Why Running Is Hard: Burnout vs. Lack of Motivation

Running can be BORING! Are you surprised we just admitted that?

One of the biggest problems runners face is slowing down on easy runs. I have heard every excuse in the book to why runners just do not like to run slow.

“It feels weird”

“It’s hard to slow down”

“I really struggle with it”

It boils down to one main concept: Running SLOW is BORING.

Running at our easy pace isn’t fun or flashy. We won’t be hitting new PRs. We won’t be breaking any records. We are just logging the miles. Slow and steady.

We are all familiar with the Tortoise and the Hare fable. A similar concept is true for distance running. Consistency over time will yield to the best results.

To become a successful runner, we do not need to avoid failure on race day. We simply need to keep showing up through the good and the bad. Difficult days are a guarantee. You will never always feel good. It will never always feel right. You may have stretches of time where you do not see results.

The key is to not get bored of the process.

The greatest threat to success is boredom. We often get bored of running because it stops being ‘exciting’. It becomes apart of our daily routine just like anything else we do. It stops being novel. It stops being amazing, and it begins to take the shape of something easy, boring, familiar.

We get so used to our amazing running abilities that they become ordinary to us. When we no longer feel that fire motivation to continue to push forward, we often see athletes get trapped in the cycle of jumping from one training plan to the next. From one coach to the next. From one race to the next chasing the next excitement.

We live in a world of instant gratification. As soon as we are bored, we can pick up our smart phone and become endlessly amused. As soon as we are hungry, we can push a few buttons on our phone to have food delivered to our doorstep.

Our culture has become accustomed to jumping from one thing to the next the moment something starts to feel ‘boring’. Even when you are experiencing a great level of success and progress you can derail everything by jumping off the ship the moment your motivation starts to drop.

With anything in life, in order to become great, you must practice. Practicing even when you don’t feel like it. Practicing even when you have ran the same route and the same easy run 10,000 times.

The problem is not that we cannot do the task at hand. The problem is we have been living in a culture where we believe we must feel excitement or feel motivated to do something. Even elite runners get up some days and do NOT feel like running. Pushing through the feelings of ‘un-motivation’ to do the task at hand is what makes them elite.
So next time you don’t feel like running or don’t feel motivated, remember: you do not have to be. Get the task done!



Low Motivation Warning Signs
– Prefers to only do activity when it is convenient, fun, exciting, or with others
– Has list of 100 more appealing/better things to do instead of workout
– History of inconsistency
– Becoming distracted with the next best thing
– subconsciously on a never-ending search for a quick fix
– Believing you are not talented or that other people are better than you
Mental Burnout Warning Signs
– Feelings of guilt for missing a workout or falling out of a routine
– Highly consistent routine and habitual for weeks, months, & maybe even years
– Negative self talk and shame when you feel like you need to take time off or rest
– Not wanting to let others down
– Fear of progress getting derailed
– Torn between feeling you need to work harder than others but also deep down desperately wanting a break





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