It was about 7.30am on a Saturday when we gathered in the sitting room of my ‘teenhood’ home. A family meeting had been called. Mum had lost her keys…. again. She was certain she had put them somewhere safe. Somewhere very safe. We all have one of those places, so safe even we don’t know where it is. It took all of us retracing her steps and thinking completely outside the box to locate the missing keys. We found them. In a pot plant in our front yard.

You may wonder what on earth has that got to do with my running mojo? Well, sometimes it takes a collaborative effort to find that which we had put safely away to use for completing a certain event or getting to a particular pace or distance. We kept it for that, and now that that goals been achieved or that event has been run, we’re not sure where it’s gone! Or sometimes, that elusive mojo gets lost in the somewhat repetitive nature of our day to day lives.

So – here are some thoughts, some retracing of steps, some potentially outside of the box ideas that might help you find that mojo again.

1.Change it up.

We are creatures of habit, and especially as busy mums, we need to know that we can fit in the planned run and know the route to get it into our day. But there is something so very refreshing about a change. Even if you only do it once, they say change is as good as a holiday. So, run a different route. Try a different time of day. Or run the same route in the opposite direction to what you would normally.

2. Phone a friend.

We were never created to do life in isolation. We don’t have to do it on our own to prove our strength or great capacity. Phone a friend and run together. This may mean you need to alter your pace, or plan for the week, but if it helps bring back the joy, it may be better for you than the tempo or interval run you’d planned. If you live in a remote area or don’t know anyone around you you could run with, then why not think about doing a virtual run with someone. You could set out at the same time and aim for the same pace and discuss your runs and the scenery on your return.

3. Join or create a group.

There are numbers of road and trail running groups around, and this provides a number of things. Social contact while you run – makes any longer runs much more enjoyable. It provides accountability – others are there waiting for you! They are often associated with the relevant state athletics associations and have access to professional advice and assistance. And most of all, it takes the focus of of yourself. There may be someone else there who needs to see your smile. Oftentimes we find what we’re looking for when we stop feeling sorry for ourselves and look to see what we can offer someone else. We all have something to give to the person next to us – even if it’s ‘just’ a friendly smile.

4. Have a different thought.

I have a friend who makes a statement “If you don’t like where your thoughts have got you to, have another thought”. Our minds are so incredibly powerful and what we think and say to ourselves is crucial. Some call it meditation, some call it positive self-talk… whatever you want to call it, think well about yourself and about your running. Think about enjoying it. Remember the times and the moments when you’re out on a run and you look up and see a picturesque landscape or scene in front of you. Remember the moments of crossing finish lines and of achieving something you had been dreaming of. Remember that feeling, and then go there.

I wrote a blog a while ago on rediscovering the adventure and wonder in our daily lives. As mothers, many working mothers, we can feel we are constantly doing the same old thing day in and day out, and long for an adventure or something new. But perhaps think about this: Although you may run along this road a hundred times, or you may have listened to that play list a thousand times over, or you may have washed dishes in the same sink 3 (and the rest!) times a day, or you may have had to ask your kids to do their homework for the umpteenth time… you have never done what you are doing at this precise moment in life, and you will never get to do it at this precise moment in time ever again. This moment is unique and special and is there to be seized. What is in this moment for you now? As you run – what is new about the scenery? What is new about the sunlight or the cloud light or the moonlight and the stars? Every moment of every day has the potential for adventure – if only we’d look for it and see things differently.

Just do it

Sometimes this is all it comes down to – make a choice. As a parent I use choices with our kids often – “You can choose to be fun and stay out here and be part of what we’re doing. Or you can choose to be grumpy in your room.” I cannot force my children to do anything or change their attitudes – as much as I’d love to sometimes! I can however offer them a choice and allow them to see that they actually control their emotions and their internal response to situations in life. And it’s the same for us – we get to choose. Choose to enjoy your run today. Choose to have a happy disposition. Choose to believe that you can do it. Choose to just get out there and make the most of every moment. Choose to stick to your plan, even if it gets tough. There is great satisfaction and motivation that comes from choosing to do something and doing it even when circumstances get tough and you want to give up. Don’t. Choose to keep moving and keep going. We will all have to make that choice at some point. It’s not easy. It’s hard. But it’s worth it. You have it inside you.

There are many other things that we can do to find our keys when they go missing – set a new goal, enter an event, read inspirational stories, scroll through the RMA feed, think about why you set out on a running journey in the first place… But I think the most important thing is this: never lose hope. It will return. It may be found somewhere you never imagined, like the pot plant in the front years, but the love and the joy and the passion will bubble up as you keep at it. And one day, maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week – you’ll wake up and feel like you can conquer anything that lies before you. Because you can. Mojo will be back.