The Casual Runner

Getting Started: No Motivation

It was one of those days.  A day when I had absolutely no desire to do my training run.

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The truth is, not every single run is going to be magical.

It was not that I was too sore from the day before or hungover from the previous night, nothing like that.  The weather was almost perfect, so I could not even blame cold or wet conditions (or too hot or humid for that matter).  I had a list of errands to finish, but nothing that couldn’t be done after my run.  I just didn’t want to do it.  I didn’t want to make my electrolyte drink.  I didn’t want to get my gear together.  I didn’t want to tie my shoes.  I felt a bit like a toddler throwing a temper-tantrum.

It was my last long run before leaving for the 2015 runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge and Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekends.  My training plan had called for a 5 mile walk the previous day, and my husband and I had taken the dogs with us for a lovely walk.  But I had one more long, slow 15 miler I needed to grind out.

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Sometimes it is REALLY hard to pick your head up off the couch and go out for a run.

So what did I do?  I somehow convinced myself to get in the kitchen to make my electrolyte drink (sometimes I really wish I could stomach commercial sports drinks…it would take one excuse away).  I had already purchased the ingredients so I might as well do something with them, right?  And it needed to chill before my run, so that would give me another hour or so to talk myself into going out.

TMI Alert. Eventually, I tried to make a post-breakfast poo (aside from the basic logistical reasons, it gave me another excuse to sit around and play on my phone and waste time–hey, don’t judge, you do it too) and finally got dressed in my running clothes.

As I stepped out the door–still grumbling–my husband assured me that, after I got past my first mile, my head would be in the game.  It wasn’t.

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Learn to tell the signs: when is your body telling you that you really need a day off vs. when are you just being lazy!

My muscles finally loosened up at mile 3, while I calculated how I could justify turning around right then and there.

At mile 7.5 I was momentarily buoyed by the fact that I was able to turn around and head back toward home, but even that new-found motivation did not last long.  I passed a major intersection at mile 12 and considered calling my husband to come pick me up.  Even at mile 14 I was still looking for shortcuts back to my house.

When I looked back at my stats for the run I was hitting approximately at the pace I needed to hit.  I wasn’t any more or less sore or tired than I normally would be for the run of that duration.  It wasn’t a hard run or a bad day.  I just never settled into it, I never found my groove.

Why am I writing about this?  I guess I just wanted to show my fellow Casual Runners that you are not any “less of a runner” because you have an off day, or if you just don’t want to do a scheduled run.  While we often focus on the major events or the fun experiences or the amusing stories in our blogs and social media, we all spend far more time just knocking out our mundane training runs.  And just like everything else in life, sometimes it just does not go as planned.

So do not be discouraged when it happens to you, and it will happen to you.  Just do what you need to do to get through it.  Sometimes it is going through the motions and completing the miles even if they don’t feel great.  Sometimes it is about listening to your body and giving it a day off regardless of what your schedule calls for.

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Yes, sometimes this road will look longer than it is, but sometimes it will look shorter.

You are not suddenly “not a runner” because you skip a run.  You aren’t alone in having off days, we have them too.  What makes you different—what makes you special—is that you eventually decide to get back out there.  That’s what makes you a runner.  That’s what makes you part of the Casual Runner community.

If you need some help getting started or keeping yourself going, Casual Runner is here for you. Here are some of the features we have shared in our Getting Started series:

– Help in finding ways to motivate yourself.

– Our checklist of the top 10 things you need to know to get up and get on your way to becoming a Casual Runner.

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The road of a Casual Running adventure is a long one, but it is also what you make of it.

– Ask yourself: where is your own personal starting line?

– You need to buy the right pair (or pairs) of running shoes, because a good pair of running shoes are, after all, a Casual Runner’s best friend.

– Recommendations for picking your first race, the Top 10 Things to Know In Selecting a RunDisney Event, and my Top 10 Reasons Why I Run to runDisney.

– A look back on the Team’s New Year’s Resolutions and a reminder of the need to stay positive.

– The importance of keeping your Casual Running adventure in perspective and finding your stride.

The Casual Runner Team wants to hear from you. If you have any questions about anything we cover here on Casual Runner, if you have any questions regarding running gear or training for your own Casual Running needs, or if there is anything that you would like us to cover on Casual Runner, please leave a comment or email us using the links below.  To ensure that you do not miss all of the great content from Casual Runner, please be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and add us to your circle on Google+.  See you out on the running trails!  

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