AM: Easy eight around Sugar House Park. Quads are still really sore.
I thought I'd jot down a few ideas about the mental fatigue, burnout, and general lack of enthusiasm that inflicts all runners from time to time and leads some to quit the sport in favor of a more sedentary lifestyle or, God forbid, CrossFit. I know this happens because of the number of people that come and go on this blog.
I've been running more or less consistently since I was in 7th grade. That's 1977 if you're interested. I have not approached the sport with the same enthusiasm for the entire time but I can honestly say that there has never been a time when being a runner wasn't a big part of my identity. At this point in my life (almost fifty), I can't even contemplate a life without running. "Runner" has become such a big part of who I am that giving up on running would seem like giving up on Rob Murphy.
However, I have experienced dozens of funks, let downs, and periods of waning enthusiasm....oops, have to go to the dentist now....more later....
OK, I'm back with no cavities! None for thirty-eight years.
I'm going to call this list "how to stick with running for a lifetime".
1. Become a little vain about your appearance but not nauseatingly so. A hatred of fat is a powerful motivator.
2. Stick with it long enough and run enough mileage so it becomes easy. Each individual run for me is easier and less of a struggle when I'm running 70 mpw as opposed to 30.
3. Pay attention to small aches and pains and do something about them.
4. We only get long term satisfaction from an activity if we pursue it the right way. You have to discover your own right way. A lame, half assed, approach to anything will soon be abandoned.
5. People who run just for health and fitness don't last as long as those who race.
6. Most of your mileage should be slow and easy.
7. When you feel a lack of motivation that lasts more than a day or two, evaluate your diet and sleep habits.
8. Always ask yourself if you can add a new element to your training.
9. Have running friends who motivate you.
10. Don't be afraid to take a day or a year off. If you plan to run for 40 years you will not be able to maintain the same intensity forever. Don't beat yourself up for this.
12. Turn 40.
13. Read good running books. There aren't many and the best book about running from a motivational perspective hasn't been written. There are a lot of good ones, no great one.
14. Subscribe to the print edition of Running Times or Trail Runner. It's arrival in your mail box will be a motivator.
15. Cultivate a relationship with a local running store rather than buying most of your gear on line. Buying new running stuff makes you want to run.
16. Find a new running route.
18. Get into nature as much as possible even if you don't see yourself as a trail runner.
19. Keep your ego in check. Don't be afraid to race when you aren't 100% ready. It's good for you.
20. Sometimes you have to be satisfied with being 80% fit.
21. Visualization is a powerful tool. Try to spend some time re-living your best running experiences and visualizing your goals.
22. Be a running tourist. Race when you are in a new town.
Lots of smart, experienced runners on this blog. Feel free to add to the list.