The Days When Runs Don't Happen

Some days the runs don’t happen. In that moment, there’s not much I can do about it. These are the days when I know I could run but I don’t. When I want to, but I don’t. When I know getting out would make my day better but I just can’t seem to find the executive function to make it happen. It always feels terrible. A few days where I know I should be running but just can’t seem to get out the door triggers all this guilt and shame. It can cause some toxic feelings around running and cost me a few days before I pick up on what’s going on in my head.

I never no what might trigger a break from running. It might be something at work, a sudden change in routine that throws my mental state out of whack. Sometimes an injury or some intentional backing off to recover. Maybe it’s a period where all the executive function I have is devoted to keeping it together and I can’t spare any to push myself out the door lest everything falls apart in my absence. I’ve accepted that it is a thing that happens and that it doesn’t make me a failure as a human being when it does. That said, there are changes in my thinking, routine and habits that I change to help prevent a period of low motivations. I can also try to understand the thoughts and habits that make it last longer than it needed.

This post is my reaction too seven weeks of lacking motivation. My mileage was down, and my garmin noted that a few points fell off my VO2 max during that period. One, two, or even three weeks I can accept as a recovery period but, seven? Something went wrong there. It could have been worse though. Looking at Strava, I was able to get out a few times a week and maintained some of the extra basic workouts. It could have easily turned into a complete break from exercise and it could have been six months to a year before I found motivation again. This last period was triggered by an injury. I’ve added some exercise to prevent that injury and have been thinking through some things I can do too keep me from going overboard at work when I have sudden temporary boost in energy from a recovery period.

I don’t know how other runners experience the days that the runs don’t happen and I don’t want to make too many assumptions. Maybe the runs do happen and it’s just a period of missing motivations. Maybe, the running is symptom of another issue and not a sign of good mental health. We’ve all got our ups and downs and they’re different. Everyone’s different but not that different.

Runners should probably talk about the down times more. It’s isolating when you’re down and it seems like everyone else is up. There’s something to be said about normalizing the down time. No one needs that voice in the back of there head telling them they’re not normal because they feel bad or are struggling to get out the door.