Lost motivation - any advice?
TL DR - I used to love training, but since doing an Ironman in July, I don't feel any sense of enjoyment when exercising. I've never felt such little motivation to train before. Anyone else experienced this? Any advice?
(Please excuse the length of this. I just need to vent...)
The other day, I set off for a run, planning to cover at least 8 miles. The weather was ideal so I intended to follow one of my favourite routes. But only 2 miles in I realised I was not enjoying myself. I just thought, "this isn't fun". I tried plodding for another half mile before stopping, turning around, and walking home. I wasn't injured or tired in any way. To paraphrase Forrest Gump, I just didn't feel like running.
This may not sound like much of a big deal. I understand many folk don't run for fun, but this feels so odd to me. I love running. However, recently I have been making excuses to avoid putting on my trainers. And when I have gone out, whatever the distance, I just feel indifferent to it now. The sense of achievement just isn't there.
I have always signed up to different events, to provide a focus and reason for training. I started with a couple of obstacle races which gave me the taste to seek bigger challenges. After reading about Ironman racing in 2012, I immediately dismissed the idea as an absolute impossibility. But I was inspired to find out more about multi sport racing. I taught myself to swim by watching youtube videos, I bought a wrecked second hand road bike, and I started signing up for longer running events. After three years, I had completed two open water swim events, two marathons and two standard triathlons. I had also invested in a decent new road bike and joined a tri club. Many of the members of this club were Ironman finishers, and I thought they were super-humans! They coached, advised and encouraged me right up to the start line of Ironman UK 2016. And when I eventually got to the finish chute and heard the words, "You are an Ironman", I felt like I could accomplish anything.
Once the buzz and thrill of my achievement started to fade, I started thinking, 'what next?' So I signed up for something else I once thought was impossible; a 50 mile ultramarathon. And this is what I should be training for just now. I should be out running, racking up the miles, getting stronger and fitter in preparation for a huge physical and mental challenge that is only a few months away.
But I can't be bothered.
I hate saying those words, I hate acknowledging my piss-poor attitude. But I have to be honest. I signed up for the ultra without really knowing why I wanted to do such an event. I just wanted to keep riding the wave of excitement and motivation that carried me around the Ironman course. But instead, whenever I go for a swim or cycle or run, I just think, 'meh'. (Especially when running, even though it is my first and strongest discipline).
And so I am now backsliding, losing my strength and fitness, losing the skills and ability to swim, bike and run as well as I should. As a result, I have been avoiding training with my club. I don't want to them about it for some reason. It just seems shameful. Most of them have completed multiple Iron distance races and ultramarathons, all while juggling work and home lives that are far more stressful and complicated than mine. I genuinely feel I would rather anonymously turn to strangers on a forum than speak with my trusted club mates.
So, I guess what I'm asking is, is this normal? Has anyone had similar experiences? Does anyone have any advice? It feels like I'm losing something that I considered to be a massive part of my identity and it is quite upsetting.
I expect to hear many cyclists try to remind me of rule 5....