CONFESSION: After crossing the 3M Half Marathon finish line about a month ago, I had no desire to run any time soon. In fact, it felt like crossing the finish line after nine months of running. I ran seven destination races in nine months–May, June, August, September, October, November, January. The races were incredible, but they were also exhausting. While my sudden aversion to running was understandable, it also worried me. What should my fitness routine look like outside of a race training plan? When would I feel ready to run again? I spent the past month making sense of and easing myself out of a running rut. Here’s how I did it.
Embrace the Rut — After returning to New York, I decided not to push myself to run until I was ready. When it comes to my fitness routine, I believe in maintaining balance and doing what makes me happy. No need to force anything. At the time, my next race was in May, so I had plenty of time to take a break before beginning a new training plan. Rather than continuing to worry about my running aversion, I decided to embrace the change in routine.
Think About the Cause — I knew that my running rut was caused by training for and running many back-to-back races. I was also disappointed in my times at a few of my fall races. Looking back, I think that I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform well, which made running feel more stressful than it should have. I felt that taking a break would allow me to mentally and physically reset. I imagine that a running rut might also be caused by injury or lack of variety in a training program.
Explore New Workouts — I cross train about three days per week using ClassPass ($40 off your first month using my Ambassador link!) during a race training cycle. One of those workouts is always yoga. But for the first time, I felt the urge to practice yoga multiple times per week. I think I took four yoga classes during the week I returned from Austin. I also took a few spin and barre classes. While my fitness routine had less variety, yoga felt right for a few weeks.
Rest, Hydrate, Fuel — I don’t sleep, hydrate, or eat well when I’m stressed. I’m guessing this is true for most people. These three habits have a huge impact on overall health, so I’ve taken time to get back on track this month. I aim to sleep 8 hours per night, rather than 6-7 hours. I’m currently working through a Hydration Challenge. I’m also learning to make new meals with B’s help. He’s an excellent cook! I knew practicing these habits during my rut would help them stick when I started to run again.
Trial New Tech — I love how advancements in technology are constantly enhancing the fitness experience. I especially love testing new running gadgets. I’ve used mobile apps, fitness trackers, and GPS watches to keep my training history. In January, I received the Moto 360 Sport watch from Motorola (here on Instagram). I initially trialed the watch at a 305 Fitness class, but it’s an awesome running companion–heart rate sensor, water resistant, touch screen, WiFi connectivity. It’s inspired me to want to lace up again.
Register for a Race — As you know from Monday’s post, I promised myself that I would take a break from racing until May. And you know that I broke that promise when Team Nuun offered the opportunity to run Ragnar Relay So Cal. You can read more about my reasoning in Monday’s post. I made the decision to run So Cal the same week that I felt the urge to run again. I am most consistent with my workouts when I’m training for a race. I need a clear goal and love traveling to new destinations.
Until writing this post, I wasn’t able to truly articulate how I got out of my running rut. If you’ve experienced something similar, I’d love to hear about how you worked through it. I aim to inspire other runners through my content, but I also want to be honest and admit that I wasn’t personally feeling inspired in recent weeks. I am, however, happy to report that my first two training runs this week felt right. I appreciated the time off but am ready to continue training with new perspective.
Photography by Nick A. Urteaga