Ever Been In A Running Slump?

Contributed By Michele Gonzalez, Author of NYC Running Mama 
My late summer and early fall months were filled with dreams of winning the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge.  Visions of participating in and completing my first ultra. Excitement of racing again after giving birth to my son earlier in the year.  With all these fun, challenging events, it’s easy to see how I was able to happily log hundreds of miles, day after day.
But, after the highs of representing my borough [Staten Island] at the NYC Marathon and my first dabble with an ultra distance on November 19th, I found myself in a MAJOR slump Thanksgiving weekend.
I had no desire to run. NONE It wasn’t just a day here or there. I’ve dealt with minor hiccups in my training before.  No. This was much worse. This was a string of mornings where I literally could not pull myself out of bed to run even a few miles. And when I would force myself to dress and head out the door, I felt terrible and would return after a few, short miles.

My son can better articulate what I was growing through
What was going on with me?
It was a huge letdown to go from viewing an 8-mile run as “a short run” to being happy that I managed to run a very slow 3 or 4 miles.
I was approaching almost 2 weeks of very little running (I went from averaging 45-55 miles a week to less than 25) and realized many other aspects of my life were being impacted – I found myself eating poorly, not drinking enough water, getting much less sleep than my body needs, and just being an overall grouch.  And it becomes a downward spiral because those things directly affect my running performance.
I decided I needed to do SOMETHING to shake things up and get me back on track.
I had to figure out why I was having such a rough few weeks.  This is what I came up with: 
There is a void in my life. I put so much time, energy, and effort into training for the NYC Marathon and Knickerbocker 60k. For months, a large part of my life revolved around these two events. Since they are over and I’m not training for anything (just yet), I have a void to fill.
I am rundown. I didn’t take enough of a break after the Knickerbocker 60k. I took 3x days off and then jumped back into 7 or 8 mile runs.  While I felt okay at the time, I don’t believe I gave my body enough time to rest and fully recover from the stress of running a 30-miler, marathon, and 60k in 5 weeks.
It’s cold out. I prefer running in warm weather [I actually enjoyed running in the heat during my deployments to Iraq]. I get cold easily and am much more inclined to lay in bed under the covers then head out for a 10 mile run in 20 degree weather.
I’ve experienced these at various points throughout my running career and often do one or more things to help pull myself out:
1. Sign up for a race with a friend and run it together (make  it a fun run).
2. Do a run that you love.  Could be a hard 4 or 5-miler where your lungs are burning and your legs are filled with lactic acid by the time you finish.  Or it could be a trail race.  Or it could be your favorite place to run.  Do something that will make you finish running with a smile on your face.
3. If you use an IPOD, add a little variety to the music. I often listen to the same music day after day.  A simple playlist swap can do the trick!
4. Buy some new running clothes. I’m ALWAYS more excited to go for a run when I have a new pair of running shoes or a new jacket or shirt.
I decided to do #s 2, 3 AND 4 – I signed up for the Staten Island Trail Festival 25k, added some holiday music to my IPOD playlist, and bought a whole TON of clothes from Saucony [entirely too many].

Smiling in my new Saucony running shirt after completing the 25k Trail Race!
And I’m happy to report that I have been back on track since last week!!

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