Do you know what can really squeeze the love out of running? Training. Training for an effing marathon.
It's all so scheduled, granular, and specific. There's little room for a spontaneous fun run with a friend when you're worried that it will mean there's nothing left in the tank for your 3-hour death march on Saturday morning. Don't even get me started on the logistics of finding a route, making sure there is water on the route, or sweet-talking a friend into meeting you with your favorite fuel at mile umpteen. Not to mention the marathon recovery afterward (ice bath, sleeping, and eating the entire first floor of Costco). All of this can make you a little bitter towards running.
If there is no joy in training, even if you get past the finish line and you still want to divorce running or take it out back to shoot it, you might need to find another way to stay motivated. It happens all the time, people run 1 marathon and then never run again. Set a big goal, goal achieved, back on a couch, and consume all the Netflix.
I have a crazy idea! How about instead of running 26.2 miles, find some ways to make running fun, without actually running 26.2 miles? 'Cause, if it's not fun, the motivation will fade, and you won't find a reason to do it when it starts to get dark, cold and dreary. (Greetings from Seattle!!!)
Here are 8 great ways to keep the run love alive when a marathon ain't happening:
- Work on getting faster! Incorporate a day to get out on the track and get some speed in your running. Pick out 3-4 5K's in the next 2 months and work on getting a little faster each at one.
- Recruit a new running buddy and talk about trashy celebrity gossip.
- Wave to random cars. Especially when running on overpasses and bridges.
- Random high 5 a runner... or ALL THE RUNNERS!
- Start a running group in your area.
- Start a 30-day pictorial diary of all your runs. #seenonmyrun
- Pick out some new routes to explore, or try trail running. Take a friend to keep it safe.
- Sprint the last 50 feet of any run in your neighborhood and start jumping up and down screaming, "I won! I won!”
If you keep your mind on why you run, your motivation will come. I like to write mine down somewhere I see them every day. Community, peace, and sanity.