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I've somehow lost my mojo.
Here's my story. I never ran a step till about five-six years ago. I caught the bug and since ran several 5 and 10K's. Four marathon's and maybe a dozen halves. I'm a dedicated 50+, slow, 'back of the back' type runner, but enjoy it nevertheless. All of a sudden I did not start on some races I had paid for, lost the will to train and struggle to get out once a week now where a minimum of three a week was my norm. I'm gourging on ice cream when I used to feast on reading Runners World. What the hell is going on I'm wondering.
I don't think it is burn-out, but who knows. I tried the normal tricks- sign up for a race (see above), try to find running buddies to keep me on schedule, lay out my running stuff the night before, nothing is helping me catch the fire again. I even tried starting the C25K program again. That lasted about two sessions.
Any help, tips or suggestions????
I wish I had an answer for you but all I can do commiserate since I have also "lost my mojo" big time and I don't know how to get it back either. I hope we both find an answer.....good luck!
I'm a newer runner so I haven't experienced this with running per say, but I have had it happen with other sports that I've been very involved with. The first question I always ask myself is, how do I feel after I'm done? In the case of running, when you do go out, do you come back with that, "I feel good, why don't I do this more often?" glow, or do you come back feeling tired and discouraged? If you come back feeling good, it might help to find a way to remind yourself of that feeling, whether it's posting on here in the "My last run was...." forum or somewhere else (a blog, Facebook status, anything). By actually writing down how you feel after a good run you process the thoughts in a stronger way that your brain remembers. But, if you get back from running feeling discouraged or apathetic about the whole thing, that's another problem entirely. Then the question becomes, "what did you used to get from running that you don't get anymore?" Maybe you got burned out from the regularity of the runs or the route, or maybe the endorphins that used to pump kind of leveled out. If that's the case, maybe you need to find a new angle, for example trail running rather than road running (or vice versa) or looking at some of those "race up the sides of mountains" events that take a totally different kind of training.
One of the real challenges of running is that it's such a mental sport that things that might not affect you in other sports can be mojo killers; at least this is what I'm finding so far in my limited experience. As I said, I'm new to this world, so take what I say as you will. I hope you get your mojo back soon.
3/19/11 Holy Grail 5K 36:20 (First 5K)
4/10/11 Wellness 5K 30:48
4/23/11 Stonyfield 5K 30:28
5/7/11 Dover 5K: 29:39
5/23/11 Get Fit in May 5K 29:44
5/29/11 Redhook 5K 29:32 (PR)
6/11/11 Market Square 10K 1:08:40 (First 10K)
8/18/11 Saunders 10K 1:07:35.49
9/5/11 St. Charles Childrens' Run: 29:54
9/10 Fox Point 5 Mile: 49:03
9/25 Holy Grail 5K: 32:33 (with bronchitis)
10/9 Great Island 5K 32:54.23 (still with bronchitis)
11/13 Seacoast 1/2 Marathon: 2:31:39 (1st 1/2 Marathon)
1/1/12 First Run 10K 1:4:45 (PR)
2/19/12 Half at the Hamptons 2:28:18 PR
3/24/12 Holy Grail 5K 28:17 PR
4/21/12Whale of a 5K (first trail race) 30:24
3/30/12April Fools 4 Miler 36:39 (9:10mm)
6/12/12 Margaritas 5K 27:52 (9mm) PR
I had the same problem a while back. I look at it like a relationship. They'll be peaks and valley's and sometimes you just won't feel it. Try something new like biking or paddling for awhile. I switched to biking after getting bored with running but came back to running. Then because I had gotten proficient at biking ended up doing a few triathlons! You don't HAVE to run (but you should). Also, perhaps try running or racing with a group of people. Sometimes having other people to be accountable to helps as well.
My best advice is to mix up your runs, change speeds, courses, time of day something to make it different. Try music if you run with music try running without music. I run with a group and that helps me a lot we change where we run every day but Wed which is always a track day. I also find my running is very much connected to my life, so if I am having issues with my life it also effects my running. Good luck lifetime goals are what we all need!
My story is very similar to yours, I also have had battles with losing my running mojo in the past. The thing that has always gotten me back on track is that over time I've learn to love training. I love learning about new ways to train, I love that in my advanced age (53) I've become much more patient and thus am accepting that it takes time to improve (stay patient stay committed see results), I love the feeling of a super hard workout and that I'm now able to recover and do another the next day. In a nut shell I started running nearly 5 yrs ago and at that time I "trained to race" now I've become more of a "race to train" kind of guy. Still love the races but have broken it down to a day to day kind of enjoyable hobby. 5 years ago I didn't think it possible but today, I just love to train and in every race I get to celebrate that commitment to training. What a gas!!!
Hope you get your mojo back soon and feel the joy again!!
Quote from Bob Moawad " You can't make footprints in the sands of time if you are sitting on your butt. And who wants to make buttprints in the sands of time"
2008 - Grandma's marathon - 4:51 2011 - Get in Gear 1/2 marathon - 1:46
2009 - Get in Gear 1/2 marathon - 1:49 2011 - Green Bay marathon - 3:51
2009 - Grandma's marathon - 4:13 2011 - Grandma's marathon - 3:45
2009 - Twin Cities marathon - 4:02 2011 - Minneapolis Pride 5k - 21:31
2010 - Grandma's marathon - 3:58 ya hoo!
2010 - Twin Cities marathhon - 3:55
Kegan, I'm one of those people who tend to get bored with something fairly quickly which is why I've never stuck by any one sport for more than 6 months. I've since tried multi-sport training and it has done a world of good for me.
I would suggest enhancing your runs by adding another sport that you enjoy. It could be anything, swimming, biking, tennis, kayaking. Whatever gets you out and about and keeps your body moving.
I wouldn't give up running entirely, but you could modify your runs. Rather than signing up for a basic road race, you might consider giving trail runs a try. Or if your really into something completely different, look into signing up for a mud run. I just signed up for my first mud run today and quite frankly, I'm really excited about it.
Good luck to you.
I have had the same issue this year and I think mine is due to weather. .. sounds hokie, but I am pretty connected to weather. . I am an "early riser" in the spring/summer time, rising at 4 or 5am with the birds/sun. This year though, we've had such a cool and wet spring that there is nothing to perk me up. In the last week or so though, the birds are chirping at 5am and I am finding myself getting energized then too.
It doesn't help that there has been a 'low" over Iowa for about a month--cloudy, cool, weather that just makes one want to make chili and veg!
My mom had a heart attack around Easter and then a massive stroke a few weeks later. Unfortunate, but this has actually MADE me exercise more--I have to do something I have control over and mom is very proud that I started exercisign/running given my medical issues i have, and likes to brag about my husband and me (he's a cyclist). . . my other siblings, one does some running, all have the grandkids and we don't. Giving mom updates on how we do at races and in training is helping to motivate her some, which helps to motivate me and my husband too.
adult running life commenced: March 2009
2012 Rock n Roll USA Marathon 5:28:53 unseasonably hot day, full sunshine, sunburned and dehydrated during race
Omaha Maraton 5:17: __ yeah, new PR! Too bad the brain got in the way and slowed me down! ---recycled glass finisher medals.
April Fools 5K 32:13.7 age division: 28/71
7th half: Kansas City Hospital Hill 1/2--this thing is tough, but the heat/humidity were tougher: 2:45:43
8th half: Park 2 Park 1/2-New PR 2:21 and change
St. Louis FULL Marathon (my first!!!) Hilly, hilly, course full of turns 5:24
Sullivan Bros. Veterans' 5K 30:10 New 5K PR
4th half (5/1/10) --ran injured, DUMB move.
Sullivan Bros. Veteran's 5K/10K (11/2010) 1:07:17.7
6th half: Vegas half (12/2010) New PR! woot woot. 02:27:58
St. Patricks 8K (Wash. D.C.) (3/2009)
1st half 3:04 (5/2009)
10K 1:17 (10/31/09) HOT, humid, Kaua'i
3rd half: Vegas 1/2 (2:34:48) (12/2009)
I will live my life; life lived in fear is not living. ~~me
I've been running for a little more than 2 years now, and luckily have not lost my mojo yet. But I have recently taken on swimming and biking to start training for triathlons and it is making me want to run more than ever. I feel like I don't have enough time to do each one, so my time with running I savor the most. I would try adding cross training of any kind to mix up your workouts. Maybe you will be wanting your running days to come faster! Good luck!
I don't know if you have any toys you like to use to run. If you don't have one, consider getting a Garmin or other watch that will tell you your times and distance you run. This will let you look back at your runs and it always gives me a sense of accomplishment that maybe I took for granted. Or maybe go get new shoes like some Vibram five fingers or a hydration belt.
I'm not a shopper at all. I like to go in and pick up what I want and not spend time in stores, but toys are fun to get and if you don't want to spend money, think of something to do that is different than normal. Just mix things up
Hmmmm. Interesting. The combination of ice cream and lack of motivation seems to point to some other problem. Also the "slow back of the pack" runner seems kind of telling. You are only 50+, and you seem to be giving up and accepting your level of fittness. Therefore, why keep running? Consider that everything you do has trade offs. If you train a little, you can be a lot healthier and a lot faster. The faster you get, the "funner" the running becomes. The more in shape you are, the more you feel like running. I am not really a runner, but I decided to train hard one year, and I was able to qualify and run Boston at the age of 56. What was even more interesting is that I ran my fastest marathon (to date) and it was also my easiest because I was in so much better shape. Find a running group to work out with that does some speed workout: where you have to pay a little for the coaching. If you would like to be in better shape and able to do what you want when you want to do it, set a goal of training for better strength and health. If you have children, make sure you are a parent your kids can be proud of. See you at Boston. Good luck -Dave
Soooo....you don't think it's burn-out?
My $0.02. It's burn out. And if you really don't think so, then check the rest of what's going on in your life. Maybe it's not running related at ALL.
My thought is that if you can keep on trucking and think of it as your life style, and a healthy one to boot. Then give yourself a break!
How about instead of running in an event, donate your time and give back to the community that you have enjoyed so much. Be one of the volunteer's at an aid station. Get a taste of what it takes to put on an event. It's very refreshing and rewarding. You get to see so many runners having a great time and you get to be the one to encourage them
Hang in there, you've done so much already!
Thanks for your honest post! At the very least, it's a cautionary tale for those of us starting out on the path you've trod (well, run). Please keep us posted on your progress, if any.
In case it helps, I've recently gotten into running after many years (one could say decades) of doing what you're doing now, and I'm very happy with the results. So I want to keep improving, keep up the training, and never lose my mojo -- a real risk considering that I used to really hate it for the longest time, but found it to be a good way to help come back from a bad knee injury I sustained about 10 years ago.
Only last year did I begin to get "serious" about (in my case) jogging, going beyond the 1.5-mile course in my neighborhood (which I'd done, off and on, for several years) to about a 3-mile one at first, and keeping track of my times as well. Late last year I added a "trail" run (around a reservoir in town), 3.5 miles, and had a blast, it was so beautiful. It was almost like being a kid again, just running through the woods, up and down hills, scrambling over rocks and roots, and encountering people being walked by their (mostly-friendly) dogs.
A couple of months ago I ran my first race, a 5K, and did better than I expected, probably because I was trying to keep up with the friend who had told me she was going to run it last fall (and I did keep up until about the last mile or so, finishing maybe 20-30 seconds after she did -- she's about 20 years younger and a ballet teacher). Having planned this well in advance, I had started "training" for that 5K a couple of months earlier, meaning I figured out what would be about a 5K in my neighborhood (using online software) and started jogging that once I got comfy with my usual 1.5-mile jog. My actual 5K time was around 27:30 (just under a 9-minute pace), which I think meant I was finally running rather than just jogging. Since I (barely) didn't come in last in my age group (51-60) and nobody older, nor any females in the same group, beat me, I felt good about it. (Of course there were parents running with kids in strollers who beat both of us; but that's okay!)
We talked about signing up for another 5K in a nearby town in late September, so I decided to find or come up with a training plan. I was particularly inspired by the fact that the winner of the 5K, running it in well under 18:00 (at a pace that is about as fast as I can sprint for, say, 200 yards), was in his late 40s -- so maybe I won't have to kill myself just to get under 24:00 (out of "Beginner" and into "Intermediate" level, according to about.com, FWIW), although I'm still overweight (BMI of 25%, just into the "Unacceptable" range, and that's after losing over 30 pounds over the past 10 or so years).
This has led to my using an Intermediate training program that I've now used for several weeks, only last week adding the Thursday "tempo" run (to my other Thursday workouts).
Also, my use of online software "graduated" to using the corresponding app for my smartphone, which (sorta) tracks my routes via GPS and gives me 5-minute updates, helping me pace. (I'm getting pretty good at monitoring my breathing, but need more experience with 2+-mile runs to really pace myself without help.) Over the past couple of days, I entered my years' worth of running data into a spreadsheet that uses a magical formula I invented to "normalize" the total and pace times to a constant temperature, to give me some idea of my actual progress -- it does seem to smooth out the deltas a bit. Looks like I'm now speeding up by about :06/mile/week, after experiencing greater gains earlier on in the training. (Today I got even more geeky and added a clickable icon that runs a macro to add a new row for "today"...and reported the fact that clicking the icon sometimes crashes the spreadsheet program.)
Besides my other forms of exercise that I'd been doing for years, I think the regular running schedule has given me something else to focus on rather than my old habits, going back many years, that were similar to what you're dealing with now -- little mojo and eating too much "comfort food". Instead of my traditional cereal-and-protein-bar breakfast, I'm now starting the day with a protein shake, and having another one within 30 minutes of finishing that day's run. Between that and sticking with the schedule early on, I've been delighted with how much more quickly I recover now than I used to after tough workouts (and it wasn't long ago that a 1.5 jog was a tough workout for me) -- no headaches, no deep soreness lasting days, no feeling a desperate need for ice cream and/or a nap. Instead of feeling like an athlete some of the time, I now feel like one most of the time -- and don't think I've yet hit any sort of wall in terms of making further improvements, as everything I'm doing now seems, so far, to be sustainable.
I like how much more energized I am for many hours after my runs. Since I also get kinda bored with things and want to keep this higher-energy lifestyle (still not able to keep up with my wife, she's the energizer bunny personified, but I'm getting there), I've been posting my runs on my Facebook wall (surprised that a few of my friends Like these on occasion, and a couple have told me in person they enjoy seeing them), varying my runs (occasionally doing the Long run around the reservoir -- slower pace but really beautiful and fun to discover how much faster and longer I can go), and finding other ways (like learning how to create not-just-basic spreadsheets) to keep things interesting.
So I'm considering investigating a "CrossFit" program that just opened up in the area, as a way to add variety to my workouts and maybe increase my speed of improvement in a sustainable way. I saw an online video interview about this; it looks intriguing, and you might want to check out whether there's a "CrossFit" program in your area, because (after the initial "Foundations" program, a two-week, 6-session introduction) each day's workout is different and varied, also intense but (I hope) scalable, safe, and sustainable, as well as fun.
It also seems that I'm able to think more clearly and keep track of more things at once in my head. I've read recent research articles supporting the notion that vigorous exercise helps stimulate bloodflow and other healthy things in the brain. In my case at least, it seems to be working. And I can't afford, in my field, to be anything less than 100% mentally.
In any case, always try to do some movement every day. Years ago, to deal with my post-op knee-flexibility issues and, later, back issues, I got into the "habit" of doing dynamic/ballistic stretching every day. For awhile, these "lightweight" sessions were the only workouts I'd do on many days, and would feel like actual workouts. (Now they're just warmups.) But they did a lot for me in terms of keeping my body at least somewhat flexible and comfortable with movement of any sort. That's important for office-bound workers like myself -- even if we don't feel it consciously, our bodies "know" they're getting less flexible and strong and so will usually tell us to not move or push them when we try to do something new. Worse, we might get all macho and override those impulses, especially partway through a workout, and overdo it, leading to soreness or injury and, in any case, feeling somewhat apprehensive about workouts going forward. That apprehensiveness helped prevent me from doing reasonable workouts for too long -- now it's gone and good riddance!
Finally, please be patient with yourself when (not if!) you decide to go for a run or jog again. Take into account your time off. If you find yourself pushing too hard (you might realize this only well after your run), it might partly explain your attitude change -- you might feel you've "Done" running, almost like getting a degree, and have graduated, but it's really something you have to keep up with, like shaving. Instead, be willing to jog like a beginner out for fun, enjoying the scenery if at all possible, and see how that goes. Others have made excellent recommendations about how to vary your workouts and approach.
Listen to your body and mind both before and after you work out; ask them whether they want to be fit.