Can we take a minute to talk about how much WORK it is to train day in and day out for a race? Putting your body through the rigorous cycle of training day after day can be a huge mental and physical drain. But I have news for you, you aren’t alone.
I have been running for as long as I can remember. I entered my first race sometime in grade school with my mom. We ran a local 5k together and by the time I graduated college, I crossed the finish line of a marathon. And really, I’ve never looked back since. So I guess you could say, the training slump hits me from time to time as well.
What is a training slump?
Have you suddenly lost motivation to train? Does lacing up your shoes for a run seem daunting? Are you struggling to hit paces that normally come easy to you? If you’ve answered yes to any or all of these, it’s very likely that you are in the middle of a training slump.
So what causes this so-called “slump?”
How do we get out of this “slump?”
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “There’s no way doing those things will help fix what I’m going through!” And I’ll be the first to tell you this: 6 weeks before I ran my fastest marathon, my coach put me on a 4 day workout ban. You can imagine my surprise and frustration. I had been dealing with a nagging hamstring that wouldn’t let me do what I wanted, my legs were constantly heavy and felt flat when I ran, and I just couldn’t find any sort of speed. I was on the verge of tears daily. It was then that my coach insisted I be put on a “workout ban” for at least 3 days to let my body reset and allow some for some extra rest. I was floored and I believe I fought with him over it. But at the end of the day, I knew I had a coach for a reason so I listened. Once I was allowed to return to running, I found I had a bit of a “pop” in my legs. Fast forward to race day and I ran an 11 minute marathon PR and qualified for the Boston marathon. Not allowing myself the little rest and reset it needed could have been detrimental. I could have potentially continued to dig myself into a hole and lose fitness.
The line between working hard to build fitness and digging a hole into burnout is a fine one, so be sure to tread lightly and listen to your body. After all, you’re the one that knows it best.