Neil Turner discusses losing his mojo after completing a half marathon, and how he intends to get it back …
“You’ll have caught the bug then.” This phrase reverberated round my ears like an incessant, well, bug in the days following my half marathon success. The ‘success’ being that I completed the race; I didn’t get a podium place or anything. I’ve now learned that when you’ve completed a race, everyone assumes you’ll be desperate to sign up for another.
I can understand the logic. I remember feeling exhilarated after completing my first 10k. If someone had handed me an entry form for an ultra marathon after the race, I’d have filled it in there and then. So why was I less enthusiastic this time round?
Well, it’s partly because this was the farthest distance I’d ever run and my main feeling was one of fatigue rather than jubilation. Don’t get me wrong; I was delighted to finish the race. I just had no intention of entering another anytime soon.
As the following weeks progressed, I found myself making excuses not to go running. “That hedge could do with a trim, and it’s high time I introduced a colour-coded system to my sock drawer.” Tomorrow became the most common word in my lexicon. Eventually I came to the realisation that I hadn’t suddenly developed OCD, I’d simply lost my mojo.
The combination of darker nights and colder weather that follows an autumn event can be off-putting for a lot of runners. Finding yourself without a goal can make it all too easy to take a step back from the activity. A period of rest can of course be beneficial and help renew your appetite, but if the weeks go by and your running shoes remain unused, you may have to take action.
Witness the fitness
Last winter, I was able to get out of my running rut by taking part in Marcothon – the fitness challenge that requires you to run 5k every day in December. There are various challenges to choose from throughout the year. Signing up for a challenge like this is just one way of motivating yourself to get out. I’ve come up with a few others:
1. New gear
The inspiration a new pair of shoes or a running watch provides cannot be overstated. You’ll want to get out just to try them and once you do, you’ll hopefully stay out.
2. Running playlist
If you enjoy listening to music when running, I’ve found creating a new playlist an effective way of getting you out the door. Whether you’re a Belieber or a Beatles fanatic, your favourite songs might spur you back into action.
3. Club together
It may sound daunting – it does to me anyway – but running in a group environment could be the key to getting back on the road. The social aspect coupled with friendly competition can help get you back into a routine.
4. Buddy up
Running with a friend is less intimidating and more personal than a club. It keeps you accountable while retaining the social aspect. What better way to catch up with a mate than going for a run!
5. Sign up for a race
This will give you the renewed enthusiasm you’ve been looking for. Sign up for a race, and, more importantly, let people know you’ve done so. They’ll ask how your training is going, so you better not let them down!
Hopefully that will help anyone who’s lost inspiration to go running. Now, let’s see if I can take my own advice…