Dude, Where’s my Mojo?
The fear of any runner is that of the missing Mojo. Put bluntly, it’s when you seriously can’t be arsed to get your runners on and get out there to pound the pavements. The errant Mojo is even more worrying when it decides to up and leave, slap bang in the middle of Marathon training.
That was me, at the start of this month, three quarters of the way into a training plan for the TCS Amsterdam Marathon. So close to quitting, I had to really dig deep to get those miles in and slowly the Mojo returned…
I thought I’d share a few tips in case your running Mojo has decided to hibernate along with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s…
Mojo Motivator 1: Ditch the plan (well temporarily at least).
If you have been slave to a training plan for a forth coming event and are simply not feeling it anymore, then have a little plan break.
If the plan says hills, but you don’t fancy running hill sprints? Then don’t do it. Take yourself off for a gentle run with no gadgets – just run for running’s sake. Try a new route and take the pressure off yourself by not timing your pace or distance. You’ll feel free and less stressed about your running performance.
Run with friends. Take Selfies!
Mojo Motivator 2: Safety in numbers.
Over the summer holidays it was really hard to co-ordinate diaries with friends to be able to buddy up for a run. This left me feeling really down as motivating myself four times a week to run solo felt like a massive chore. Forward wind a few weeks, the kids now back in school, I was able to pick up again with running friends so we could motivate each other and push ourselves much harder than we had been doing on solo runs.
Luckily I work from home, so I am able to be flexible with my running times, but if not, perhaps start a social lunchtime running group or after work session with colleagues. Or get online – Twitter is a great place to chat to other like-minded runners. Try #UKRUNCHAT – a brilliant support group for runners of all abilities. Follow me on Twitter @mumonrunz
Runners are like magpies – we like a bit of bling. Ooh shiny!
Mojo Motivator 3: Race.
On my training plan for Amsterdam, there was a huge absence of ‘racing’ factored in, as my running leader feels strongly that this can compromise performance at the main event. The theory being that you can over-work yourself and not give yourself enough time to rest between interim races (and even Park Runs – free times 5k events) and therefore you will not be as fresh at the event you are ultimately training for, (plus youalso risk injuries from over racing). I get the logic, but it’s not really that much fun to deny yourself a Park Run or little bit of mid-training ‘bling’.
I found not doing Park Run and running events as often really anti-social, plus I also believe it made me feel much more mojo-less about my running. Training over the summer in hot temperatures had me doubting my fitness levels (as my pace seemed much slower), so I decided to enter the Maidenhead Half Marathon at the start of September and it really gave me a boost. It was the first event I had done for a few months and I loved it.
On the day it wasn’t a PB for me, but I was really happy with 2:08 as I felt that my pace was really consistent throughout the 13.1 miles – and there was even enough left in the tank for a sprint finish. Most importantly I got that buzz again – plus the desire to run and challenge myself returned. Seeing others out there on the course who were slower, faster, older and younger really motivated me and I felt part of the running community that I had been missing through my solo efforts.
So if your training has taken a blip, pop along to Park Run or enter an event and get that feel good factor again. Just don’t over-do it and remember to focus on the fun-factor and the ultimate ‘goal’ event you entered in the first place, and not attempt to PB at every event.
Mojo Motivator 4: Buy new kit.
Ok so this is a bit of a daft one. There is actually no scientific reason why buying new kit increases Mojo-powers. But it works for me! New, shiny running tops and trainers seem to scream ‘take me for a run now’ as soon as I leave the shop. I’m always itching to try it out and give new running togs an outing. Call it a novelty, but a new piece of kit always has me planning a training route!
This will be a sight for sore eyes – and legs! The FINISH LINE!!!
Mojo Motivator 5: Remember why you are doing this.
You might be a seasoned runner after a PB or a novice running for a charity – we all have our own reasons for embarking on a training plan. Just remember we will all have days when we want to give up and throw our trainers in the wheelie bin! However, these are the days to look back on how far you have come as a runner and give yourself a high-five for the effort you have already put in. Fortunately, my running Mojo reappeared in the nick of time and I have been able to put in some solid training before the marathon taper period (which I am just starting).
Who knows what will happen out in Amsterdam. I might not get the PB I want, but I will be really proud of myself for getting as far as I have this time around. I’ll be proud of all the early mornings I have dragged myself out of bed on weekends for gruesome 20 milers, all the glasses of wine I have turned down and the aches and pains I have endured in the name of running. I really underestimated the difference of marathon training over the Summer compared to Winter training and have felt it much more of a slog.
I keep saying this is my last full marathon, (it’s my third in total, but second this year), but who knows…. Hopefully my Mojo is here to stay!