Losing the drive to race

When I started running it was just to try something different. Sure, I did a few 5Ks that first year because it’s exciting to stand at the start line and always feels good to cross the finish line. But I was perfectly happy just running once or twice a week to add some variety to my workouts.

Then I trained for my first half marathon. The feeling – the runner’s high maybe – that I felt after completing those long runs was something I wanted to keep chasing. The adrenaline from a longer race was something I was seeking. I was hooked. I kept looking for that next challenge, that next distance, that next reason to get out there and run 10 miles or more. The only motivation I needed was an excuse to go long.

Since May of 2010 I have completed:

– countless 5Ks
– 2 10Ks
– 3 15Ks
– 7 half marathons
– 1 full marathon
– 4 sprint triathlons
– 1 olympic triathlon


Looking at it like that makes it seem like kind of a lot in just over three years.

For the first time in this span I don’t feel the drive. At. All. I should have seen it coming since this is the first year I’ve felt real burnout during training. And I think my mind was giving me hints after last year’s marathon-a-season challenge. But it feels like it happened overnight. It feels like I went from being excited about running long and pushing hard to looking for ways to avoid it. I have no desire to train for a time goal. I have no desire to push for a new challenge. I’m not even very excited about the thought of running for more than an hour… ever.

I’ve got a half marathon that I’m already scheduled for this fall. I’ll do the training to make sure I can run it comfortably and have fun with it. But I really think I’m ready to back off – to make running just a workout – at least for a while. I’m not saying I’m done doing races. But I’m reminded of what I told myself at the beginning of this year – it’s time to run just for fun. I don’t think I listened to that voice very well (and I don’t regret that because then I wouldn’t have conquered the Oly Tri) but I am ready to listen now. If a fun race comes up, a chance to run with friends or run someplace beautiful or exciting – I’m all in. Otherwise, I think it’s time to stop sucking up 2-3 hours of my weekend with one workout.

I’m not going to say I’ve lost my mojo because that implies I’m missing it and expecting it to come back. I think I’ve honestly moved into a different phase with my running. I think I need something different from it now. I’m going to be honest, the feeling is a little weird but I think it will all settle in my mind soon. I know there are still adventures to be had from this running and biking and swimming. I’m just not sure what they are.


5 thoughts on “Losing the drive to race

  1. I get this. And I hardly raced for years because of this. And even now, I chose them sparingly.
    I am looking forward to the half, though, because a trip with friends is the part I am most excited about!

  2. I totally get it. Burnout. In January I did 3 half marathons—way too much. For now I want to space the racing, get excited about it. That said, for me, having some sort of race on the calendar is what motivates me to work out….but there is nothing wrong with never racing ever again, either! There needs to be a happy medium. It should be fun, after all!

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