How to Get Out of a Running Rut

I found it funny in the summer that my Monday-Friday milage was higher than my weekly milage in the winter (in Pittsburgh). Last winter was particularly terrible (hence why I moved to California) and I was maybe getting in 20 miles a week… that’s with a long(ish) run on the weekends.

Around the end of September into October, my motivation to run began to wane. I was in peak marathon training and burning out. Then a bunch of life stuff happened and I didn’t want to be alone with my thoughts that long. Moving also does nothing for running because you’re overwhelmed with things you have to do.

Luckily, a lot of my friends are runners. And those friends are all WAY more talented runners than me, like Boston Qualifiers (Lesley), soon-t0-be Boston Qualifiers (hey Em!) and people training to run at elite status (hi, Lorraine). They all assured me that it would pass, I wouldn’t hate running forever and it was okay to take a little time off. They were right.

Here’s how I got out of a running rut:

  • Dialed back intensity: I went a few weeks without doing a long run. I stopped my two-a-days on Tuesdays (kind of out of necessity, RIP #TRT) and moved my daily milage back from 8 miles to 6 miles.
  • Joined a running group: I’ve been running with San Francisco Road Runners on Saturdays for my long runs and I LOVE IT. I’m going to do a whole post about it but my long runs go by so much faster and I’ve met some great people already.
  • Ran a new path. When I was at home, I started running at Schenley Park since I had a good amount of time on my hands.
  • Saved music just for running. Want to know what will get you out of the house? Listening to new Beyonce.
  • Only allow myself to do something after running. This is dumb, but sometimes when I was planning trips I wouldn’t let myself buy my plane ticket until after I ran. Even if it sucked, it got me out the door.
  • Bought new running gear. If wearing new Lululemon doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will.

I was kind of complaining about a not-so-great run on Friday to someone (also a runner) and he told me something I’ve heard many times and I also tell people: for every bad run, it will make the next one that much better. And you know what? My run today was pretty damn amazing.

Related:
Tips for Cold Weather Running
How to Have a Successful Long Run

Chat with me:
Do you ever get in a running rut? How do you get out? Do you have any running related questions you would like me to answer in a post?

43 comments on “How to Get Out of a Running Rut

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Jessie on December 9, 2014 7:09 am

When I found myself in a running rut I usually switched up my workout for a week or two. Most of the times they didn’t even inlude a single run. Just walks & other cross training. Worked like a charm.. for me at least :)
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Cassie on December 12, 2014 12:52 am

That’s another great one… I don’t know why I’m so afraid to just NOT run for a week or two!

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Heather @Fit n Cookies on December 9, 2014 7:19 am

Totally been there! I think taking a few days off and also seeing people who are out running helps me get my motivation back! It also helps to know I will feel amazing when I’m done.

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Cassie on December 12, 2014 12:52 am

That’s such a good one too… seeing other people run totally motivates me, too!

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Susie @ SuzLyfe on December 9, 2014 7:20 am

I think you just have to realize that you aren’t going to 100% love it 100% of the time. Relax, remove the pressure, and find an avenue that allows you to feel the goodness from it again. Find a way to be grateful for every mile, rather than trying to beat the sh*t out of each one!
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Cassie on December 12, 2014 12:52 am

Yesss such a good way to look at it. As a runner, we aren’t going to love every run but we just get out there and do it!

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Chris on December 9, 2014 8:52 am

I totally agree with dialing back the intensity. Just showing up and getting through will give you a sense of accomplishment and perhaps trigger something in the mind to get out of that rut. And if not, then because you ran you can go buy new Lulu so with all those combined you’re bound to hit something that works!
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Cassie on December 12, 2014 12:51 am

Haha yes, LOVE THAT IDEA! I think I’m FINALLY out, I’ve had some great runs and I’m feeling excited to wake up and run, not dreading it. With all of the apartment/moving things Lulu has taken a back seat… I need to re-eval my Christmas list haha.

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Deanna Segrave-Daly (@tspbasil) on December 9, 2014 8:56 am

OK – this post TOTALLY speaks to me (except maybe the Lululemon – I’m happy with just a new Gap workout outfit – ha.) But seriously – I’m in Philly (so you can relate) and the treadmill is just so dang boring. And I def. need to dial back intensity and realize it’s OK not to hit 7 miles every time I run – again, great post!

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Cassie on December 12, 2014 12:48 am

Ohhhh hey Gap body!! :) I like to hear that haha! Yes, sometimes running 3-4 is just as beneficial!

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Presley @ Run Pretty on December 9, 2014 9:37 am

Um. You totally wrote this for me. Thanks. :)
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Cassie on December 12, 2014 12:48 am

Glad it’s speaking to you right now!

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Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine on December 9, 2014 9:47 am

I’ll keep these in mind for the future! But since I just STARTED running 3 weeks ago, I am still ready to go!
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Cassie on December 12, 2014 12:47 am

I think you have plenty of time to just love and enjoy it before a rut hits then :)

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Bree on December 9, 2014 9:50 am

Love this and definitely needed to read it today! I’ve been in struggle city getting my runs done lately which is not good with my major race coming up! I think I may have to bite the bullet and join a running group to force myself to get out there and actually run!
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Cassie on December 12, 2014 12:47 am

Join running group… it totally makes a big difference!

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Natalie Rizzo on December 9, 2014 9:52 am

It’s so cold in New York, and it’s getting to be impossible to run outdoors. I’ve been running on a treadmill, which is pretty tedious. Maybe I’ll try one of your tips to switch it up.
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Cassie on December 12, 2014 12:47 am

I wish I had treadmill running tips but I hateeee it.

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Linda @ The Fitty on December 9, 2014 9:53 am

Hmm, that second last one is crazy enough to work for me. I’ll definitely allow myself to do the things I need to do after a run from now on.
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Cassie on December 12, 2014 12:46 am

Glad you found one that works!

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Alanna on December 9, 2014 10:43 am

I needed this! I’ve been in a running rut…for about 4 months now?! I hate/love it at the same time. I got totally burnt out before my last half marathon and it seemed to make stress worse, but I’m ready to get back out there!
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Cassie on December 12, 2014 12:46 am

It definitely does make stress worse sometimes!

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Ange @ Cowgirl Runs on December 9, 2014 2:33 pm

I am full on 100% in a rut right now. It’s not just running, it’s ALL exercise. It’s dumb and I’m working hard to snap out of it!
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Cassie on December 12, 2014 12:46 am

Girrrl you just ran an ultra Ragnar, I would be too haha!

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Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on December 9, 2014 4:05 pm

Hi Cassie! How are you? Just stopping by to see how life in SF is treating you. Looks like you’re doing well. And I’m never in a running rut, because I rarely run just-to-run. Great pic!
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Cassie on December 12, 2014 12:45 am

Hi!! Good, now that the power is back on haha! Hope yours is, too! :)

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Farrah on December 9, 2014 5:50 pm

Since I didn’t die running a mile yesterday, there’s a higher chance that I may start that up again! The cute workout clothes definitely help! I’m having issues with convincing myself to run outside though because I live smack in the middle of 3 factories and pollution is pretty terrible. (Plus, I still haven’t adapted to cold weather.) I’ll keep with the treadmill jog/runs at a lower intensity for now and work myself up to it!
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Cassie on December 12, 2014 12:45 am

Have you thought about looking for a trail nearby that you could drive to then run on?

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Renee @ Bendiful Blog on December 9, 2014 9:21 pm

It’s just the cold! It’s killing me I’m still in Upstate NY. Although I will say joining a running group really help me get out of my rut it was nice to have people to see and talk to while braving the elements. For solo runs new music is always a PLUS!
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Cassie on December 12, 2014 12:44 am

Yes, and podcasts for solo runs, too!

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Kristen on December 9, 2014 9:32 pm

This was me after my move too! Moving sucks, it takes so much out of you. Glad to hear you’re loving running in your new place! I’m jealous of your run club too :)
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Cassie on December 12, 2014 12:44 am

Haha I send someone a daily run pic and it invokes a lot of jealousy :)

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Lacey @Runs and Roses on December 10, 2014 1:00 am

I’ve totally been stuck in a running rut, especially after my last half marathon, in SF actually! Whenever I get in the rut I try to mix it up a bit with track workout runs and sprints or different classes at the gym!
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Cassie on December 12, 2014 12:43 am

That’s a great idea, too!

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Whitney Carney on December 10, 2014 10:40 am

Love these tips! I am kind of in one now I think (forcing myself out the door now). Switching up music (got burnt out on Tay swift from listening to her in the car and running.. ) so I think saving certain music for running definitely helps! Finding a new path and new gear (asking for lulu for Christmas!!) definitely help as well!

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Cassie on December 11, 2014 10:15 am

Do you have Spotify? I have a (I think) good playlist… http://open.spotify.com/user/12174521/playlist/62bmq98rG5WzEVAtp3IIg0

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Whitney Carney on December 11, 2014 9:37 pm

No I don’t. Is it free?

[…] How to Get Out of a Running Rut […]

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Lynda@fitnessmomwinecountry on December 15, 2014 11:13 am

I love that you are in San Francisco. I tend to get in a rut here and there, but I so enjoy running here in Sonoma {wine country} there is enough for me to see and some great neighborhoods, vineyards, or even down town and all around. I sometimes just head out and go from there without a game plan, those seem to be the best :)
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karen on December 15, 2014 12:19 pm

Great tips! Buying new clothes is always a great way to get yourself to workout huh? ;) Loovvveeee it!
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Aine @ Awkward Irish Girl Blogs on December 17, 2014 12:03 pm

I did a post on running motivation a while ago as well – it’s so easy to get out of the habit! Thanks for this :)

https://awkwardirishgirlblogs.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/how-to-motivate-yourself-to-start-running-again-my-top-10-tips/
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Cassie on December 21, 2014 9:57 pm

So glad this helped!!

[…] How To Get Out Of A Running Rut […]

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