Losing My Mojo

12.15.09: Sometimes I just don't feel it

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Somewhere, amidst the wrapping paper, Chanukah candles, Christmas tree and 30,000 gifts swimming in my head, I have lost my running mojo.

Now, granted this past week, I have had some all-consuming and highly emotional events (read: anger inducing) in my life, not the least of which included losing my $400 phone (containing a multitude of personal items) and attempting to see almost everyone in my Rolodex in a one-week span of time. Somewhere along the way, my running fire was dimmed.

All last week, each time I stepped on the treadmill, my whole body reacted with dread and laziness. I should have been speed training, running distance and pushing myself. Instead I was lazily walking, checking my email and taking a half hour to shower when I usually have to cram that part of the gym into 4.5 minutes. My mojo was missing.

This has happened before. In the past, there have been one or two weeks here and there where I was just not feeling the running and this is no more severe then those times. In fact, I believe yesterday’s holiday 5k may have reignited the flame anyway. But it still has brought up an interesting fact: this has happened at least three times since the marathon.

An outsider might not notice. I still look motivated, mostly. I ran a respectable time at yesterday’s Jingle Run (22:46). I did a nice nine-miler last weekend. I was on the treadmill all week, albeit much slower than usual. No this problem is not showing on the outside. It is an internal one.

It is possible I am suffering from a bit of burnout. People say it happens after a marathon when the event ends and the runner is left with an empty hole where training once was. And of course, it is no wonder. Training was a huge time commitment and I have felt restless and bored after my four-month training program came to its abrupt (26.2 mile) end. And while I have kept myself busy with other little races here and there, nothing compares to the excitement and anticipation of that first marathon.

So what next? Well obviously, I want to qualify for Boston on May 2 when I run my next marathon, but until then, should I run? Should I take a break and return anew? I am not sure.

I think the treadmill is part of my general blah. I used to love it, but now I find it monotonous and, so the plan as of now is to try to keep as many runs as I can outside, to integrate some new kinds of training into my running—heart rate, hills (which I am sorely in need of judging from yesterday’s 5k) and even some track stuff. But most of all, I am going to go a little easy these next few months, not push quite so hard. I am thinking quite a bit about the race calendar I have planned for next year (Spring=one full marathon and one half) and how to best launch into that with a clean slate. My training for May 2 has to start around January 1.

For now, I am going to spend the next three weeks doing a little bit of running, a lot of cookie eating and some resting from the emotional turmoil I managed to stir up this week.

Perhaps I will take up knitting (thanks to Julia for the tip).

Sasha Brown-Worsham is a writer, a mother and an unabashed, unashamed runaholic. Check her progress each week as she trains to qualify for the Boston Marathon.