How to Break Out of a Running Rut

Five ways to renew your love for the sport

Whether it’s coming back from an injury or struggling to train during the winter, running is an emotional sport, which means it's easy to get stuck in a rut sometimes. Between successful races or simply enjoying a relaxing run on the trails with a friend, every runner loves the high that comes along with the sport. But, the lows can be really disheartening: a disappointing race or repeated injuries can definitely get you stuck in a “running rut.” So, what’s the cure? These five tips are a few of the best ways to turn a running rut around and restart your love for the sport.

Re-map Your Route
Sometimes, just a simple switch in your route can be enough to reignite your love of running. Using the MapMyRun community or even searching for local running trails online is a really great way to discover a new run and get yourself out the door. Discovering new routes and running somewhere new can easily help get you out of a rut. Mammoth Lakes, where I train, is loaded with lots of trails. We try to mix up our routine and explore new trails for fun. Training in new places lets us look forward to our workouts every day.

Sign Up for a Race
I really love training hard for a race. Racing gives me something to look forward to and motivates me to train hard. With a goal in mind and a race to look forward to, getting in shape for a specific event is a fun challenge and the reason why I keep training. Not only do I love putting my hard work to the test on race day, but it also provides a great opportunity to travel. This past weekend, I competed in the US 12k Road Race Championships near Washington D.C. and afterwards I was able to visit with friends and explore the beautiful city.

Revamp Your Routine
Do you do the same type of workout every day? An important part of improving your fitness and enjoying the training process it to include variety in your routine. Instead of just “going out for a run,” incorporate different workouts into your training. Fartleks are a great workout that you can do on your own. After warming up, run fast for a few minutes, then easier, then hard again. Do 4 to 5 sets with a minute of easier running in between each harder set. For example: 5x2 minutes hard, 1 minute easy in between each hard segment.

Get New Gear
I have always believed that if you look good, you’ll feel good. And everyone knows that it’s important to feel good while running, so try purchasing a new running top or shoes. Looking forward to wearing new gear might help you feel a bit better about going out to train for the day!

Rest is really important. If you’re in a running rut because your body feels run down, rest more. Getting more sleep is key. Aim for at least 8 hours a night. Skip your favorite late night TV show and opt for a few more hours of sleep. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to run in no time!