I’ve lost my mojo….
I have heard this so many times, and I’ve felt like this plenty, even amongst all the events I complete, I still lose it. But does it really matter? What does it really mean? Throughout this blog I’m going to talk about what I believe Mojo is, why we lose it, and what you can do to find it again.
What is Mojo?
This phrase was clearly popularised by Austin Powers, and refers to his sexual influence over others. I’m sure when people write about this in running forums they aren’t thinking about their sexual influence. I thought the best way to discover what Mojo really means I would take a quick look at the Dictionary definition:
Cambridge say it is a quality that attracts people to you and makes you successful and full of energy.
Let’s ignore the term from African-American culture for a bag or charm, as that’s not what I’m looking for, and focus a bit more about this definition. The Austin Powers attraction is clearly covered by the definition, but also there is this energy.
You know this feeling, when everything is going well, you are smashing PB’s, you are just enjoying your running and even when it’s tough it’s just going well. Every time I Pace I try to fill everyone with energy.
If we are having fun, if we are full of energy, then running just feels so much easier. I enjoy running, and so do most people who run. I embrace motivation and take inspiration from those around me, having a good time makes running fun.
But sometimes it doesn’t feel this way, sometimes it gets hard. We fall out of love with running, we get into a slump of missing runs, and everything feels like an effort. You feel like you will never improve, you feel like you are getting worse. You feel lethargic and have no desire to run… what’s going on, where has your mojo gone?
Where is my Mojo? And how do I get it back?
Your Mojo hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s a state of mind, it’s a feeling. The real question you have to ask yourself is why has your mojo gone? It’s not always obvious why you have lost your mojo, but often you can work it out. Here are some thoughts as to why you may have lost your Mojo:
Finished a big event:
Whenever you have a big target you work towards, whether short or long term, it’s natural to have a slump when it’s over. The bigger your target, something that is different to your norm, and the longer your training, the more likely you are to get this slump. I felt this way after my Ironman. Many feel this way after training for a marathon. If you have done couch to 5k, when you get to 5k, what then?
It is all too easy to reach your goal and then just stop. Physically you are likely to feel tired, all the adrenaline will be gone and suddenly you may feel down, depressed even.
The best way to tackle this feeling is to book another challenge. Having something to work towards is often a great fix to this feeling. It recreates the motivation that you will have just lost and can be all that is needed to refocus you.
Received an Injury:
Sometimes it is hard to admit when we have an injury. This can lead to an awful loss of enthusiasm which can lead to the loss of running. It is important to listen to your body, and regardless what plan you are on, an extra rest day or week does not do any harm. Looking after yourself is far more important to trying to push yourself when injury is near.
Other times injury puts you out of running for a longer period of time. I sprained my ankle at the end of 2015, and it was potentially enough to put me out for a long time. This is one of the easiest ways to lose mojo and can feel terrible as a runner. Now there are some injuries that what I am about to say doesn’t apply, but always ask yourself, what can you do?
When I injured myself I asked myself whether I was going to let it put me out, or use it as an opportunity. I then decided to enter an Ironman. I replaced my running with some cycling and swimming and my determination changed this negative into an opportunity, I kept my mojo.
Not succeeding in your goals:
We all have goals, it’s natural to push yourself, to aim high. I used to always be miserable after an event if I couldn’t meet a time target, and the more I ran the harder I made the targets, so of course the more I missed them. After so much hard work it can be really demotivating not to achieve your targets, and this is a prime time to lose your mojo.
After missing targets on many occasions I have a few tried and tested ways to address this feeling:
– Book another event and try again;
– Reevaluate your target, is it realistic, if not adjust. Make your target more achievable and more you don’t always have to PB;
– If it is realistic then ask yourself what went wrong, was it a lack or training, poor nutrition, dehydration, poor pacing, or did you just lack confidence?
I have failed in all the above points over the years, pacing and confidence are two of the most important elements in my view, that is why I wrote about Getting the Pace Right, also Motivation for first marathon (which can apply for all distances).
Some people run for PB’s, some for personal achievement or fitness. There are many reasons why people run, but when I took the pressure off myself and embraced the running community I have found a new way to be filled with motivation, energy and continuous source of mojo.
Comparing yourself to others:
Comparing yourself to others is only ever going to end in disappointment. This will end up in feeling down and you can lose your mojo.
Remember, no matter how good you get, there is always someone who will be able to run faster than you, for longer than you. There will always be someone better than you. The sooner you accept this the better. Compare yourself against you, and be the best YOU, that you can be.
Let’s face it, Running can be boring. If you do the same thing over and over it can get boring. If you find yourself being bored of running it’s a sure fire way to lose your mojo.
To overcome this you need to fill your runs with energy. I break this through lots of events. But this isn’t possible for everyone, nor how many get their enjoyment. There are other ways, I interviewed Tobias Mews about his book GO. This talks about setting your own challenges whether big or small, this is a great way to keep running interesting. This also applies when you find a lack of time to train, because of work or life in general. Take a look for inspiration and set your own challenges.
Another way to overcome this is from running with others. I love running in groups when pacing, talking and having fun whilst running is a great distraction which makes everything feel so much easier. Running with friends or with groups is a great motivator to run in training. Not only will you get more enjoyment from it, but you are less likely to back out if you would let others down.
Some people don’t like running with others, but the final and best way I have found to restore my mojo is from the running community. Through social media you get to engage with the wider community who share your running interests and together we can inspire and maintain our mojo.
There are many reasons why you may have lost your mojo, but remember it is a mindset. It’s all in your head, so the question is how much do you want it back. I know it’s hard, but stay confident, embrace it and go out there and have fun, and go and start enjoying your running again.
It’s the end of the year and I’ve been entered into two blog awards:
RunUltra shortlist – all voters get entered into a draw for a Suunto watch. Click HERE vote Paul Addicott, scroll down and enter email address.
RunningAwards – you need to register but it’s quick. Click HERE online publications blog, then click vote on pick up the Pace paul.