I have been plagued with knee issues since early in 2012. They finally came to a head in August and i had no choice to take time off. A few weeks off and away from running wasn’t too much of a problem, the big reason I think is that in my mind I needed that break. I was tired of running and just not feeling ‘right’. You know what I mean?
We become addicted to running and therefore, like a job, we get up and do it because we feel we have to. But should that be the case? Eventually, the reason ‘why’ we run can get lost and with that, we can loose our Mojo.
I have to say since August last year my Mojo has been and gone several times. For me, the issue has been somedays feeling great and then other days not feeling great. So, to remove any pressure of ‘having’ to be fit, I decided I would not race in 2013.
Now you may read that and think whoa! that is a little drastic! But no, not for me. My diary is crazy with race coverage and to be honest, when I attend races I seriously get my Mojo back when I get the opportunity to play on the trails and run with some of the best runners in the world. I get to play without pressure to perform, it gives me back my Mojo. I love this sport and the people in it.
But what can you do if you have lost yours? This is by no means ‘a guide’ but you may find the tips below useful.
Find your MOJO
Training and racing can be a 12 month process. The addition of more and more races does mean that the beginning and end of a season has become somewhat clouded, so, first of all look at your year and break it down into blocks. Each block can have several targets but ultimately, each block will finish with a rest/ recovery period before starting the next training and racing block.
It can be tough to go out of the door sometimes. Particularly when it’s cold and wet. So I ask the question, the goal that you have set yourself, is it challenging? If your goal is a challenge then you are far more likely to head out of the door because the consequences of not going out, may very well mean that your goal will not be achieved. Nobody likes a DNF. So, set a goal that is challenging BUT achievable.
If you have lost your Mojo. You may need to look for a new objective? Try these bullet points to help you.
- Choose a new distance to race. You can either challenge yourself by going longer, say, moving from a 50k to a 50 mile or a 50 mile to 100k. That is usually the way most ultra runners do things, but how about throwing a curve ball in the mix? Step down a distance but aim to go faster…. that will mean a change in training and in the long run the speed will enhance and progress your ‘longer’ races.
- Include some B or C races in training that remove the pressure from the A race. This will allow you to turn up, race but without a pressure to perform. Just run and enjoy the process of being with other people. You can always be a ‘pacer’ looking after slower or new runners. This will give you an objective and make the journey more rewarding.
- If you are a road runner, try some trail. If you are a trail runner, try the mountains. If you are a mountain runner, try something more challenging like navigation. We can all test ourselves in different ways but we get comfortable with our daily running and don’t test ourselves. Mix things up.
- Pick a weekend, pick a location and just go and spend 2 or 3 days exploring. You can fast pack or stay in small hotels. I like to pick a point-to-point when doing this as it gives a real motivation to get to the end. Time is not important so you can enjoy it for what it is; just time out running.
One thing that usually gets a Mojo lost is doing the same things day in and day out. Not only that, but always doing the same pace or the same routes. Mixing things up is really key in keeping the motivation going and don’t be worried to take time off.
- We are very fortunate that a year is broken down into 12 months, so, take one weekend a month and do something different. This can be a different training session, it may very well be a completely different race experience or it may very well be a weekend away with no running… don’t worry, you will survive and I guarantee your run on Monday morning will be great!
- Do you always do a speed session on a Tuesday and then some tempo running or hills on a Thursday with your long run on Sunday? Why? Mix it up. I fully appreciate that work or family commitments means that we all can’t be completely flexible but I am sure we can all mix things up. Move your rest day, add a session, remove a session, do back-to-back long runs or just do a long walk.
- Incorporate some new stimulus in your training such as cross training, weight training, core work, pilates, yoga and/or stretching. We all love running and more often than not, that is all we do. But, some cross training really will mix things up for you, it will also work areas of the body that get neglected when running. You will become a better and stronger runner.
- This is a no brainer, but get your credit card out and go shopping. Nothing makes me want to run more than some new kit to run in. It may very well be a short term fix but it does work. That stimulus to get you out of the door may very well be all that was needed to get you back on a roll with your Mojo fired up.
- Running at night, particularly for trail and ultra runners is something that can really get you fired up. Don’t train at your normal time and decide one day that instead of going to bed, you will turn a head torch on and head out on the trails to play in the dark. This really provides a great stimulus and speed doesn’t become important as the main priority is all about finding your way and not falling over. Of course, depending on what racing you are doing, this may very well be a ‘specific’ training session if your doing longer races that will go into the night. (Please think about safety and if running alone let somebody know what you are doing, alternatively, buddy up, these runs are more fun with company).
- Social media is a great way to get a buzz from your running. You can join forums, chat on Facebook, follow on Twitter or of course you could listen to a really good podcast like Talk Ultra to get you fired up and motivated.
- Music or listening to a podcast while running may not be something that you do. So why not try it? Finding music with a great beat can be really instrumental in providing a stimulus to run longer or faster. If you listen to a podcast, you can get engrossed in the chat and time just passes. Of course, if you already do this, why not try a run ‘without’ your iPod? Listen to the ‘quiet’.
A lost Mojo doesn’t normally stay lost for too long but getting it back can be a tricky process. It doesn’t always come back when you want it too. Just as you don’t plan to loose it, you can’t plan to get it back. But maybe some of the tips above will help provide that stimulus you need….
“Let’s hop on the good foot and do the bad thing.” Austin Powers, The Spy who Shagged me.