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April 03 2013 / Emily

Searching for Motivation

I haven’t run in two and a half weeks.  This is likely my longest hiatus since I started this whole hobby.  I’m not hurt, but I just don’t care.  I am not motivated.  Usually after a few days of not running my resulting bad attitude gets so extreme that I just have to get back out there.  I won’t say that I’m not moody, but I think I broke through that must-do plateau… for better or worse.  I figured that I would give myself a mental and physical break after making the decision to back out of my big ultra that was supposed to happen this weekend.  That I would wait until I wanted to run before starting back up.  Surely it wouldn’t be long.  Well… still on the break.

Not like I’m doing exercise besides running either.  I have done crunches a couple times, helped a friend move, and played one kickball game.  No walking, biking, yoga.  Just pure sloth.  Pure, refreshing sloth with a heaping side of HGTV.  Don’t worry, I feel plenty guilty about it though.

Somehow, I am not really gaining weight.  In the first week or so I actually lost weight, which is kind of awesome.  Especially considering I’ve eaten homemade nachos for dinner probably half of the dinners in this time span.  But I am noticing that I am getting flabbier.

It is really time to just force myself back out there, like it or not.  Maybe I can start in the morning.

How do you get back into your routines, whether your hiatus was by choice or by necessity?  What motivates you?



Leave a Comment
  1. Paul Starling / Apr 3 2013 8:51 PM

    Sign up for a race. That always motivates me. Having that goal out in front of me gives me something to short for. It doesn’t even have to be a marathon or ultra. Find a local 5k or 10k, make a plan and get back out there.

    • Emily / Apr 28 2013 8:28 PM

      belated reply… I am definitely getting back into it now. Plenty of races on the horizon! Now I just need to build a training plan.

  2. clancyrc / Apr 3 2013 9:08 PM

    I broke my ankle during a Spartan race last August…even once I was cleared to start trying to run again, it took me forever. I went from being able to run 6+ miles (not awesome, but alot considering where I had started two years ago) to barely being able to run one. I had to force myself at first…but it’s coming back to me slowly. Find a running buddy or running group! It helps to have someone who holds you accountable.

    • Emily / Apr 28 2013 8:29 PM

      thanks for the comment – sorry for such a belated reply. Glad to hear you are healing up after your injury. I should be thankful my brain is the only thing keeping me from getting out there. I would sure like more people to run with – good idea.

  3. Nathan Maxwell / Apr 4 2013 8:28 AM

    I agree with Paul, sign up for a race. Don’t wait, sign up today!
    And no more blog posts about not running, get out there girl! You are too strong of a runner to just give it up like that. A small break is good, you may actually feel stronger when you get started back. Why don’t you come join Paul and I for a 50K run in May? You up for that? If so let me know (email, tweet or FB me)

    • Emily / Apr 28 2013 8:30 PM

      thanks Nathan. I’m trying to get it back together. Not sure if a May 50k is in the books with my busy month, but I am considering a fall 40 miler in Greensboro.

  4. laurenquartz / Apr 4 2013 9:37 AM

    I do agree with the guys that signing up for a race can be the best motivation for running. However, if fitness (not necessarily just running) is your goal, and motivation is difficult, I might suggest trying to shift your view of exercise and focus on variety and fun over running specifically.

    Due to injuries and life chages, I’ve had to shift my focus from performance to maintenance/fun for a while, and though I do miss racing after years (!) of not doing so, I have appreciated taking a step back and recognizing that I don’t have to be in constant battle with my body to stay fit and happy. (As a sidenote, though these activities have been less intense than those I participated in in the past, I have been able to maintain my weight. So don’t be afraid!) For me, this huge mental shift from exercise defining me to me choosing to exercise for health and fun has meant the following:

    1) Doing more group exercise.
    Though I used to think classes were sorta lame and boring, I’ve come to enjoy the community at the Y where I work out. Classes keep me motivated and actually prevent me from being bored. (Tried weightlifting for an hour on your own? Not so fun). Though a gym can be expensive, I like the options it gives me, too, so that I don’t get burnt out on one activity. Plus, if you race a bit less, you’ll probably save close to the gym’s fees each month. You could save your money for the races you REALLY want to do every year.

    2) Running or walking with friends. AND being ok with a walk (or yoga, or a hike, etc.) as my workout for the day.
    I know it’s hard and seems wimpy to think of a walk as exercise. But 6 miles is 6 miles, no matter the pace. If I’m feeling especially energetic, I’ll run a loop before or after a walk with friends who don’t run. But hanging out with people makes the workout not just physically but mentally and emotionally therapeautic as well.

    3) Dropping the mentality that I have to excel at everything at all times.
    This has been the hardest for me and honestly it’s taken me years to get to the point where I’m ok with not being as fit as I was in high school and college. But I’ve had to look at my life and think about what really matters to me, and when reaching high levels of fitness competes with family, friends, and sleep, then something has to give. And it’s really ok. 🙂

    4) Recognizing that your life can go in phases. Rest is ok.
    This has been especially important to me now that my exercise routine has been more along the lines of a recreational Y-goer than an athlete for about 2 years. I have been able to enjoy the time “off,” and am now setting a long-term goal of getting back into great shape after I have a baby in September (!). The time of rest has prepared me for a time of motivation.

    Anyway, Em, I know this doesn’t 100% apply to your situation, but I wanted to let you know how I’ve managed to get through what has been a “rest” time for me. If you want to get out there and keep training, by all means, go for it! You’re super fit and an awesome runner and 2 weeks won’t make that much difference. But if you feel like giving running a sabbath for a while, that’s ok too. As we discussed during Lent this year, it’s the times of sabbath that give punctuation to our run-on sentence lives.

    • Emily / Apr 28 2013 8:30 PM

      thanks friend. we’ve already talked about this a lot, but thank you for caring so much. you’re awesome. 🙂

  5. derscott / Apr 4 2013 10:16 AM

    Even the top Kenyans take a month off running every year. Don’t sweat it!

    • Emily / Apr 28 2013 8:31 PM

      haha! so maybe I’ll come back as a world beater!!

  6. Darrel Wells / Apr 4 2013 10:18 AM

    Emily, as I’ve said, I’m right there with you! Running is not the easiest pastime. You have to want to do it. If / when you want to do it, you will!

    I always have a few must-do events on the calendar that can help drag me out of “retirement”, but I do skip a few weeks now and then. I also have a running group – the Downtown Dashers – that gives me a place to go and people to see; this has been a big help over the years for bringing me.out of a funk. No real goals on these runs, just short, easy runs with friends. Much easier than a solo comeback.

    You’ve been racing almost constantly for over a year, right? Maybe it’s time for a break. When spring finally kicks in, you’ll likely be lured back to it!


    • Emily / Apr 28 2013 8:32 PM

      Over 4 straight years of at least one race a month! I do need to find a group to run with more often. I know there are lots of runners in Winston, but I don’t know many at my pace. Looking forward to getting back at it!

  7. Carrie / Apr 8 2013 7:19 PM

    Don’t give up.. Find some ways to get yourself motivated 🙂

  8. David H / Apr 17 2013 10:14 PM

    Emily, it really must be something in the water. I have been more hit and miss in the past 6 weeks than in over 3 years. But it’s time to get going! I think we will find that the rest has helped our legs and renewed our spirits. I know I’m a few weeks behind seeing this post, so hopefully you have already got back at it. If not, consider the ROCC 5k in Clemmons. We put it on and it’s a great flat course along Lewisville – Clemmons road. May 11th! And if not, would love to hear an update or what you did regain your motivation. David

    • Emily / Apr 28 2013 8:34 PM

      Thanks David. If I were going to be in town, I’d definitely consider your 5k. I’ll be traveling up to DC to do a 5k with my parents that weekend and picking up some items to bring to my new house. I hope we can all find some motivation in the water as we enjoy springtime. I’ve mostly just had to make myself get back out there, even when I don’t want to. I’m looking forward to it a bit more now. And I have races to plan for!

      • David H / May 6 2013 10:48 PM

        Sorry, just saw this reply. Disregard my mentioning of the 5k on your 10 miler recap. Hope you have a great run with your parents. Even better seeing the spark back and the races planned out. Have a great week. David

  9. Kenley Jones / Apr 18 2013 2:21 PM

    I either sign up for a race, or make myself a base building plan. Sometimes, taking a good week of two off from running will make you appreciate it even more. Best wishes.

    • Emily / Apr 28 2013 8:34 PM

      Belated thanks! I think making a plan is really going to be the key for me, to hold myself accountable.

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