This article originally appeared on Trail Runner
As much as this hurts to hear, like any sport or hobby, trail running can become monotonous. For many runners, a passion for hitting the trails will, at times, start to feel like a chore. Luckily, there is a very simple fix that can reignite your passion for trail running during these moments, and that’s the power of the change-up.
“You can definitely get stuck in a rut, just by running the same thing over and over again,” says clinical and sport psychologist Michael Griffith. “I think the part of trail running that gets people so interested in it is going to epic places or trying out different trails.”
Griffith sees this training rut first-hand, as he works directly with many athletes to rekindle their motivation and achieve their athletic goals.
Repeating the same trails can cause runners to lose interest over time and their performance to lag. Creating new challenges, whether that’s a new part of town or a weekend road trip, improves both physical and emotional wellbeing. You’ll explore new trails while better setting yourself up for upcoming races.
“Our brains adapt to routine,” says Griffth. “By changing things up, you’re exercising that mental muscle. You’re forcing your body and brain to react to new situations and new stimuli. Anytime you put yourself outside your comfort zone, that’s probably a good thing.”
Griffith has worked in psychology for decades, and these premises are not new. Numerous studies like this one from the University of Florida and others shared by the National Institute of Health, show the impact of change on athlete motivation. Essentially, it’s the same drive that brings many of us to trail running in the first place: the rush of exploring somewhere new and the drive to see what comes next.
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It’s important to find new trails to continue that drive, not only from a mental level but a physical one, too. Think of trying out a new trail as a form of cross-training that …….