Turning a corner – Tips for finding motivation when not being able to train

1 Jun

I posted a while ago that I was frustrated at not being able to run at the moment due to some medical issues. It’s really hard when you are used to doing something you love (I have been running for 11+ years) and are told to stop.

I have gone through a number of psychological emotions and feel like I am finally getting used to the idea.

Initially being told to not run for a while made me rebellious and determined to train as usual – not the best option especially when medical bills start coming in. And then I went through the depressed state of realising that I wasn’t meant to be training and admitting to myself that I should stop training – I felt quite isolated from running friends and suddenly went from seeing lots of people to hardly any at all. I also felt depressed seeing when other people were going running and I wasn’t able to. Then I felt miserable and I didn’t want to see running friends because I was fed up at not being able to run and wanted to stop all the questions around why I wasn’t training.

It's hard when we are unable to train but keeping positive and upbeat is the key.

It’s hard when we are unable to train but keeping positive and upbeat is the key.

And then I turned a corner.

I decided enough was enough with the pity party. It isn’t going to be forever that  I can’t train much, just the situation I have found myself in right now.

Here are  a few tips for keeping positive and motivated when you can’t train.

Encourage friends – become the encourager

If you are in the same situation and not being able to train I urge you not to isolate yourself but to become the encourager.

I have made it my mission to keep in touch with friends and to encourage them in their training. It’s great to see how well some of the people I have been running with for a while are now doing – that’s the great thing about running – keep doing it and you will see progress.

Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to keep connected with the sport you love even if you can’t do it.

I decided to volunteer with an established running group and went along for the first time today and it was great.

I was the run ‘photographer’ which was perfect me being an avid photographer and I photographed people as they started and finished the race – it was great fun being a spectator for a change and seeing how hard people were working and cheering them on to finish. I found even though I wasn’t able to be one of the runners that I felt every bit as involved and I will be doing it on a regular basis as well as hopefully soon taking part in the run itself.

Plan for when you can train 

I am already planning my races for when  I can train again and have the New York full Marathon, Sydney Half, Melbourne Half and Gold Coast full Marathon in mind for 2014/15 and I am seeing my not training hard now as rest time as I know once I am fully training again it’s going to be a lot of work to get back to where I was and some – but it is giving me  real motivation to know what’s around the corner.

Stay positive

It’s very easy to fall into that trap of being negative and ‘woe is me’ because something isn’t going your way but it’s a lot healthier to stay focussed, positive and surrounding yourself with positive people. The negative ones have to go especially when you are going through things you need friends to support you with, and keep those positive affirmations up.  I have a few awesome friends who have been there for me and who I can chat to about all sorts of things, and helps keep me going.

Do what you can within your limits

Walking, weights and my XBox 360 have become my friend of late. I walk with my lovely friend 4+ times a week and we drag our dogs out, and then I have a few fitness games on the XBox which are surprisingly effective that I have been doing as well. I am also able to still do weights within reason so I am trying to keep my fitness up as much as I can so when it is time to go back to training it won’t be from zero. Depending on why you can’t train have a think about what is within your ability and go for it.

Plan to treat yourself to stay focussed

I know for me, when I am able to train again I have money aside to buy a new road bike and also new running kit to celebrate being able to train again. Figured there was no point right now buying the bike until I can actually use it but it’s good to have something to look forward to to motivate and keep you even more focussed when training starts again.

Stay on track with eating 

The first thing I did when I was told I couldn’t run for a while was turn to Ice Cream and snacks in feeling miserable. I soon found that – that came with consequences – 3kg of them! I have got most of the weight back off now but it was scary how easy it was to become a different person eating wise just because I couldn’t train and felt down. Gaining weight and feeling miserable about it go hand in hand so I have tried to stay focussed and continue as normal with my healthy eating.

Most of all though – remember you are not alone. Lots of people are unable to train and it all comes down to how you choose to deal with it. It is hard and frustrating – but hang in there and try and stay positive.  

Hope these tips help. If you have any others feel free to share in the comments box below.

Happy weekend and happy training!

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4 Responses to “Turning a corner – Tips for finding motivation when not being able to train”

  1. Matilda Iglesias (@MatildaIglesias) June 2, 2013 at 11:43 am #

    There was an article in the May issue of Runners World about a women who was sidelined with a broken leg. She was sad because she was in the last part of training for a marathon (I think gold coast).
    However the point of the article was that she enjoyed her much needed time off and got a new found perspective.
    I think that sometimes we look too much of the negative side of things. But then you need to think about the consequences if you continued.

    I’m not injured, but I have put my name down to volunteer and my first event (a Spartan Race in October). I look forward to giving back to all the helpers that helped me while in the race.
    Great post.

    • Zoe June 2, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

      Hi Matilda – I didn’t see that article but that would be quite sad after all the training 😦 I agree with what you said about the article though and that is kind of the journey I am going through now. It’s so easy to be negative and to be down on things but coming out the other side has given me a whole new perspective on where everything fits in especially around my running 🙂

      Well done on volunteering for the Spartan – I found that volunteering still helps you feel a part of it all but in a completely different way – makes you appreciate everyone cheering you on when running a race and organising the event itself – hope it all goes well. Zoe

  2. Ali Wood (@creativali) June 11, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

    I am going through the same issues at the moment. I’m off exercise (limited running and weights) due to an inflamed disc in my back. I’m trying to use some of those strategies you suggested above. And it’s not the end of the world in the end hey?!

    • Zoe June 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

      Hi Ali sorry to hear you are out of action and hope you get better soon, and no it isn’t the end of the world – just a bit frustrating at times. Zoe

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