Lost your mojo?

“I’ve lost my mojo”.

“I just can’t be bothered to run any more”.

“I wanted to train for a half marathon but now I don’t even have the motivation to run 5K”.

“I used to enjoy running with my club. These days I can’t summon up the enthusiasm to go”.

Sound familiar? Do you recognize yourself here? If you do, you are most certainly not alone. A loss of motivation is one of the most common issues I hear talked about by menopausal women who run – or who used to run. Sometimes it’s a total loss of mojo, meaning they’ve stopped running altogether. For others, whilst they’ve summoned up a little enthusiasm to get out and run something, it’s not really what they’d seen themselves doing. Perhaps they are struggling to get round an occasional 5K when in their ideal world they’d have been training for a marathon.

If this sounds like you, please be reassured it’s normal, completely normal. Losing mojo happens to us all sometimes, no matter what age we are or what stage of life we are at. No-one can maintain the motivation to do anything all of the time – or if they can, I’d say it’s pretty rare. Whether it’s running or anything else – from work to doing the cleaning, from family life to the hobbies we love – there will always be times when our enthusiasm for things ebbs and flows.

Adding menopause to the picture complicates things a bit. As the oestrogen levels in our bodies start to fluctuate and decline, the brain is one of the areas commonly impacted. For some of us, this might materialise as brain fog, or memory loss; for others, it may cause anxiety and/or depression. Loss of motivation is in the mix there too – it can be a direct result of those hormone levels changing. Bear in mind that it can all become part of a vicious cycle too; you lose mojo, so don’t run, then you lose fitness and gain weight (because of other menopausal changes) so feel you can’t run, and so it goes on. It’s all interconnected. We can’t see a lack of motivation to run as separate to everything else that is going on.

So what can you do?

Accept it, don’t fight it. It’s normal, and it’s OK. If your body and mind don’t want to run for a while, that’s fine. Let them rest or do something else that they do feel motivated to do. When your body and mind are ready to run again, you’ll know.

Stop looking at, and worrying about, what everyone else is doing running-wise. Just because the people you follow on Strava are training for marathons, out running 5 or 6 times a week, or getting 10K PBs doesn’t mean you should be, not at this time. They may be younger than you, older than you, male, and not going through menopause, or not with the same symptoms as you. Social media has some great uses, but using it to compare ourselves to others and beat ourselves up over what we are not doing is not one of them. You be you, and let them get on with being them.

Listen to, and look after, the whole of your body and mind. Work on reducing as much stress as you can from your life, get the best sleep you can, and feed your body well. If you need support with coping with your menopause symptoms, go and speak to someone about HRT. The better you can get yourself feeling overall, the more likely it is that your motivation will return.

Think quality over quantity. If you do feel like getting your running shoes on and heading out of the door, do everything you can to make it a good one. Meet up with someone you love to run with, or choose your favourite route. Making it special will mean that you are more likely to want to go again soon than if you are dragging yourself out of the door screaming every other day for a mediocre run that you don’t enjoy.

At the end of the day, it’s a good thing for us all to have a break from running every now and again. Our bodies and minds need it, and if we don’t get it, we can become burnt out, injured and stale. So if your menopausal body is telling you it needs some time off, listen and act. And whether it’s a week or a month or a year or longer later, it will tell you when it’s time to come back.

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