How I Beat Runner’s Block

I assume you’ve heard of writers block, where you just can’t bring yourself to keep writing? I have runners block. I just can’t bring myself to go running. One easy fix would be to just not run, but I actually like running once I get out there. I struggle with the buildup, the process, the actually getting out and doing it. I literally come up with the most ridiculous excuses to avoid a good run (and I don’t think I’m alone in the habit). Here is how I kicked “runners block”…

Offender #1: “It’s too cold/hot/humid… I don’t like the weather”: This is North Carolina. There is bound to be interesting weather. The number of “perfect” running days are limited. I just accepted it. I’m never going to be a rainy runner- not my thing- but too hot and too cold I can get used to. As long as I wear weather appropriate clothes (layered in the winter and light and breathable in the summer) I can run comfortably. Also, with the mercury going up now, hydration is especially important. And if it gets really hot, I can always just run on the treadmill.

Offender #2: “I’m tired/busy”:  This is kind of a double barreled excuse. A) I’m tired, and B) I’m busy. Let’s break this down, starting with I’m tired… I think Elle Woods (name that movie!*) said it best “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” It would really be to my advantage if I would just go. I’d have more energy and just feel all around better (and I happen to know this for a fact from the days I do go). This directly plays into “I’m busy.” I’d get more done if I wasn’t tired. Plus, what would I really be doing with the 20 minutes that the run would take? I’d likely be on Facebook rather than doing anything productive.

Offender #3: “I need to go fast or not at all.”: A little background – I used to be a runner, a sprinter to be specific. I have no ability to pace myself. As a sprinter, this was fine ;however, trying to make the transition to long-distance was a challenge. Without a running partner, I would take off for a “casual” 3 miler and have myself completely beat within the first mile, forcing me to stop and walk. The first few times that this happened, I felt pretty defeated. How could I be this out of shape? This is just embarrassing- who walks when they run!? However, with the help of some dedicated running partners (thanks friends!). I’ve slowly learned the lesson, slow and steady wins the race, and it’s okay to stop and walk when you’re feeling overexerted.

Offender #4: “Routine/Boredom”: It’s natural to get bored of movies, of books, of music, but somehow I never thought about my running routine, which in hindsight seems like it should have been pretty obvious. Running the same 2-4 mile loop repeatedly is boring. Luckily, I had my running partners (thanks again, friends) who lived in different communities, so we were able to switch it up. I’m also psyched to try some of the loops suggested by Cardinal Track Club. I’ve really found switching it up helps me to stay interested and run longer.

That’s my story. What about you?

*Legally Blonde!

5 thoughts on “How I Beat Runner’s Block

  1. Brandi Filipski August 6, 2011 / 11:26 pm

    I googled “runners block” because I’ve heard of writers block and wondered if that could happen with running. I feel like I am experiencing this. I’ve been feeling tired and so uninspired lately. It’s making me depressed because running is my passion, my outlet and something that used to come so easy for me. I need to get out there again and out of myself.


  2. Brittany O. May 23, 2011 / 12:01 pm

    I used a “Couch to 5k” app to get myself running. It was on my phone, which I used for running tunes anyway, and gave me tangible goals each run to work towards. It was a graduated running program, so it used running/walking and gave you a day off in between. Once I got halfway through the program I didn’t even need the app anymore- I’d just run!

    So my tip to beating runner’s block is- use technology to motivate you! And set tangible goals (time, distance, etc.- whatever works) to keep you going!


  3. Laura Greenhow May 19, 2011 / 10:20 am

    I totally know what you mean. I learned in class this semester that diabetics are not supposed to go more than 2 days without exercising and I thought this was a great strategy to adopt for myself because it makes it more manageable for me to think of in that way. So, although I still let some of the things you talked about give me runners block on occasion, if it’s day 3 without a run/workout, I force myself out the door.

    PS – Thanks for the hydration shout out 🙂


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