You may have noticed (if you read “Week in Workouts” on Fridays) that my running has kind of dropped off in the last month or two. I have been trying not to admit it… but I think I’m in a running rut. This spring was literally the highlight of my entire running career (which admittedly isn’t all that long… I only started running in the Fall of 2010). I felt like I was just getting better and better and better. I overcame speed barriers, accomplished goals… I mean I ran a marathon! But ever since marathon? Very, very blah. I ran a half and a 10K after the marathon and I wasn’t really pleased with either one of them. I could’ve done better. And now? Now I’m out of the groove. My runs feel SO SLOW and mentally I’m totally out of the game. Running has always made me feel good about myself, but recently I’ve been finding myself beating myself up on every run. So what’s going on here? I’m in a rut. I want to break out of this rut. I want to fall back in love with running again because, despite the fact that I kind of hate it right now, I miss it. I miss loving it. Also fair warning: there are awesomely cheesy motivational pictures in this post… you know you love them 🙂
Here are a couple potential reasons for my running rut:
- It’s summer and it’s hotter than hell. Running in the summer is just HARDER. I know this intellectually but every time I go out and run I seem to forget this and just beat myself up mentally (I’m so kind to myself and say encouraging things like “look how out of shape you’ve gotten since the marathon” “you’re fat and slow” oh yes. I am a peach).
- The heat isn’t conducive to my running schedule right now. The way my life is working out right now, the best time of day for me to workout during the week is the middle of the workday (lunchtime). However, today the heat index at 12:30 pm was almost 108 degrees. I like to sweat but that’s just not safe. Recently I’ve been using early AM to attend to personal matters (intentionally vague) and afterwork is either yoga or social activities. This is what works for me but now I’m a slave to the treadmill most days and that’s just not as much fun.
- I’m running with the wrong crowd. I’m probably the only person on the planet whose running has been negatively impacted by joining up with a running club. I have been running with Mike’s running club and I HATE THEM. I really hate to be that negative about them but I find the group to be really snobby / not inclusive and I am BY FAR the slowest person in the group. Recently that’s really been getting me down. I start out a long run by getting annihilated by every member of the group (including the guy who starts the run late because he’s taking a pre-run extended visit to the port-o-potties). Also everyone in this group is like allergic to wearing shirts (guys AND girls). Put some damn clothes on, I’m dealing with body image issues here… RUDE.
- I’ve got competition in my workout schedule. I am totally in love with strength training / interval training right now, and yoga and I have totally gotten back together and we’re better than ever. This just doesn’t leave me as much time to dedicate solely to running. I feel like I lost a little bit of my fitness after the marathon (which is normal and to be expected) but it’s hard to get that back when I just don’t have the time to run as often.
Here is what I think I’m going to do to try and bust out of this rut:
- Ditch my Garmin. I can’t do anything about the heat, but I can try and reframe my focus. I’m going to stop obsessing over speed / time and focus on remembering why I fell in love with running in the first place.
- Try something new. I still really want to try trail running, but maybe I could also look for creative ways to break up my treadmill workouts. There’s plenty of inspiration out there… I just have to find it. I could also try listening to different things while on the treadmill. Some friends of mine listen to Podcasts, maybe I’d enjoy that!
- Create a schedule and stick to it. I love being in training because I have an external motivator. Without that, I’m kind of lost. With all the competition for my time / attention in my workout routine, I’m going to try and stick with three solid, challenging runs per week. I don’t have space for a lot of junk miles right now.
- Hang back with the group. I don’t want to stop going to the group because it’s something that I like doing with Mike. It’s also nice to have the external motivation to get up and get out for a run early on Saturday, and it changes things up by varying routes. However, instead of starting out with the group I think I’m going to hang back a few minutes and let everyone go. Then I’ll start my run on my terms, totally solo. Mike says we can look into other groups too… but we’ll see.