Tips for Working Your Way Out of a Training Slump

Half Marathon Training Update

I have been running consistently since the beginning of March. Those first few runs are burned into my memory. At first, we alternated walking and running. Five minutes walking three minutes running, and repeat. After the three minutes, my body was begging for those minutes of walking. My lungs screamed; my heart rate skyrocketed, and those five minutes of walking were barely enough rest to keep going. It’s a stark contrast to my runs the past week. The last two weeks, I have run sixteen miles. Last Friday we did our first six-mile run. It felt amazing. The first two miles were a little rough, but after that, my mind wandered, and carried me through the last four miles. Even when the last mile seemed to drag on, I kept thinking back to when one mile seemed too far. At that point, I had a group of humans at work who would all run with me. We would head outside at about 4:30 pm and run. We had pre-determined routes, and the longest we ever did was a 5k. (Look back at my 5k Post) I remember my feet dragging…and my body screaming to stop.

It’s comforting to look back at these beginning runs. Especially when my motivation is low, and I feel like I haven’t gained enough endurance or speed yet. Last Thursday I had scheduled a four-mile run, which seemed like nothing compared to the previous week’s five-mile run. My body was not in the mood for that run though, and it dragged on. My normal average moving pace for long runs is about 9:30-9:40, but I was running at about a 10:30 pace the whole time. That run devastated me. My shin splints were flaring up, then my calves started falling asleep, and my normal run stride looked more like an ungraceful trot through the park. My shin splints had been flaring up all week, probably because of the increased mileage. Attempting to curb this, I decided to tape up m shins with KT tape and put my calves in compression sleeves. I think this ended up exacerbating the problem, and made my calves fall asleep for the first time in weeks. I ended the run completely demoralized and dreading the next days 6-mile adventure we had planned.

I dragged my broken body home, showered and got ready for work. The entire rest of the day, I continued to beat myself up for the run. Within 45 minutes my perception of my ability to complete my half training was completely thrown into question. I was lamenting my terrible run to my coworker, and he thought on it for a second, then said. “Do you remember when we almost died on that one mile loop?” I laughed, but he had a point. There was a point in time, not so long ago, when I could barely finish a mile, at any pace. Instead of beating myself up for this slower run, I should be celebrating my completion of the distance, and the ease at which I was able to complete it. Not every training session will feel good, and not every run will be better than the last. The important thing is to keep running. Keep waking up early and dragging your butt out into the cold. As long as I continue on this path, with consistency, I will reach my half marathon goal.

My Three Tips for Mid-Training Slump

1.       Mix up your music, and make sure it has something that will motivate you.
2.       Look back to the beginning of your journey. Compare your times, distances and take stock of what all you have accomplished.
3.       Reward yourself. You’ve done so well, and will continue to kick butt!
What are your tips to combat training slumps? Comment below!