I get where you're at, and it makes sense. I'm not entirely the best person to give advice about that, since I still haven't found a way out that completely works for me yet. All I know so far is what other people have told me: things like make a schedule (even a simple one, but something to stick to every day), and journaling (which as far as I know you already do).
I feel like a way to get back to training is to find a way to enjoy it more, even if it means shorter runs, less strenuous runs, or something like that. Or you can start with something else, like biking, or even just going for walks, and eventually building up the habit of going outside and enjoying it. Or, also, you can try to set up orienteering courses in nearby parks and just run them (even without confirmation if need be) so that you feel better about the running part. You can rerun old courses from previous events, make some courses on your own, or, if you want you can send me a map file and I can make some courses for you.
I think the key is to just learn how to enjoy it again (at least in my opinion), and that's something I've been trying recently.
There are a lot of people feeling the same way (older adults, too!) I never enjoyed training for training's sake. I don't think I've run in almost a year. My last race was a 5K in early March 2020. My last national orienteering event was NH in October 2019! I did make it to a few of the DVOA events we had last summer/fall. Normally I'd be traveling to QOC every weekend at this time of year, but I feel like it's not prudent and also will leave the limited slots to their members. I'm not super competitive, but the fun and travel and seeing friends at all of these events are what does it for me. Homemade trainings or distanced meet-ups to train can be fun, but the atmosphere is so different. I also cancelled my gym membership, which was mostly what I did in the winter, because I don't feel like it's safe there. So I've been kind of floating along, working from home, and while I do spend time outside on the weekends/after work it's mostly walking or hiking around. I don't think the motivation to do more will be back until things are looking much more like "normal".
Senioritus, they called it at my highschool, except compounded by the pandemic.
I found myself in a similar rut starting at the end of last year and you pretty much nailed the sentiment: floating through life with seemingly no purpose almost like a depression.
Now, I don't really have an answer or any great advice because if I did then I would be fine, but I want to write some things out for myself anyways.
A probable cause of that feeling I'll call "floating" is an enormous lack of certainty. People thrive in environments where they have a constant flow of purposeful and achievable short-term goals. Think back to the times you managed to get yourself into a decent training schedule. XC season? Great training for 2 reasons: feeling of obligation and also achieving goals (we humans are suckers for short term feedback on our progress/improvement). Pre JWOC / Team Trials? Again, there is a great short-term goal in sight. Fast forward to now, what are you training for? NAOC which may or may not happen? JWOC which may or may not happen? JWOC 2022? It really feels like there is nothing I can look forward to happening for certain so it's REALLY hard to feel like training has a purpose and that's just how it works (at least that's what I think).
How can you fix that? I'm not really sure. But Alex has a great point in terms of sticking to something every day and building a habit which is honestly how I've managed to stick to training for the longest time despite going through a lot of periods of ups and downs. I don't run everyday, but I honestly think that's a good place to start. My friend Elton never ran before in his life and started running 1 mile everyday in 2021 and guess what, he's still running over a month later. Everyday. That's more days than I've ran in 2021. So it might be worth finding a time that you can run everyday, and it doesn't have to be much because it's just trying to build a habit. If you find yourself making excuses or missing days then try doing it right in the morning when you wake up so that it's over with by the time you start your day.
Unfortunately that doesn't really fix the problem with mental state nor does it make running something that's exciting and motivating which is ultimately what should be the case. I wish I knew a good solution, but all I can think of is trying to come up with some of your own short-term training goals. Although not running related I'll use one of my goals as an example: learning how to do a pistol squat. It's a purposeful, attainable short-term goal that helps motivate me to do strength training.
As for general mental state and well-being outside of training (which it seems like you are also struggling with) I honestly have no clue what to do and I wish I did because I would do it myself...
I think it's rooted in a similar feeling of uncertainty and lack of purpose and also could benefit from the brainstorming of these short-term goals. But in reality it's just been kind of a tough time for a lot of people despite their situation and it's especially hard with lots of people (teachers, professors, companies) feigning positivity when in reality things really are quite out of the ordinary and there's not much we can do about it.
Anyways, hopefully there is some kind of advice in there you can pick out otherwise sorry for making you read all that.
Otherwise, I wish you luck in figuring it out.
Thank you guys, I really appreciate your thoughts (also AJ, wow, didn't expect that essay lol). I didn't exactly anticipate finding a solution here, I just wanted to get my thoughts out, but I think creating short-term goals and consistent routines is helpful advice, so I think I will try and implement them into my day-to-day life. Thank you
When I was training last Sunday though I came up with a 3-step sure-fire plan to fixing my life. 1) Figure out who I am, 2) Figure out who I want to be, 3) Figure out how to get there. It might be easier said than done though...
It's great that you have a plan! We believe in you, you can do it! If it ever feels like a lot, just remember to break it down (which you already did- but if you need to, break it down more)~ You got this!
I think that three-step plan is something you'll be working on for the rest of your life and the answers will always be different : )
Prepare for an essay from me.
So, as others have said, I think that feeling of just kinda floating isn't just you. I've certainly been feeling it lately. Every day kinda seems to blend into the others as we wait for something to happen.
I've been feeling it particularly in terms of making sense of what I'm training for.
I've set a few goals in terms of fun races with a few friends. A downhill mile, rerunning races from the past, and a few others. But it's not the same as an event with flags in the woods and friends at the finish.
Still, it's important to be optimistic. This is a very useful time to find out more about ourselves and what motivates us, what we need to bring out that extra level of effort. Personally, I love pouring myself into training and really going after it. For you, it sounds like competitions are one of your primary sources of motivation.
So how can you create a sort of competition or challenge for yourself during this? Something that seems unlikely but is also exciting to think about?