The Run Funk


Everyone experiences it at some point, I think no matter what kind of training you do. I’m currently in a ‘run funk’. As I rise for my 6am runs each day, I find myself just going through the motions. It occurred to me last week that I basically just kinda suck at running. I always have really. It’s not like I’m a natural athlete. I mean, I was overtaken on my first 5K by a pensioner. But gradually, I got my 12 minute miles down to eight minute miles, through a whole lot of blood sweat and tears. But now? Now I just feel like I’m right back where I started and I am reacting somewhat like a moody teenager at the fact that I can’t seem to go further or get faster. So, what do you do when you’re in a training funk?

I was utterly convinced during all my cycling training throughout the first half of the year that it’d have positive effects on my running, if not for speed, then at least for endurance. Not the case, at all. It has ruined me. Set me back masses with running, the type of training I used to derive the most joy from. Admittedly, this has made me resent cycling somewhat (it’s a stupid logic, I know). I started training for the San Francisco women’s marathon a couple of weeks after I finished the Etape, which really only gave me a couple of months to train for it. I’ve since had to drop out as my body just wasn’t anywhere near ready to handle those distances again. I’ve had to go back to the beginning and start with very small distances and build up.

And it just sucks, you know? Listening to your body and doing the right thing just SUCKS (I did mention I have some moody teenager characteristics as a result of this, right?). All those things I used to do when I first started running, to get my mind to push through, I just can’t seem to do anymore. Those techniques don’t seem to be working.

And I’ve become somewhat disillusioned with what it is I’m even trying to achieve with running at this point. My fastest half marathon time is 1:55 (that was last March) and I’m not sure I even want to do what is required to get sub-1:45, you know? I mean, it’s not like I get paid to do this. The time and effort it takes to achieve that for me (a natural slow coach) – well, I’m just not sure if it’s worth it.

I love running and I like the way these 6am runs set me up for the day – I enjoy the ritual of doing them, but I’m not sure what I want out of running anymore. Do I have to chase speed? I would like to be faster one day, maybe it’s just not meant to be right now. How can I continue to create goals for myself without that being a factor?

What do you do when you get in a funk with your training? Let’s get a little convo going in the comments – I’m sure I’m not the only one who struggles with this!

16 Responses to “The Run Funk”
  1. Penny says:

    Hi – At the tender age of 50 years.. and having been into keeping fit and healthy for most of them, I agree with you.
    What keeps me going? I guess to a certain extent it is down to vanity. I likethe feeling that my body has when I am in shape – and I know my husband does too! :) That’s motivation enough for me..
    PS .if you don’t have a husband.. You can’t beat having a Fit looking trainer working with you. Does wonders for performance and attitude!

  2. Harriet says:

    I have had to strip back. I’m never good at sticking to a program If I miss a day,
    So I’ve decided I won’t miss a training day. I can have 5 rest days in a row but I will do the next bit of my plan when I run.
    I can barely run a sub40 5k, but I’m running to improve and I feel I’m slowly getting better, even if that means an 8 week program takes 12? So be it. Determined to get closer to 30 mins! 10 seconds at a time if I must.

    My next goal is to at least be awake when you are out on a run… Baby steps and all..

  3. Koromiko says:

    Run some trails!!! So good for the soul and so much more fun. I think it makes you care less about km/hr and more about where you can go. My one warning is that you might start wondering how far you can go…

  4. Chloe says:

    I have the same issue with cycling sometimes- getting on my bike is rubbish, cycling is rubbish, what was I thinking when I started cycling to work, what am I achieving. For me I break the negativity by enjoying having a purpose. My body gets me to work and home again, as many days in a week as I want, at no cost and much quicker than the train does. I’ve started putting some of the money I save on train fare aside so next time I’m hating on my bike, I can treat myself to a new helmet from the purpose cycling has given me.

  5. MissPond says:

    I ask myself over and over if speed is really worth it. I’m a naturals 11 min miler and I don’t think I will be anything else after months of trying to push it down. I’ve now taken to just enjoying my runs now and enjoying a healthy me. At the end of the day, we only live once and is it worth the grey hairs chasing sub speed half maras?
    As for getting out of the funk, I’ve recently started training with weights and building strength in my arms,, upper body and legs. It’s a nice break from 3 runs a week when I now do 2 runs and a weights session. Switching up really helps! I also agree with Koromiko, trail runs are great fun to do, go out and get muddy!

  6. Miso says:

    I do get what you are saying … I too spend time on the bike but I know that it does nothing for my running – muscles or stamina. Fed up with cycling now for a bit. Back to running yesterday (again), will stick with it for a bit, improve, feel great, then my head will kick in again and BANG – I am back on the lazy step!! I have come to terms with not being a speed person. I am happy with a 30 min 5k (although I would be happy of I could get under that) and have decided to up my game to 10k training. As I get older (47) I think distance must be what I aim for.

    I admire your 6am runs. I am with Harriet and will try to be at least awake for your runs – so that you know you have moral support here coming to you through the ether … do it for us, if not for yourself! LOL

  7. I was feeling a bit fed up of marathon training when I went on holiday in August, so I set aside the schedule and just did some lovely coastal path trail runs where distance and speed didn’t matter. Really refreshing! Have a couple of weeks off your regular routine and just do what you feel x

  8. Steph says:

    I agree with the post above saying run some trails. Currently I am injured and can’t run so have been cycling but I am aware that this is going to mean my running will suffer. I find trail running more fun and somehow freer, I tend to start jumping over things and sliding down slopes (you can probably figure out why I am injured).
    Before my injury I had been aiming to do a good (for me) sub 2 hour half but now I am not so sure that when I go back to running that I want to put that ‘every run is a training run’ kind of pressure on myself immediately. Maybe a break from chasing a goal is something we all need from time to time, remember the other reasons why you run. Oh and I would say remember what an awesome achievement the Etape was, sure it might not have helped your running but that was ace!

  9. Jennie says:

    Its already been said but run some trails. Its such good fun, I literally smile the whole way round, its like being a kid, jumping over logs, hopping from rock to rock and splashing through mud. Speed is irrelevant getting to the end with out a bloody knee or ripped clothes is my aim! The great views and lack of cars is also a big bonus for me.

    BTW I don’t mean these expensive highly promoted runs, proper trail running through woods, down river banks, up fells, along farm tracks.

  10. Fran Whyte says:

    So you’re all talking about cycling and running as a chore enter an event so you have a goal. This is the very reason why I enter triathlons you have to mix it up so no sport ever becomes a bore or a chore!

  11. Caitlin says:

    Whenever I end up in a funk, I take time off. Sometimes I just need a couple of days, sometimes I need a month, sometimes longer. I don’t sign up for races, I don’t drag myself out of bed to train, I just let myself relax and do whatever, and then wait for the desire to train and race come back to me. So far it always has. And if it didn’t? I’d probably take it as an opportunity to try something new.

    There’s also something to be said for adjusting your goals. I’ve known people who have increased their distances when it became apparent they weren’t going to get any faster, and I’ve known people who have taken up different sports entirely. There are so many ways to be fit and active, no need to limit yourself to one or two just because you’ve always done those things.

    I hope you start feeling better soon.

  12. Becky Taunton says:

    If I get into a hobby, I get quite geeky about it. Though I’m not the fastest or toughest runner, I believe that constantly devouring literature and blog posts like this on the topic keep me interested and motivated. At this risk of sounding like the biggest arse kisser going, it’s people like yourself, Alexandra Heminsley, Paul Bingham etc that keep me moving. I hope you get over your running funk so’s I can keep following your efforts!x

  13. Zoe says:

    I’m with Caitlin on this one, take a break from it, then you’ll realise what it is that you love the most, and why you do what you do. It seems that you’re forcing yourself to do stuff and you’re not quite sure why you’re doing it. So by taking a break you give yourself some perspective.

  14. Julia says:

    I feel like I was in the same place as you. Endlessly running, and loving it, but never really improving.
    Now in the last 6 months I’ve managed to move from a 2:00 half marathon time to 1:45 by running less. Instead of frequent weekday running and endlessly long (and slow) weekend runs I now do interval training instead. 60 minutes of intense training at the gym mixing up steady running and sprinting has made all the difference to me. I push myself more in a shorter space of time and it’s helped me on the half marathon times. I’m now focusing on getting to 1:40!

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