the universe telling you to take up water polo (don’t do that.)  I have something else in mind.

the TIP: In a rut? Then it’s time to kick butt! Pick a challenge and do it.

Sometimes when we are in a rut it’s because we’re bored. Our mind is bored, our body is bored. Same routes, same time, same thing. Here are 4 ways to mix it up by picking a challenge instead and double-dog-daring yourself to stick with it.

  • Run your route backwards. Seems simple enough, but we often forget that something small can change your outlook entirely. (Think happy-faced toddler after a nap.)
  • Add speedwork and/or train for a race. Even adding just a few Fartleks to your running each week will change things up. (Of course, registering for a race is a guaranteed motivator to get out the door.)
  • If your regular route is 30 minutes, go longer. Try 35 or 40.
  • (And my personal favorite) See a hill, run a hill. If on your regular road route, you spy a hill, go run it. See another one? Do that one, too!

the WHY: Because sometimes we have to kick our own butts

Yes, sometimes we are indeed worn out, burned out, and need a complete change. Those times are for real, momma, and should not be ignored. I’m all about chilling when you need to. But if you find yourself in a running rut, I suggest tweaking your route with a challenge. It does a few things:

  • The change can snap you out of that dark “ordinariness” feeling
  • The increase in workout from your challenge will make you feel way more bad a#$
  • It will tell your brain that you reject the mundane, the boring, that you are a runner and runners are all about adventure!

You’re very powerful, you know. And, of course, I believe in you!

P.S. Another great way to get out of a rut is try something brand new with your running. If you’re a road runner and want to try trails, I invite you to join our Facebook Trail Running Group for women. It’s a community to celebrate and support each other on our trail adventures. C’mon along.

What do you do to shake things up and get you out the door when the blahs set in? Let me know below cuz I always need new ideas on that one!

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