More often than not there are other things that come up- work or family commitments, crappy weather, laziness, injuries- it seems like there's always something that can get in the way of getting your running shoes on and heading out the door. Sometimes those things are legitimate reasons, and they really do need to take precedence over getting out for a run, but often they can just be excuses, and that's where mojo comes in.
Mojo can take different forms- it can be excitement, commitment, drive, joy- whatever it is that helps you push aside all the excuses and helps you get out and on the road or trails. All of us who run have experienced a bit of a lack of mojo- those times when you just can't get the motivation, and the excuses become all too easy to give in to.
I've had one of those weeks. I'm not exactly sure why, but for the last week it's been really hard to get excited to get out and run. I really should be out there- I'm about half way through my training program for the biggest race of my life (the Boston Marathon). I think there are a couple of reasons.
Part of it is where I am in the training programs. I've been at it for about 8 weeks now and I'm feeling tired. I know that's one of the main points of marathon training- cumulative fatigue. You need to get your body used to running when it's tired. I know at least that bit of my training is working- I am tired........ and here's where I need to be wise. Do I push through, or do I listen to my body and take it a bit easy so that I can recover and carry on? This is always a fine balance. Part of marathon training is being tired, so I've come to expect it, but on the other hand, if you get too worn out you're opening yourself up to get sick and injured.
Another part of it is the weather. I don't know what it's like where you are, but it's been a pretty harsh winter- quite cold, very windy, and a fair amount of snow. I generally like winter, and I enjoy cold weather running, but after several weeks of heading out at 5am when the windchill is -30°C or colder, it wears on you. One of the ways I work around that is to continuously remind myself that it's making me a tougher runner, but still, when the alarm goes off at 4:45am and you can hear the wind howling, the urge to shut off the alarm and pull the blanket over my head is strong.
Sooner or later though, things always turn around, the mojo returns, and I get anxious to get back out there though. I know that if I push through these hard times, things will get easier and I will be excited to run. The trick is to not give up just because I'm not feeling the love.
One of the things I've found really useful to keep myself going when the going gets tough is to have a training plan. I've been using a plan for several years, and I'm at the point now that if the plans says it, I do it- no two ways about it. I know that if I just ran whatever I felt like doing, there would be a lot of days that I'd do nothing, since that's what I'd feel like doing.
Another thing is to make goals and focus on them. When you know you have something that's important to you coming up, that can be a great motivation to get out there and work for it.
I'm certain that this is something that all runners struggle with from time to time. I'd love to hear what works for you when you need to push through when you're not feeling the love, and what you do to get the mojo working again.