What if I’m in a rut… WHAT DO I DO and how do I NOT freak out about gaining weight!?! + LIFE.

Good morning!!! I loved your comments on yesterday’s post from Andrew… he is the best, that is for sure.

Let’s start with the beginning of the morning, Brooke was the first one up for the morning and I was happy she came straight to our bed.

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My current pre-run fuel right now.  I also had some eggs before my run but watermelon is just so refreshing and definitely in my top 2 favorite things about summer.

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Does anyone else do this… whenever I see one of those speed signs (the ones that show you your speed when you are driving by) while I am running I always try to speed up and run by it as fast as I possibly can to see how many MPH I can go.  The things I do to keep myself entertained.

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Self-timered photos = another way I am entertained.  My hip still isn’t feeling back to normal but I’m getting it scraped later this week so I sure hope that helps.  I’ve got a half marathon in June I NEED TO BE DOING.

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Came back home and switched places with Andrew (Knox left earlier in the morning with his mom) and he took Beretta out for a run.

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Later on in the day Brooke was invited over to a friend’s house for a few hours.  Andrew had a break from school so we went out to lunch.  I can’t believe I have forgotten about this place until yesterday… Art City Trolley is A MUST if you ever come to Utah.   Just expect to see this become part of our usual rotation now that I remembered about it.

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When we sat down the guy at the table next to me had a milkshake.  From the point of noticing the milkshake on, I couldn’t not get one.  Oreo milkshake (the only time oreos are great in my opinion) for the win.

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They also have the most amazing salads there.  I had the Oriental Chicken salad and licked the bowl clean.  Salads and milkshakes… balance right?

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PS in case you are in a salad rut, here are a list of my favorite salads to make at home.

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Later on Brooke had her teasing face on with Andrew (she LOVES teasing him, wrestling, joking, scaring etc with Andrew).

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We had dinner at home (Brooke requested mac and cheese with clementines and cucumbers on the side so we went with that) and then took Beretta on the walk.  Summer months = I am a million times more active than winter months (outside of running).

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We finished off the night with some journal writing before Brooke went to bed and then Andrew and I attempted to watch the Jazz game (they got killed).  PS I LOVE this Living Well journal… I’ve had it for a few years.  On each page you have separate spots for that day every year for five years.  So you go through one year and write something each day and then start at the beginning of the book again… it’s fun to see how much life changes over the years because you see what was going on that day for each year before.

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One of the questions that I get the most often is about running ruts!  I guess that means if I get that question often, then it most DEFINITELY happens to most runners.  I think it means that it is kind of part of running unless we make sure to really schedule breaks from running into our training each year.  Who knows what exactly causes these different running ruts/burnout/lack of motivation/exhaustion…   but for me in the past there are three things that usually contribute to these running ruts.

1.  Life stress.  Emotional, family, financial, work, relationships, kids… you name it, when life gets really stressful (smaller/medium amounts of stress = running is the best stress reliever but HUGE amounts of stress usually lead me to this problem).

2.  Overtraining.  Doing too much not just with my running but the rest of life.  Running too many miles with not enough sleep or proper nutrition.  When I am doing just too much in life and not taking great care of myself, I feel like I am in a life rut and not just a running rut.

3.  Post-Race.  I ALWAYS (repeat ALWAYS) feel this running rut/burnout thing after a marathon.  Every single time.  This is why I take off a week or two from running after a marathon and then it takes me another month or two to get back into speed work.  A lot of people can jump right back into heavy training a few weeks after a marathon but my brain just needs some time away after such a huge event.  This also happens usually about 8 weeks into training for a marathon too but at that point I know it is normal and part of marathon training for ME so I try to rest more, eat better and re-focus on my goals again.

Some warning signs for when you know you need to make a change in your training—>  you are experiencing constant fatigue, a change in your sleep patters, you are sick more often than normal, moody, loss of menstruation, change in your weight, lots of worrying, forgetfulness and anything else that is off to you and your normal self.

What can you do when you get into these running ruts?

My biggest piece of advice—>  take some time off.  A lot of times I think running ruts are caused by over-training and your body just wanting a break.  Whether that means two days or two weeks, running will always be there for you when you are ready for it.  Don’t keep forcing yourself to do something when your mind/body are burned out.  It’s amazing what an extra day or two off will do for me when I am feeling a lack of motivation etc.  Two years ago after a marathon I took a full month off.  I didn’t exercise at all for two weeks and then I just did some strength training and the stair climber.  I came back to running feeling like myself again and excited for new challenges and goals.

To go along with taking some time off, comes the question BUT HOW DO I NOT GAIN WEIGHT if I take some time off because I’m burned out!?

Well, to be honest… you probably will.  I always do at least.  I’m not going to go crazy and restrict during a break but I usually am a tad bit more careful with my eating (mainly just not eating dessert as often) during a break but no matter what… my pants always feel tighter during a break from running.  I think it all boils down to being okay with gaining a few lbs.  What’s the worst that’s going to happen with a few pounds that comes along with taking a break when your body/mind needs it.  As soon as I’m running/exercising again my body drops those few extra pounds and gets back to my set point (where my body is when I am sleeping well, exercising well and eating well).  No one will notice but you with a few pounds and really it happens to all of us so don’t worry about that.  Keep your focus on the fact that you are taking care of your body and getting it back in the position of training well again).

If time off is not the solution for you, there are some ways to switch things up a bit to help you out of this rut!

*Try new spots!  I actually drive to different running locations a few times a week.  This really makes a huge difference in my running… changing up my scenery makes a big difference for me!  The trails usually get me out of a rut:)

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*Change your workouts up!  Speed, easy, long, short, fartleks… change things up.  If you run the same distance most days of the week, try changing them.  Try adding in cross-training too… mid-week maybe go to a spin class or go pool running instead of a Wednesday run and your run the next day will be more exciting again.

*Ditch the technology for a bit.  Every now and then I just need a week of no Garmin and just some good ‘ol running and that does the trick for me.

*Ask for help!  Start working with a coach (they will really get a new routine going for you!!!), join a training group or find a buddy.  Running with people is my way out of a running rut.

*Revisit your running goals… maybe it’s time to change a few of them?  Are you training/running YOUR race distance.  For me at this very moment, I just really want some awesome half-marathons… so if I was training for races other than that I don’t think I’d last too long without being in a rut.  Train and work towards what you LOVE, not what everyone else seems to be doing.  Your goals will feel more personal and you’ll want them even more!

According to Coach Sheila Avsec:  “Run only with fun people, at a pace of your choosing, in locations that make you happy, until the funk is gone.”


What about you?  Experienced a running rut?  What do you think caused it and how’d you get out of it?

What has been your pre-run fuel lately?

What would you say is your body’s favorite race distance lately?

Favorite milkshake flavor?

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I’ve gotten into some running ruts before, and you’re right: Time off is definitely good. Sometimes we just need those little breaks to rejuvenate and be reminded how much we actually love this crazy sport.

My body doesn’t have a favorite distance right now, though it wishes it did. Until I’m back to 100 percent, I’m just running what I can, whether that’s 4 miles or 6 miles or somewhere in between. Hopefully I can see those double digits again someday. :/


I’m in a Running rut now so I just stopped. There is no need to push yourself only to injury or extreme burnout. I think time heals most things.


I love that you have completely stopped when you needed it! You are so smart Hollie.


I go in and out of running ruts seasonally… mostly because of the weather! I don’t love running in the snow so I opt for spinning class in the winter. But, it does make me LOVE my runs that much more once the weather is warm! Milkshake flavor: mint Oreo. No question.


if I start to feel rut coming on, I try to change things immediately. Usually it means opting for an in the gym day, running my route in reverse or crosstraining in place of running. oreos are so good in milkshakes!


Running being my main physiotherapy for cystic fibrosis makes it hard to take a break. I can’t go for more than two days before I start coughing. I have decided to focus on the half marathon and shorter distances because the recovery process is way shorter. When I feel overly tired, I also skip intensity for a session or two and sometimes this is all I need. Variety in cross training also keeps my mind and body happy! Bananas have been my pre-run fuel forever!


That is so interesting Mel! I am SO glad that running is able to help you so much!! I hope you are having an amazing day!


Thanks for your comment about training and doing the distance that’s meant for you not what everyone else seems to be doing. I run with a great group that does marathons but I prefer the half. It’s easy to let those voices inside your head get you down when you aren’t running as far as most the group. I’m trying to do a reset on my running right now to get back to get back to my happy running place :)


Hey Cindy!!! YES YES YES… you do what is best for your mind, body, life right now:) The half is such a huge accomplishment and keep doing what you love to do!


I had to take months off for an injury and I really didn’t feel like I gained weight, I think I was just less hungry. I also never ran nearly as much as you though, so maybe that’s why. Mmm I love milkshakes! My favorite is Reese’s flavor :)


I take time off after a marathon to let my body AND mind recover. I dont work out at all for about 5 days and refrain from running for anywhere from 2 weeks until a full month. During that period I look forward to doing other workouts to keep my body balanced (weights, barre, spin).

I LOVE dark chocolate and have some every night after dinner but for milk shakes, I prefer strawberry. Its way more refreshing .


Get injured and be forced not to run and then you’ll see how much you’ve got to go running soon. It’ll break you right out of your rut :) #currentsituation ok I don’t want anyone to get injured. Just think about if you got injured. :)


Oh man, I feel like I’ve been in a running rut FOREVER! I just have a hard time getting motivated to run and figure out some other workout to do instead. Yet I still consider myself a runner and read my favorite running blogs and Runner’s World, etc… The way I usually try to get out of a running funk is to sign up for races and have something to work toward. I have a bunch of race flyers on my desk right now that I’m going to figure out which ones I want to/can do so I can get rid of any excuses I have.

I’m definitely a shorter-distance girl, but I really want to make a goal of running a half marathon at some point in the next year. The hard part is finding one that doesn’t interfere with my work schedule (I work a lot of weekends in the fall and spring). For now I’m sticking to 5 and 10Ks, I just need to get them on my calendar!


I used to get in running ruts all the time. But I find now that I have 2 small children, I can’t wait to get out there and run and have some time to myself. I don’t particularly enjoy running in the winter (outside or on the treadmill) and sometimes it can be hard to motivate myself so I stick to shorter distances.

Favourite milkshake flavour is definitely plain ol’ vanilla! I have not had one in years. I think I need to get one soon. One of my goals this summer is to explore all of our city’s best ice cream establishments so hopefully I will get a chance then!


I loved your insights about running ruts. I had a GREAT run at the Key West Half in January, but then I came back, and it was cold/winter, and running was feeling like a chore, and then I had a little injury to deal with. I honestly think the injury was my body’s way of saying–you need a break. And, as much as I love running, I didn’t really miss it those two weeks I took off. I did the spin bike, muscle class, got into hot yoga (which I LOVE now!). Not missing it showed me I needed the break.

I’ve decided I’m just not a winter runner in the northeast. I don’t enjoy it, and I don’t like the TM. It’s really made me rethink training for Shamrock 1/2 in March because I’m just not willing to train hard in February or early March any more. (UNLESS I’d be training for Boston…….maybe some day!)


I hit a huge running rut/hiatus about a year and a half ago. I didn’t run for MONTHS. My body and mind were just burnt out on running and racing too much. I’m happy to report that I switch up my goals, transitioned to mostly trail runs and am in love with running again.


Oh wow, I love the idea of that journal! I think I am going to order one…. I am usually really bad about sticking to something like that every day, but my mom recently got me a Shauna Niequist devotional book and I have done it every morning for a month so far, so that’s progress & gives me some sort of motivation that I could stick to journaling like that, too!


This is great advice! It is hard not to gain weight during an exercise break, especially when you are used to having a runner’s appetite. But worth it for your body to recover and for your long term health!



Did you every announce the winner of the mattress?!




Yes, there is a winner! I am just waiting for the winner to reply to my email. Then I will post it on the blog. Thanks for asking! Have a great day!


What half are you doing in June? I’m doing the Utah Valley – can’t wait!!!!
Favorite milkshake is mint Oreo. :)


That is the one I am planning on!! Are you doing the full or half? So excited and I hope you have a great mint oreo milkshake someday soon!


Yay!! I’m doing the half too! Waaay slower than you but maybe it won’t be so big that we can’t say hi before it starts :)


You are going to do amazing! We better get to meet!!!!!


Janae, I love your perspective on weight fluctuations. I know it is isn’t always easy to have the “it is what it is” attitude and I appreciate both your honesty and your outlook on this topic! I have been running off and on for a couple of months now due to an injury and have definitely experienced this phenomenon.

As for milkshakes, I am all about the peanut butter and chocolate :)


Thanks Jenny! I am so sorry about your injury… keep me updated with how you are doing! Hope that you get a pb and chocolate milkshake asap:)


I so agree about running ruts! I’ve been through them and many times for me, I’ve noticed I either need time off or a new goal to chase. I struggle with taking time off from running, but I know that it will only help my running, long term. Right now, I am chasing after my first marathon, so I loved your perspective on marathon training burnout! Thank you!!


There’s a place here in Calgary that’s known for their amazing milkshakes. During the summer the lines are huge, but it’s so worth the wait. They have probably 30 flavors to pick from, and you can pick any combinations of flavors you want. They also have food (they’re onion rings are amazing).


My stomach is very sensitive so if I’m not going more than 7 miles I usually just eat a Gatorade chew (100 calories) and go. If I have a longer run, I toast a plain mini-bagel and put almond butter on one side and raspberry preserves on the other.

My favorite milkshake is from a very specific place: Goody’s in Boise, ID. Oreo with whipped cream and occasionally sprinkles on top. Heaven.


Cookies and creme / Oreos are my favorite milkshake flavors ever!!!!!

Last year I experienced a running rut when I started putting too many miles on my body. I was just starting with running. This year I also experienced one when I was sick with GERD and kept training even though I was not fueling myself properly and did not have the energies to run. Later, I got injured. I felt like my body was screaming at me to slow down. And so I did. I took two weeks off from running to recover from my injury and my stomach issues.

My pre-run fuel lately has been the Lenny and Larry’s complete cookies. I only have half of a cookie at a time. They are delicious, and their levels of protein, carbs ,and sugar really make me fly during my runs.


I love that quote!

I have definitely experienced some running ruts. When this happens I a) take a break b) find fun people to run/workout with c) change it up and do more strength training!

I don’t really fuel before a run because I leave so darn early in the morning, but on race day or when I can run later, I’ll eat toast with pb & jelly and a 1/2 banana. After a run, I’ve been going with a protein smoothie since it’s getting warmer.

My fav distance lately is right around 6, but I’m not training for anything particular right now either :)

Fav milkshake flavor is chocolate chip. I go to this little shop in town and they use the chocolate sauce that hardens to mix in to their milkshakes and it’s awesomesauce.


That journal is an excellent idea! I just ordered one.

Also, I want to thank you for your sweet words of encouragement in the past when I’ve posted about my sadness/loneliness. And you were right. Things are looking up and I’m cautiously optimistic that this is going to be a great summer. :-)


Mary… I cannot tell you how happy your comment made me today! I am SO excited for your summer;) Please keep me updated with everything! Let me know how you like the journal too!


I have been in a running /exercise rut for literally about a year. I think I needed some time off after a race last summer–but that break turned into several months. Working out used to be part of my daily routine and I fell out of that. I’m really working to make it a routine again because I feel so much better (physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually) when I’m getting my sweat on several times a week. My husband has been really supportive because he sees how much happier I am when I run/work out frequently.
Fav milkshake flavor: I love a vanilla base with those mini marshmallows in it. Or the fresh strawberry and peach shakes at Taco Amigo in the summer. SO GOOD.


HEY AMANDA!!! I am glad that you were able to take time off after your summer rest last year and getting back into the routine that makes you feel good NOW. Okay, your shake descriptions are making me drool! Thanks girl and enjoy the rest of your day!


I was burned out this past year. I took more time off than I normally do, I did not gain weight because I started spinning, strength training, and doing the Cybex Arc (a type of elliptical machine). After a few months I just ran shorter distances for fun and to ease back into running. I’ve only just started running with my teammates again and I have a half-marathon in October.

Morning runs I eat Ezekiel toast with almond butter or oatmeal with fruit and nuts. I know both will stay down and not make me feel overly full.

hmm. I had an amazing caramel milkshake from Shake Shack in NYC. (it also was what I consider a normal size, since it was 12 oz and not ginormous. I can’t drink a big one alone).


I LOVE this post! It is so true, we all have ruts sometimes and especially now with social media it’s hard to take time off and not get down on yourself, but time off from running is a great time to remember all the things you enjoy outside of running!! Great post as usual :)


Thank you so much Julie! I agree… so important to remember all of the stuff we love outside of running too:) I hope you are having a beautiful day Julie!


Cross training during race training and after a race helps me avoid ruts. I’m just not built to only run…I recently took up swimming and that’s gotten me excited for all forms of exercise including running, possibly because I know have to fit it in around another form of cross training, and that means I’m grateful for every run!


I was in a rut around December/January, and finally decided to change my focus to hiking, and make a goal to hike peaks. So I started training for that and within a few days, my legs were longing to run again! Ha! I picked running back up easily after that—and also realized that I probably hadn’t been training hard enough if it was that easy to get back into, so I started working with a couch as well around March. I still have that goal to hike peaks, so I still usually hike at least once a week, but I’m focusing on getting a PR in a 5k next week, and running my first half next month. THEN I’ll hike some peaks :)

As for pre-race fuel, still figuring that out. My long run right now is about 7 miles, so I don’t need much. I’ve just been keeping a bottle of Nuun by my bed to drink a bit of when I wake up to use the restroom around 3-4am before a long run, then I’ll drink a bit more when I wake up + 2-4 Honeystinger chews (I try to make that little expensive bag last, ha! But they sit well in my stomach so I’ll take it). But I’m hoping to figure out more options, especially with that half marathon coming up.

Also, I plan on going back through your blog and getting some music ideas for my 5k! Gotta keep pumped up to get my PR!!


The same thing happened to me; I took a week off from running to do a section hike of the Appalachian Trail (in North Carolina, where there are a lot of hills) and although I loved it, I was itching to run again after a few days!


Oh man, I love anything Oreo! I tend to get in a run like clockwork every single summer. I am just not capable of running in the crazy Florida heat. So instead I do other workouts I enjoy, like kickboxing or Insanity. I am going to try to keep running a bit more regularly this summer since I’ve gotten into a really good morning routine, however I’ll give myself breaks as my body tells me it needs them!


Hi Janae it’s Valerie once again! I commented on your blog for the first time a few days ago and I just wanted to say you’re honestly the most amazing and dedicated runner I’ve seen. This is alittle random but i have a question about a particular post that I stumbled upon (which is how I discovered your blog). It’s the blog post about losing your period and having to decrease your milage/eat more to get it back. I was just curious as to how much you decreased in your running? Did you also decrease the days you ran as well? Currently I’m in the same situation hoping to gain back some bodyfat/weight to get it back so I was just wondering how you went about the process while decreasing the running. Thanks again hope to hear back from you!:)


HEY VALERIE!!! Thank you so much for commenting! Yes yes yes… amenorrhea! So at that point I took off running 100% due to an injury for about 3-4 months. I swam and lifted but very low intensity. From there I picked up some mileage again only to get injured again:( So besides not running a ton, the biggest thing for me personally was changing my diet. I increased my calories and especially my daily intake of fat (mainly through eggs, cheese, avocado, yogurts, nut butters) a TON. I don’t know the perfect solution for how to get your period back but my brother that is a doctor put it simply to me, eat more and run less. That is what I did. It took me around 6 months (I think… that was a while ago now) to get it back and I got pregnant with Brooke right after that. GOOD LUCK and it is so beyond worth it to do what you need to do to get your reproductive system working normally again! You’ve got this… I’m cheering you on!


Ooo I see, I’m glad to hear you got it back and eventually had brooke! :) that must have been a huge weight off your shoulders! Not gonna lie though, taking time off running for me is SOO hard especially because I feel like I’ll lose my endurance and fitness from not running. I run about 5 days a week and suddenly stopping just kinda makes me anxious, you know? So at the moment im in a HUGE conflict with myself. It’s so frustrating :/


I am in the same boat as you. So, hugs!! I first lost my cycle in August of last year. I went through the motions with my OB. sonogram to check lining (paper thin), blood tests to check hormones and thyroid (all good) and finally prescribed synthetic hormones (even they didn’t bring back my cycle). So I did as Janae did, ran less, ate more. And it was hard both mentally and physically for me. By the end of December my cycle returned, and like clock work was back again in January and February. .. and now nothing :( I am scheduled to have another sonogram and then again meet with my OB this week. I know the answer is to again eat more, run less. But it is very hard for me personally bc I tend to gain weight easily and struggle with losing it and running is my solace from being a stay at home mom to a ( newly turned) 3 year old. But I also know we want another baby and this is getting in the way of that and I am starting to feel the pressure. I’m not sure yet what I will do. But I wanted to share my struggles with you and let you know you’re not alone. I wish you the best! Keep me posted


If I’m honest I think I’m ready for a break from my running routine – which is good, because I’m about to start a summer job that will seriously limit how much I can run. So I’m currently struggling with feeling ready for a break on the one hand, and worrying about how I’ll cope with being far less active on the other hand. I wish I could get in one more marathon (my perfect race distance) before I take a break, but I start in a week, so.

I used to work at Chick-fil-A and while I’m not a big fan of milkshakes, there will always be a place in my heart (and, you know, some other parts of me) for their peppermint chocolate chip milkshake.


If you don’t have dessert /fries with your salad I don’t get it.. haha! I love having salad and then some nice chocolate chip cookies to balance back out ;) I’m not too big on salad if you can tell… haha.


I haven’t had a milkshake since my birthday last September but now that I seen yours, I might have one today. And that salad looks so good. I love the balance.


Last fall I got into a physical rut more than a mental rut. I had increased my mileage over the summer and ran consistently high mileage for me (upper 40’s and peaked into the 50″s). It wasn’t difficult and I felt great, and even ran a spontaneous trail run that was exactly 26 miles. It was great, I was visiting home for the summer and running with my brother and mom…….but a few weeks after returning home, my body was not very happy. I had muscle edema that hurt and made me feel so slow. Not easy when you coach high school XC! I ran through it for the most part but did more time keeping than pacing like usual. I got advice from the other assistant coach on the signs of overtraining when to end a run to reset myself.

Milkshakes-yum. When I was growing up my mom would take us for milkshake and french fries and we’d dip the fries! sooo good.

Happy Tuesday! And to your gudding nurse-Happy Nurses Week!


I get into a rut after a big race I’ve been training for. . Once I’ve achieved the goal, I’m left in this place of “now what?”

I loved your tip about running in a new place! I agree. If I’m really not feeling it, I’ll get myself a month pass at a ballet barre or boxing gym and try a month of some other workout. When I finally decide to get back to running, I’m still in shape, but gave myself the much needed break.


That journal sounds awesome! I just ordered one off amazon.

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