We have all heard the saying “Running is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical.” I have also always heard that the last few weeks of marathon training are the hardest, even though your body is in its peak physical condition. Over the last three months, we have all had our share of “good running days” and “bad running days” but lately, I have been really struggling to get out and run. It’s not because my body can’t do it. In fact, the idea of running 10 miles now seems like “a nice, easy morning run.” I am eating the right foods, hydrating properly, massaging sore muscles, getting enough sleep and stretching out tension with yoga. So why am I having such a difficult time going for a run?
If you are like me, you have hit your marathon slump. With marathon day only a few weeks away and our training coming to an end, our bodies have conquered their physical challenges. Honestly, you could run a marathon tomorrow if you wanted to. With our bodies feeling so strong, trained and healthy, our minds have room to insert their opinions. “I’ll just skip ONE run this week.” “I would run but those dishes aren’t going to wash themselves.” “I can’t run tonight because I need to get dinner ready.” “I stayed too late at work to go for a run.” “It looks like it MIGHT rain, so better play it safe and stay in bed.”
Marathon slumps happen to just about everyone, even professional athletes. The rest of our training will be mostly devoted to conquering our mental roadblocks and finding ways to keep ourselves interested and excited about running. One of the best ways we can do this is by changing up our running routines. Here are a few small, simple changes that can give you a new reason to get up and go running:
1. Buy something new. Throwing money at a problem isn’t usually the best way to deal with it, but sometimes a new pair of shoes, some new shorts, a new watch or even a new pair of socks can be a reason to go run. It’s fun to use things that are specifically designed to help you run better and the idea of testing them out might be just what you need to get out of bed and on the road in the morning.
2. Try a new route. I run around a lake close to my house every morning. EVERY. MORNING. Running in the same spot everyday can get boring, so try a new setting. Go for a trail run through a local park or run through the concrete jungle of downtown. The new sights, smells and sounds can add excitement to your running routine.
3. Keep a running journal. Start tracking your runs in a journal and write a small summary of how you feel pre- and post-run. Looking back on what you have been able to accomplish can give you motivation to keep pushing.
4. Run mindfully. Give your run a purpose by letting your creativity and mindfulness flow. Devote your morning runs to solving a problem at work or to creating a new work of art or writing a new song. Let your morning run be the development phase for the rest of your day. Try creating intentions for each part of your run. Devote each mile to someone or something positive in your life.
5. Give it 10 minutes. If you are still hitting a mental wall everyday, go out for a 10 minute run. Typically, once you run for 10 minutes, you will want to continue to run. Getting out the door is the hardest part! If you still hate it after 10 minutes, go home and try again tomorrow.
Break through those mental blocks! Here is your twelfth week of recommended workouts:
Monday: 10 minute warm up, 45 minute easy run, 5 minute cool down
Tuesday: 10 minute warm up, 2 x (20 minute run at race pace + 10 minute easy run), 5 minute cool down
Wednesday: 10 minute warm up, 50 minute easy run, 5 minute cool down
Thursday: 10 minute warm up, 80 minute easy run, 5 minute cool down
Saturday: 1 mile warm up, 22 mile easy run, 10 minute cool down
Sunday: Cross train 30-60 minutes
Keep up with your weekly marathon training and find running tips every Monday on Peaceful Dumpling!
Week 11: Restorative DIY Self-Massage
Week 10: Race Day Tips
Photo Credit: Claire Harris