This past week has been ruff. *makes dorky heart eyes at all dogs in general* I’ve been tired, not that excited about my runs, waking up too tired and having to postpone my runs til after work, bored of my routes, etc etc etc… But I ain’t got time for burn out, because I already spent all the money on these upcoming races! Here’s a lil synopsis of what’s been going on in my runs, and then we’ll get into what I do when I’m feeling a slump coming on:
Last week was my highest mileage ever, total of 25 miles for the week. (yay!) I had a 6 miler as my long run for cut back week (non-running readers: cut back weeks are built in to training cycles so you can give your body a rest from the growing mileage) which I decided to run at 9 am on a hot Florida Saturday, with a decent little time goal that turned out to be too much with the humidity and the heat, so it got cut short at 5 miles. I did get a good overpass selfie though.
I thought cutback week would be a relief and would leave me energized, but it didn’t really do that. My summer night class is over, so this was the first week I switched my long run from Sunday to Saturday, and maybe that had something to do with it. WHO KNOWS.
Tuesday I did 3 treadmill miles, and I was running for about five minutes before the treadmill decided to not keep track of my time or pace on the screen. The belt kept rolling underneath me, but the display time was stuck on 5 minutes for a very long time. When I finally realized the clock wasn’t moving I did some quick math in my head and turned on the stopwatch on my phone, and then throughout the whole run I had to keep tapping the screen so it wouldn’t black out. Turns out I technically am coordinated enough to do that, but I was frustrated by all the unnecessary energy I was having to expend. (My mom says athletes are the laziest people…I can’t disagree with her there.) For no reason other than I was bored to death of treadmilling, I decided to add some one-minute hard efforts with a 2-3 minute easy effort recoveries. It was so fun to go fast! Definitely helped break up the boredom of watching people sit on the leg extension machine in front of me.
Finally last night (Wednesday) I had a good run! Five miles on the schedule, so I spent a while looking at Google Maps to see where I could run. I finally decided to do a loop around my favorite lake (there is a dog park one one side…) and another loop through a park in a nice neighborhood. The sky promised me a rain shower, so I french-braided my hair down my back, donned my Nike running cap, and stuffed my phone into a snack sized ziplock. This lake is where I ran when I was first getting back into running since moving to Orlando, and I had used the tried and true method of “run to the next park bench, walk to the next trash can, run to the next light post,” and so on. It was effective in its time. I was remembering those runs last night, and I smiled knowing that I can now run the whole loop at a moderate pace without stopping. It’s always nice to have a tangible reminder of your progress!
The run felt good, and I felt really strong on the uphills. After the first half mile I realized I was going about 45 seconds faster than I wanted to, and I figured I better slow down so I could finish the whole run. (Yaaas though!) Around mile 4 it finally started to rain – not a satisfying rain that really cools down your body, but enough of a sprinkle to reduce the sauna quality of the air. The bill of my hat was soaked when I got home though, so maybe it was raining more than I thought. Or maybe I just sweat like a horse.
In my last quarter of a mile, a lady was walking on the path in front of me, turned and saw that I was running up behind her, and she started running! She wasn’t even in running clothes and she was carrying a huge umbrella. Competitive much? Haha. I passed her and when I got in my car to leave, she was walking again, so not sure what that was about.
It felt sooo nice to have a good run again. I usually prefer morning runs because they’re just so much easier on the day’s schedule, but I think it was refreshing to see other runners and bikers out on the trail. It reminded me that I’m not the only crazy person who runs for fun. There was a girl going the opposite direction from me around the lake and we passed each other a few times. I should have asked her name! Would that have been weird? We had similar paces and it would be fun to run together.
Thankfully that happy 5 miler lifted me out of slump-ville. Here are some of the other things I’ve used when I see a slump coming:
- Switch up my running route. Run somewhere with different scenery, try a harder route, an easier route, one with hills or with no hills, run somewhere you’ve always wanted to explore in your city. Anything to change things up and remind you that running is supposed to be fun!
- Switch up the pace. Adding a few sprints to the middle of a run or even finishing a run with a nice hard effort makes you feel like a superhero, which is really the reason why we run, isn’t it?
- Buying some new running clothes. Even new socks make me feel excited to run again. I’m currently in need of some new sports bras, and I have my eye on the new Under Armour ones! I have read really good reviews of the Victoria’s Secret ones as well.
- Take a day off. Like, not just a rest day, but literally a scheduled day of running, and just skip it. It’s sort of liberating. You just have to make sure not to beat yourself up for it, because you did it on purpose and FOR a purpose. You can decide the next day if you want to make it up or just continue on like nothing happened. Resting and skipping one day of training is way better than pushing through too much training and hating your sport altogether.
- Look back at your training log and see your progress! Go all the way back to your first runs. Is your pace better? Is your distance longer? It’s really encouraging to see that your work actually has paid off.
- Eat a really yummy cookie. This always makes me feel better about every situation. Current favorite cookie is from Chick-fil-a. *drool*
How do you refresh yourself when your training gets boring?
Would you be weirded out if another runner stopped you to say hi and wanted to meet up for a run??