January 26, 2010


I'm not sure what's going on with me lately. I can't believe I'm about to say this....

I'm just not interested in running.

Well, not running fast anyway.

I think about speedwork and my head starts to ache.

I think about a TEMPO and I break my arm, get a shin splint, or come down with a raging cold (okay, the arm thing was a little dramatic, but you get where I'm going with this.)

I'm just totally, 100 percent not invested in this.

And for the love of all things running, I can't figure out why.

And it's driving me absolutely bonkers.

It started several months ago. I thought that maybe it was because I didn't have a concrete goal. So I made one. And two. And ten. None of them seemed to light that inner-runner-fire in me.

Then I thought it was because I needed a definitive, written schedule to follow. So I made one. And two. And ten. Again, nothing. Not one of them made me want to go and run my heart out.

Then I thought it was work. And my new job that seems to not ever end. I guess that's what happens when your self-employed. The job keeps going day and night. Our official hours are 8am to 6pm. So I decided to try and get all my runs in at 7am. I tried one day. And two days. And ten days. And while I loved running at those times, I found that I struggled with making myself run fast on those mornings. I could get up and run 6 easy miles. But, include some speed, hills, intervals, tempos? Nope, couldn't muster up the energy to do anything but run easy. So, I did what made me feel better....I just gave up on trying to run at 7am.

And now, here I sit. With nothing. No enthusiasm. No inner-runner-fire. No mojo.

It's weird because I see race results or read others stories about their awesome PR at a local race and I think "wow, I want to do that." But then I can't find the energy to follow through with it. I know I don't have nearly the amount of work on my plate as others, but I feel overwhelmed and training to run fast just seems like something else on my endless list of to-dos. I don't know how to find that person that I was just a year ago when the possibilities of getting faster were just endless. At the time, I thought nothing would stand in my way of getting faster. And now, here I sit with this giant invisible roadblock.

Is it burnout? Is it laziness? Am I overworked? Am I putting too much pressure on myself?

What is it?

I am certain that I can't move on until I figure out what it is. I don't want to hang up my running shoes. I love running. I love going out for a 10 mile run with the wind at my back and the sun in my face. I love running a 5k and finding out that I finished it faster than I did a year ago. I love running with my friends. I love talking about running, especially to someone who doesn't think they could ever do it. I don't dislike running. I am sure of that. But, I'm beginning to feel like a quitter...

If you've gone through this before, PLEASE post a comment. I need all the advice I can get!


charlie said...

Smells like burnout! Go for a bike ride or something! There's just not enough sunlight this time of the year and everyone's ready to go a little nuts. Here in the woods we call it cabin fever. Relax and roll with it. It'll all come around for you again...

Walter said...

Having done this for over 35 years, you are going through emotions that I’ve gone through more than once. My running is based first on the fact I’m a runner – the races, the awards, the stuff, etc. - it’s all secondary. If tomorrow for some reason I could only run and never race or do speedwork, I could live with it, I may not like it but I could move forward.

Burnout happens to almost everyone at some point, I was burned out after my Senior Year at Virginia Tech where I realized my full potential (including my lifetime 5K PR - 15:28). It took a couple of years of running and just having fun to get the fire back and over the years, there was times where I just needed to do different things (like not race). Looking back I knew it was okay – because I was a runner first.

You’re fine – you are going through the normal process of being a runner and as much as this is a physical sport, this is also a mental sport. Sometimes our bodies need a break and sometimes our brains need a break – right now, it sounds like your head wants to go easy for a while.

Bryan said...

Here is two-cent worth of advice from your brother; Run because you can, run because you enjoy it, and run for the “ME” time that you get while you are out pounding asphalt. Stop running for the time, stop running for the hardware, stop running for the competition, and stop running because you are expected to do it a certain way/time/distance.

If you just run for yourself for a while, the desire to compete will come back when you are ready for it.

Laura Lohr : My Beautiful Life said...

I have been going through it for about 2 years now. I have completed races and taken my time running them, even though I know I can run faster.

I second what everyone else has said. Swim, bike, do yoga, or something for a while until you get that fire back.

Anne said...

Lots of people fall in and out of love with running, especially when it gets cold out and the idea of just whipping through a workout is not as enthralling as moving effortlessly through a long run with absolutely no expectations other than to enjoy.

I'm noticing lots of people are abandoning the speed thing right now. Don't worry; it'll come back.

Stefanie said...

Bryan said exactly what I was going to say.

Just run for the love of running. Just for the feeling of the wind at your back and the sun on your face. Forget about time. Forget about training. Just do what you enjoy right now and run.

The competitiveness will come back. We cant spend 365 days a year in competition mode. Our bodies will quickly breakdown if we do. Being fast is great but it doesnt have to define you. Your urge to get faster and to train hardcore will come back. Don't sacrific your love for running in order to make yourself train hard.

So for right now, do what you love and love what you do. Just enjoy the part of you that says "I just want to run". Hook up with some friends and enjoy the company.

amy said...

Thanks guys! All such good answers! I signed back up for a kickboxing class that I used to go to and LOVED it. I was never any good at it, but something about punching the day lights out of a fake torso seemed to make me happy! I'm going to give a few other things like cycling, yoga, etc a try to. Maybe I just need a little mixing up of things to find my place back in running!

Thanks again! Your input means alot!

Kerry Oedel said...

Lots of good advice there. Everything runs in cycles and of course you're going to have up and down periods in your running just like everything else. Still, I'd encourage you to maintain your routine. I NEVER feel like going to the track, so I always say, "I'll go, but I'll run as slowly as I want to." Then I go and end up feeling very good by the end of the workout. Same thing on Sunday mornings. It's hard to get out of bed so early and run the loop, but I take that first step telling myself, "I can run a few miles and walk back if I want to." Then I go and there are friends there and I end up having a great time and feeling good the rest of the day. In short, try to maintain your routine and go through the motions even if your heart isn't totally invested, because doing nothing at all isn't going to make it any better. Cross-training is really great and so is running without a watch. Let me know if you ever want to put those phones on hold and come run with us at 9 am!

Firefly's Running said...

I smell stinky BURNOUT! Start running for fun and shorter distances. It will come back. I promise!

Teamarcia said...

Just found your blog and I have to share I'm going thru sort of the same thing except I'm not running fast 'enough'. But you know what? It IS enough. If you don't want to run fast so what? Running is a treat, a gift, etc. Do the parts that you enjoy and bag the rest if you don't. It IS totally enough and totally ok!

Char said...

Don't beat yourself up about it.I'm going through full-blown overtraining syndrome at the moment and all I can do is run slow. No tempo, no speed, just slow and steady. I still love to run but it has to be on my body's terms for the moment. Just run what you want when you want. You don't have to race until you want to.

Stacy W said...

I think it crappy wintertime. Once the warm come back you will get your mojo back. Alot more work on your plate doesn't help either. Give me more, LOL. It will come back to you.

Leora said...

Try that crossfit place. There's so many athletic things I didn't think about getting better at until I joined. One week I'm working on my jump roping skills and another week I'm motivated to get better at pull-ups. There's the olympic lifting too, which encompasses a whole new realm of strength and fitness; its sooooo cool! if you don't want to pay. As you have found out, the road to accomplishment is more enjoyable than actually doing it. However, accomplishment gets harder and harder the more you do the same thing. (I know, I ended up having to donate years of my life to becoming an All-American, and when I became one, I can't say I was happy.) I hope you are not letting yourself feel bad or guilty, for you don't deserve that. This is your minds way of forcing you to explore fitness!

Miss you mucho,

LL Cool Jeezy

Sam said...


I think running is either in your blood or it isn't. I have not done the DNA test, but if I did I'm sure you would test positive for RUNNER!!!

Now what type of runner can change with the seasons, our circumstances, our geography and for some our hormones.

So you don't want to be STRUCTURED HIGH INTENSITY RUNNER. OK I know many runners that would stab you in the eye before they would set foot on a track or get their heartrate above 70%.

You got some terrific words of wisdom from your peeps. Your bro's the best of all.

How about running just long enough to work up an appetite for a Cracker Barrel road trip. Remember those. Or run long enough to spend time with someone you haven't hung out with in a while.

Don't throw out the baby with the bath water. If you don't like the mode of running your doing, change it! You're a runner after all. You know many different ways to run.

See you on the road, or the trails, or the track, or the hills? You pick.