There’s no denying it: I have lost my running mojo. Has that ever happened to you? Whether your chosen activity is to run or cycle or swim or do yoga or very enthusiastically brush your Irish wolfhound, you will inevitably go through periods when you don’t love it, and you think you will never learn to love exercise again.
When it’s a chore, and you would much rather invest in a whole lot of stretchy pants and sit on the couch eating unnamed chocolate biscuits which may or may not now come in peanut butter flavour.
And the worst thing is that the more you slack, the further away that mojo slips, until it floats entirely out of reach like a Bondi bikini top. This lack of mojo is at its greatest strength for those who have never really been exercisers at all and I know how impossible it feels to think about trying to grab it.
I might have mentioned once or twice (ahem) that I recently ran a half marathon. And then, four weeks later – and just to prove it wasn’t a fluke – I ran another one.
Only problem was, I tried so hard and exerted myself so much to achieve those goals and prove to the world that I totally could so freaking do it just you watch me, that I am now suffering from what my mate Danielle calls ‘suck back’.
I figured some of you might suffer this from time to time (or all the time) so here are my tips on dealing with suck back.
- Buddy up. Find a friend who you can either exercise with, or at least email or call once a week to report on your progress. I have just buddied up with my lovely friend who just happens to be a blogger and a runner, Grace.
- Use the time to listen to podcasts or music, or be at one with nature or whatever crazy-arse shit you’re into. My local running area is a patch of beautiful bushland with trails galore which is great for communing with the lizards. By lucky happenstance, it is also a place that men like to hook up on the sly during the day. I enjoy seeing who’s there, seeing who’s new, and looking at those nervous faces trying to act natural. I have yet to happen upon anything more confronting than that, thank goodness.
- Lower your expectations of yourself. My goal is to get out the door. Once I’m out, my goal is to run 1km, then 2km. By then, I’m generally fine and I can go on to run 10km and actually enjoy it. But consistency is key so the distance matters much less than the fact that I am getting out there. Because those days I cut myself some slack and stay in bed, I am a psycho hose beast from hell and nobody in my house is happy.
- Change up your routine. If you’re a runner, go try indoor rock climbing. Usually a cyclist? Why not slow down and fit in a pilates class? Or if you usually work out alone, join a class or a group of some sort. A bunch of like-minded individuals might be just what you need to yank you out of that funk.
- Enlist some professional help. When all else fails, pay someone to make you do it, if you can afford it. And if you can’t, try personal training schools or TAFEs – they usually have trainees who want to practice on someone for very little cash. I had a student personal trainer years ago and he was the most enthusiastic little thing – plus he didn’t know how to measure body fat properly so for a short while there I felt FANTASTIC about myself (and my 8 per cent body fat, which turned out to be 28 per cent).
- Know it will pass. Hold on, keep putting in the minimum just to get by. Because this lull will pass and you will recover that mojo again. I promise. That’s what I’m counting on right now, anyway.
Have you ever lost your mojo and then found it again? What pulled you out?