I have been in a complete and total running slump. A funk of sorts. Feeling frustrated at races. Feeling tired on training runs and allowing the negative self-talk to slowly creep in and take over.
Does this ever happen to you?
According to Active.com getting in a running slump can be very common with many different factors being the cause. When I read active.com’s article, “In a slump? How to break that plateau” it resonated with me when author Matt Fitzgerald states,
“Factors in your life outside of training can also cause a plateau by sapping precious energy. These factors can include job stress, inadequate sleep, fatigue from travel, and poor diet. Such things are not always avoidable. However, always bear in mind that as your general well-being goes, so goes your running. So do the best you can to maintain a balanced and healthy overall lifestyle at all times.”
I have had an AHA! Moment! Too much stress from working through PTSD is DEFINITELY a cause in sapping my energy!
So in big news with running for me I have decided NOT to run the NH Pinnacle 50K next weekend. It has taken some soul searching to make this decision but it is definitely the right decision for me. I have been struggling with running since the Boston Marathon. First it was what seemed like an endless six weeks stuck in a walking BOOT. And even worse than missing running during this time was missing out on talking with my friends on long runs. Just when I most needed the therapeutic release of running and sharing my Boston Marathon story I was stuck in the gym working out alone. Where was my on trail therapy?!?! During a time when I most needed to cry and to try to let it all go (or at least some of it) I did not have that chance and I bottled everything up inside.
Since I was given the green light to start running again about mid summer, I quickly hid my BOOT in the closet and I set new running goals for myself. I also signed up for some races hoping to find happiness and success on the trails.
The way that each person measures their success is very different but for me success means strong completion of a race, sticking to your race plan, and feeling like you have given everything when you cross the finish line. I have run 4 races since I started increasing my mileage again in hopes of finding my own personal success–LOON Mountain Race, Jay Peak 25K Trail Race, Fox Hill 5K, and the Squam Lakes Trail Race (12.2 Miles). Although I have had strong finishes during these races the biggest thing missing was my positive attitude. During these races (with the exception of the Fox Hill 5K) there were tough times during the race that normally would be much easier to push through. I have been frustrated with myself, I have felt weakness and not strength and I was allowing other runners on the course to take advantage of this mental state to fly by me down the trail. I have not been feeling confident about running a 50K and I have been struggling to stay positive on a daily basis (which is getting better with the help of my amazing counselor helping me with my PTSD).
After much thought, talking to my doctor about my foot (which is feeling better–about 90%), talking with my husband, and my awesome coach Denise (The Sustainable Athlete) I made a decision to take the pressure off and to set my sights on running a strong and POSITIVE Boston Marathon in the spring (in case you missed it I re-qualified for Boston at Boston 2013, a race story which I have yet to tell but will share when I am ready). I want to have fun with running again. I want it to feel good!
Be Positive! Try Something New! Change it Up!
I feel lighter since I made the choice not to run the 50K. The pressure is off and its time to have a little fun, to continue to work on getting stronger than ever, and to heal my foot to 100%. My new plan is to have some fun with running and fitness in general. I am pumped to cross train and to run on the trails just for shear enjoyment. I can’t wait to go for an amazing fall foliage run and to enjoy the warm glow of the leaves (on the trails away from the Leaf Peepers)! I am excited to get back in the pool for some swimming. I want to find a Spinning class and I am most certainly waiting for the first big snow fall for an amazing cross country ski (I know this wish is a little premature but in NH once the leaves fall anything is possible)! I am focusing on the positives. I am focusing on moving forward. I am focusing on just enjoying being me and sharing laughs and fun with the people I love. I need to focus on my own well-being right now and that is OK!
What will you do to focus on your own well-being?