Facing down the running slump – a little training update

Since I posted last week about being in a running slump, I’m here to report that things are getting better – slowly. This isn’t really one of those slumps where you can just go out and have a good workout and everything is magically back to normal. This is a rough time of year, and if I want out of this slump I’m going to have to fight my way out. And I am fighting, little bits at a time. I can’t stress enough how much I am looking forward to being done with the Icebreaker Indoor Half Marathon this weekend so I can move on to the bigger and better things that await me in a few months.

Here’s how I’ve been getting myself out of slumpsville lately:

 

Hit the road, Jack

I’ve been getting back outside for more of my runs now that the temps are warming up to the balmy 20-40 degree range, and it’s making me feel a lot better, even when the elements are laughing in my face. Take, for instance, my long run last weekend.

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I couldn’t get my lazy butt out of bed to do it in the morning on Sunday, so I forced myself to do it after the Packers game because I was not skipping a long run.

The first three miles were on sidewalks that were super snowy, and it was rough. My legs felt so beat up after that; it actually took me a few days to really feel better. But after those three miles, the sidewalks got better and I started to get into my groove. I wasn’t happy to be out running at dinnertime on a Sunday night, but I was determined to finish and teach myself a lesson about being lazy and procrastinating long runs.

I ended the run very strong and even had one of the negative-splittiest negative splits I’ve had in a while!

You can really tell where the terrain good, and when it wasn't!
You can really tell where the terrain good, and when it wasn’t!

I have to admit, running through the quiet streets on a Sunday evening, with many people still huddled inside bars and warm, quiet homes watching football, was actually kind of peaceful. At least once I got out of all that damn snow.

 

And then came Tuesday.

Tuesday is normally my treadmill speedwork day. I was sitting there at work that day, trying to muster up some motivation to get on the ‘mill after work when it hit me: if it’s making me feel this bad, then why don’t I just skip the stupid treadmill? I decided to just go home after work and do a quick run outside. I had a ton of stuff to do at home that evening, and it made me feel a lot better that I could stop home, throw in a load of laundry, go out for my run and get a head start on my chores instead of waiting until I got home from the gym to start everything.

That run outside felt great! I went the entire run without looking at my Garmin. I wanted to run by feel and see where that got me, which ended up being an 8:20 average. It was a nice “goldilocks” pace: not too hot, not too cold, could have kept going for a couple more miles if I needed to. I’d like to see it a bit faster, but you can’t really expect miracles when you’ve been wussing out on your training for, oh, 2 months now.

 

I like to pretend that this is really a glimpse of the not-too-distant future, when that 6:32 is a pace I can hold for a couple miles, not just a few seconds!!
I like to pretend that this is really a glimpse of the not-too-distant future, when that 6:32 is a pace I can hold for a couple miles, not just a few seconds!!

 

The Power of 10!!

10 miles has always been one of my favorite distances to run. Maybe because it is a nice even number. Maybe because it is a comfortable compromise between the long and short runs. I don’t know what it is, but I have never had a bad 10 mile run.

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Yesterday, I had off for MLK Day, so naturally I put off my long run until then. I have to say, it was weird doing a long run on a Monday afternoon, but man am I glad I got out there and did it! I didn’t really know how this long run would go, but lo and behold, I went out there and ran my fastest 10 miles to date – 1:25:48 (8:35 avg pace)! 

I was definitely not expecting, on a dreary Monday afternoon, to have that much energy and be able to run this strong throughout:

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Check out that mile 7! It’s not often that I can hit an 8:00 minute mile in the middle of a run that long. In fact, after I typed that I got curious so I went back and looked it up and sure enough – I have never run a mile that fast in a long run, not even during my half marathon races! There’s something to be said about the motivating power of just wanting your run to be over with so badly! (full disclosure: mile 7 was pretty much all downhill though)

This was another great negative split run – I ran the second 5 miles almost 3 minutes faster than the first (that’s going from an average pace of 8:52 to 8:20!).

This run was the big confidence booster I needed going into Icebreaker this weekend. I still feel under trained, but maybe things won’t be as dismal as I thought. With all that I could have done better this winter, I have to say that I seem to be responding well to the additional rest I’m getting and it is reflected in many of my run times lately.

 

And finally….

I started putting together my marathon training plan!!

So exciting! More on that tomorrow!!

 

 

Do you have a favorite run distance?

How are you beating the winter running “blahs”?

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4 thoughts on “Facing down the running slump – a little training update

  1. Glad to hear your training is picking up! Winter is definitely a tough time for me as well. I try not to give myself a choice, whatever the training plan says–I go out and run. Unless it is icy! If it is icy you will find me inside on the couch!

  2. Great job getting back out there. I find in the winter it takes more to get me out the door, but then I am always glad I did. Running in the snow is a challenge, and I find I get tired all over–like trail running– probably from all the extra stabilization needed!
    One of my goals is to run a mile in one of my runs that starts with a 6–

  3. It sounds like you’re really killing it. Hitting an 8 min/mile during a long run is excellent! 10 miles is also my absolute favorite distance to run. It’s a goldilocks distance for me 🙂

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