Training Ruts are for Losers

I’ve got some catching up to do. First things first, let’s talk Training Ruts and how to break them – mostly because I’m in one, I’m a loser.  More importantly I need to break out of it and ditch this loser status.  It would help to establish what leads us down the path of a training rut? Maybe it’s the lack of progress that slips us up (I know this is a major factor in my training), maybe it’s lack of motivation? The mornings are my preferred times for training, but it’s been really hard to leave my comfortable bed – and as I lay there knowing I should be running, it all goes away as soon as I close my eyes. Just another 15 minutes.

So what’s your downfall? Mine is a combination platter of the slight lack of progress and motivation.

On Lack of Progress
I love technology, and I love my running tech, I know I’m not the only one guilty of this – but for the love of God give it a rest!  I was glued to my fitness tracking Garmin, if I didn’t get my steps I became cranky, irritable, and would load myself up with doubt.  If my run time was falling behind, or my heart-rates were out of control it would lead me further down the rabbit hole.  So what did I do?  I left my Garmin on (physically on my wrist), and let the battery run out. It was painful and as my Garmin gasped for power and alerted me that it’s battery was low as I pressed on without it.  Can I tell you something?  After about a week of not being constantly reminded of how many steps I took, or any metrics from my workouts, I found myself de-stressing.

But seriously though, I charged up my forerunner after the week and it was like a breath of fresh air.  I still apologize to it now and again.

On Motivation
It’s easy to give into temptation of just laying in that comfortable bed, or saying “I just don’t have time for this today”, or coming up with an excuse not to train.  Excuses are easy, your Lizard Brain (more on this later) doesn’t want you to train. Here’s how you can beat the lizard brain.

Step 1:
Just Do it (picture 
Shia LaBeouf yelling in your ear).
Sounds easy and cliche, but when you are thinking of excuses to not train – take this moment to recognize these excuses and make a mental note that these excuses are negative thoughts. Not only are these thoughts negative, but they aren’t productive. Just Do it.  Force yourself to be productive, get moving.  As soon as your lizard brain rears its head, beat is back with the willpower to just do it.  Bonus points if you run in Nike Shoes.

Step 2:
Change it up and Make it Fun.
If you find yourself slogging through the miles in agony, time to re-think your training.  Make it a point to change things up – I get into a rut where I run everyday on the same treadmill, at the same time, listening to the same songs.  I’m putting myself to sleep just thinking about it.  Time to add in some cross-training or *gasp* taking the run outside.  If you are entered in an off-road race with hills and obstacles, then train off-road on hills and obstacles – what’s the treadmill preparing you for?

Real life example: The Hot Chocolate 15K, in Philadelphia, is relatively flat so the treadmill is perfect for training for this race.  On the other hand the Hard Cider Run is off-road, through the hills and fields of a local winery, the course weaves in and out of the orchards – nothing a treadmill can prepare you for.  By the way, shameless plug for the $5 OFF discount code for the Hard Cider Run – KENNYB5

Also, if you haven’t done a Virtual Race before, I suggest giving one a try.  There are a TON of virtual race apps out there (we use US Road Running), but all of them are pretty straight-forward. You can register for a race, record your times via the app and receive some cool swag. I’ve done 4 virtual races this year and found they were perfect for making some of my longer training runs fun.

Step 3:
Reward Yourself.

Seriously.  After my morning training session I come home and make the biggest, peanut butteriest, plant-powered-proteiniest, thickest, super smoothiest protein smoothie in the entire world.  I use this super smoothie as a reward for getting up and training and putting in the work.  On the days I don’t train, I don’t deserve such a reward, so I just have a bland smoothie that makes me sad.  Okay, not really, but I don’t reward myself for hitting the snooze.

Annnnd like I mentioned above, if Virtual Races sound cool to you, maybe some of the Virtual Run Metals and Swag can be used as a reward for all your work.

Anyway, enough of me yammering on. I just need to get up, just do it, and then reward myself for being such an amazing athlete.

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