When I started a heart rate training plan last year I was excited to be able to run without injury. That was my goal. I didn’t care how slow I ran, or how boring it was running for hours on end, I was happy to be able to finish what I started – a half marathon. But shortly after, a funny thing happened to many of us in the heart rate group. We seemed to have lost our running mojo. Disappointed with our lack of measurable progress we began to feel defeated. Running by heart rate is a long process, not a quick fix and many of us had thought we’d be further along a year in. Some of us, myself included, were never able to get back to our pre heart rate pace. This perceived failure to grow as a runner led to lack of motivation to run.
After spending the winter months training with broken toes on a treadmill to keep my fitness going, I was bitch slapped when I began running outside again. I totally felt like the winter running was a huge waste of time. I couldn’t even run a mile without feeling defeated. To top that off my weight was up about 15 pounds and that didn’t help my running one bit. As I struggled to get those first outside runs in I began to have pain in my achilles. To say I lost confidence in my ability to run is a huge understatement.
This past week, I read an article in my local newspaper about a woman who is running her first marathon (NYC) this year. She spoke about feeling overwhelmed by the task and how it caused her to lose her confidence and question why she was even attempting to do it. Right! That’s exactly where I am at right now. On each of those struggle runs I talked at myself and said, why in the world are you doing this. You don’t need to do this. You can’t even run 3 miles right now how in the world will you run 26.2. Reading this article really helped me understand that it was completely normal to feel overwhelmed and scared of the daunting task I am taking on.
Running a marathon is a huge undertaking and one that can’t be taken lightly. Thankfully, I have now given myself a break and accepted that my feelings of being overwhelmed are completely normal. This week I was able to do a 3 mile run without using intervals. Hope springs eternal and I feel like I may be over the hump of getting started. I’m still suffering from pain in my achilles and have been trying to use intervals to not damage it as it heals. These last two runs I completed without intervals and while I had some pain afterwards it wasn’t too bad. Maybe, just maybe I can do this marathon after all.
When confidence is lost, the first step on the road back is to identify what is causing these feelings. For me it was fear of failure – not being able to complete the marathon I’ve signed up for. Recognizing that and giving myself permission to feel this way was a huge help to motivate me to at least get out there and try. Like any other obstacle, the first step is admitting the issue and then creating a plan to deal with it. My plan is pretty simple right now – take it one day and one run at a time. Here’s my current plan to regain my running confidence:
- Set a goal – My goal right now is to complete my training runs each week and not get too far ahead in my thinking. I’m going to focus on just one week at a time and follow my plan without skipping workout sessions. This week so far I’m on track with this morning’s long run ahead of me. Hoping to be able to get 6 of the called for 8 miles in. Not sure I should jump up to 8 miles too fast as the achilles has prevented me from running more than 3-4 miles.
- Stay connected – I’ve been reaching out to other runners and trying to find someone to run with at least for long runs.
- Change or scenery – I always run the same route day after day. I’ve decided to try to vary my routes to spark some interest. I’m seeking out new places to run that might prove more interesting and break the monotony of my routine.
- Cross Train – I’ve decided to get back to the yoga studio. I loved, loved, loved hot yoga but when I started running I gave it up. I couldn’t figure out how to fit it in. I signed up for unlimited yoga classes this summer and hope to get yoga back into my weekly routine. I also think it will help my achilles and other muscles a lot! Super excited about this.
The long and short of my musings today is give yourself permission to feel scared. It’s completely normal to be nervous about new challenges you are taking on. Just don’t let those nerves steal your motivation to do the work. Break it down to smaller, more manageable tasks and keep on going. One day, one workout, one run at a time – just put one foot in front of the other.
Have you lost your confidence, or motivation to work out? What helped you get back on track? Please share below, I’d love to hear about your struggles and successes.
Great memoir for anyone running their first marathon –