By Daryl Flacks
Been having a hard time staying focused lately? Skipped so many runs you’ve lost count? You just haven’t felt like it or maybe not in the mood. You’re not eating well and haven’t been drinking enough water. It happens to the best of us. The weather’s cold and less than ideal. The allure of the couch paired with the warmth of the fireplace is undeniable. In the words of Darth Vader, “the FORCE is strong with this one.
I for one need to run, it’s a means to survival. When everyone seems to be in a recovery mode, the encouragement I receive, although well intended is not conducive for training. “You need to take it easy and give your body a rest. You run too much…all that running can’t be good for you.” It’s a stretch to say that I love running but I love the feeling I get when I’m done! It’s the sense of accomplishment and a freedom from mental clutter. Sure the physical benefits are there but more importantly it’s the mental clarity I experience.
Running’s not really an option for me as much as it is a necessity. I don’t run….and the result is a quick downward spiral that is debilitating. Running for me keeps the depression in check. It’s my medication and without it…well, like anyone who is prescribed a medication, whether it be for depression, diabetes and/or heart disease the repercussions could be life threatening. So how does one overcome the forces working against you? To keep your focus, when every ounce of your being is telling you different? You’re tired, unmotivated and just feeling downright blah. Here are a few ideas to help you out the door.
So how does one overcome the forces working against you? To keep your focus, when every ounce of your being is telling you different? You’re tired, unmotivated and just feeling downright blah. Here are a few ideas to help you out the door.
(1) Sit down and make a doable plan, and then stick to it no matter what. Start off with something attainable i.e. complete 5k x 3 times a week. Sometimes you just have to decide it’s time and GO FOR IT!
(2) Register for an early season race. Setting a goal will help keep you accountable to the only person that matters – you! For me that’s Indiana Trail 100K – April 29th , 2017.
(3) Change at work and have your significant other/family member drop you off on the way home. You have no choice now but to get home. Extend the distance as fitness builds or the weather warms. The reward: not having to leave the house once you’re home and distractions take hold. I run home typically 2-3 times a week logging between 10 -15 miles.
(4) Challenge a friend to join you. Doing things together or being kept to task virtually, is sometimes the answer. Rather than texting or chatting over coffee – meet for a run.
(5) Set a mileage goal for the week/month/year. Personally, I calculated my mileage for the year at the start of November. I set a lofty goal requiring roughly 80-100 km/wk to achieve an average mileage of 10km/day for 2016. I’ll post my results on Facebook/Twitter, it’ll be real close.
(6) Join a running group. No matter how bad the weather seems to be, there’s always someone who’s willing to brave the elements with you. If no one shows, go it alone since you’re already out of the house.
Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up if you miss a run. It’s easier said than done, I know. I’ve learned to give myself permission, promising that I run tomorrow and holding myself to it. Yes, it’s important to listen to your body but remember the biggest benefits are mental. It doesn’t always have to be much, but it does need to happen!