Within the past couple of days I have found myself in a few different conversations about running. That fact is not uncommon for me, and I generally enjoy the conversations. It wasn’t until after all the conversations that I realized each one, though with someone different, contained a common theme: the need for change from a routine.
One of the ways I have found that helps keep me disciplined while training for a marathon is to find a schedule and routine that works. Knowing I will wake up at this time, and run that trail, and eat this cereal each and every morning, puts my mind at ease. I no longer worry about trying to figure out the best path to run, or what to eat to ensure proper nutrition. The schedule and routine eliminates some of the variables. Yet, at the same time it can also make everything turn bland and dull. The excitement for running is not quite as high as it once was. The freedom experienced on the trail morphs into dread of the one long hill. What once was seen as a challenge is now viewed as an excuse to not run. The key? Change it up.
Recently I have pretty drastically changed my running patterns, and it has been absolutely exhilarating. For weeks I would run the same path because it was moderately challenging, had easy access and easy to navigate. But it quickly became dull. I haven’t traveled down that path for two weeks now. It’s great. I habitually listened to a playlist carefully crafted for runs. But the songs lost their motivational power. Rather than igniting a spark to push harder, I was counting the seconds until the song (and the run) was over. Change it up. A new playlist. Maybe, no music at all.
Changing my routine by altering a few minor things has helped bring a new positive step to the marathon training regimen. If you are struggling with motivation, feeling apathetic toward training…change it up.