Do you ever feel that you don’t want to go out for a run or that you are unable to improve in the way you would like to?
What Is Runner’s Block
Runner’s block is similar to writer’s block and is most commonly a lack of desire to actually get out and run. I believe it can also be a major factor in not achieving goals such as improving your running ability.
There are lots of reasons you might be suffering from runner’s block including lack of motivation, fear of injury and the wrong type of training.
Let’s explore some of the these reasons for runners’ block and what we can do to overcome them.
Fear of Injury
There is no point ignoring this fact – running is hard on the body and it is easy to get injured. Sometimes these injuries are unavoidable, such as a trip or fall, while others can be caused by overtraining or bad footwear.
Minimising Injury Risk
Removing the fear of injury involves minimising the risk of getting injured in the first place. If you are running on uneven surfaces, slow down and take more care with where you place your feet. It is also worth avoiding really challenging terrain when you are tired as you are more likely to lose concentration.
Get Good Shoes
Poor shoe choice is a common cause of injury in runners. It is important to get shoes properly fitted at a shop specialising in running. Try to find a shop that does gait analysis – either using a video and treadmill or by watching you run outside. Make sure you try different brands and styles of shoes so that you find one that suits you well.
Overtraining is a sure way to get injured. Rapidly increasing weekly mileage puts a big strain on the body with common injuries such as knee or Achilles pain occurring frequently. It is very important to build up your mileage slowly. A common recommendation is to limit weekly increases to no more than 10% above the previous week.
It is also important to build easier weeks into your training schedule. My personal approach is to take an one easier week in every three. So a six week mileage schedule might look something like this: 40, 44, 32, 48, 53, 36. This kind of progression in mileage helps the body to learn to adapt to the stress of training and is known as periodisation.
Lack Of Motivation
Everyone runs for their own reasons. Some will be looking to improve general fitness, some want to raise money for charity and others want to be competitive, either against others or simply against the clock.
Why Do You Run?
Spend some time considering why you run. List the positives that running gives you. Write down the things you don’t like about running. Review your findings and see if you can think of ways of reducing the negatives and focus on the positives.
Change Up Your Running
Perhaps if you normally run alone you might want to find a partner to run with for a while
If you only do steady runs, include some speed training for a change or find different routes to run
If you only race one distance, find a different distance or type of race to run. If you normally race on the road you could find a trail race or perhaps even an obstacle race!
Probably the key way to maintain motivation is to set some clear goals, for example a certain weekly mileage target or a particular race.
Take A Break
If all else fails, take a break from running for a while. You can stay fit with some gym exercise, cycling or swimming and then come back to running when your motivation returns. You might even find you return stronger and faster because of the effects of the cross-training you have been doing!
Training The Right Way
It is beyond the scope of the post to discuss training methods in detail because it will depend on what events you are training for and what your goals are. However, it is well known that training needs to be progressive as the human body adapts quickly to training loads and performance will plateau if the same training is done every week.
Regular changes need to be made to either the quality or volume of training, or a combination of both, for a training programme to deliver improvements over time.
Over To You
Have you ever suffered from runner’s block? Leave me a comment below and let me know how you overcame it.