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Like any sport, running can be tough sometimes. To get through the moments when we want to give up, many of us set goals to stay motivated during training. But what happens when, for reasons out of your control, your goals become unattainable? How do you regroup and keep yourself on track? If you ever find yourself in one of these situations, read on to learn how to turn things around when you just can’t reach your running goals.
When You Can’t Run Through Your Pregnancy
Many pregnant runners start out imagining themselves running easily and comfortably through each trimester. Sure, your mileage and pace might slow down towards the end, but the biggest change you plan to make is buying maternity workout clothes. So when one of the many “joys” of pregnancy, like sciatica, joint pain, nausea, or just plain exhaustion, prevents you from running the way you’d hoped, the disappointment can be intense (thanks, hormones). Before you start to spiral, talk to your doctor about what’s been holding you back from your workouts; she may be able to recommend relief like prenatal massage or nausea medication. Consider reaching out to fellow runners who have been pregnant for some additional tried-and-true tips you may not have thought of. Most importantly, try to reframe your determination to run through your pregnancy into a commitment to stay healthy for the whole nine months. That could mean running slower, switching to walking, or just focusing on yoga and eating well. Whatever you do, you’re doing the best you can and that’s what’s best for you and your baby.
When You Can’t Afford To Pay For Races
One of the ultimate motivational tools a runner has is to sign up for a race. It gives you a tangible goal to work towards and makes it easier to stick with your weekly workouts. But the financial costs of racing regularly can sometimes be prohibitive; bigger races can have pricey registration fees—not to mention the cost of travel if you like to run destination races—and even smaller, local races can add up if you run them frequently. To save money, try asking local businesses to see if they’re interested in sponsoring you in exchange for wearing one of their t-shirts during the race, or try working or volunteering at races or running events; oftentimes you can get a discount on that race or a future one. It’s also worth inquiring if a race offers a discount for registering early. If you’re traveling to a race, consider asking friends in the area if you can stay with them, or search travel websites to find the best deals on hotels. You can also contact the race directors for recommendations of where to stay, eat and visit on the cheap.
When You’re Injured
Any runner’s worst nightmare is getting injured and having to take a break from running. No matter how long you’re sidelined, it feels like pure torture to wait out the healing process without breaking a real sweat. While a little wallowing is normal and totally acceptable—especially if you had a big race or goal coming up—it’s important to pull yourself together and look ahead to the next target. As soon as you know approximately how long you’ll be out of commission, research and sign up for a race in the future, of course allowing for enough time for you to ease back into training. Then spend some time planning out your training plan, the best ways for you to cross-train, and any special precautions you’ll have to take with your injury. Keep your eyes on the prize by following your favorite running blogs and podcasts, and treat yourself to a stack of running magazines or books. Nothing will ever make not running enjoyable, but staying focused on the future will make it (slightly) more bearable.
When You Work Insane Hours
If you work a nine-to-five job, it can be hard to find time to work out every day. If you work earlier, later, longer, or weekends? Almost impossible. But if you really love running and have goals you want to stick with, it just requires creativity and a little sacrifice. Whenever possible, work out on your lunch hour. If you work late, try going for a run during your dinner break to give yourself an energy boost for the evening hours. If your weekends are more flexible and you like to get in a long run, try to get to bed early the night before so you can make the most of your workout (but be sure to allow yourself a fun night out during the weekend too for balance!). And always keep your gym bag packed and ready to go so you can fit in some exercise whenever the opportunity strikes.