February 16, 2016

What Is Missing In My Running?

By Marek

What Is Missing In My Running!

What is missing in my running? This is the question I have been asking myself for nearly 6 months now. It’s not that I am concerned about the speed or endurance. There is something else that is missing. I would say the drive is not there anymore. Not gone totally, just not as strong as I would expect it to be. How have I gone from running 5-6 times per week and averaging 150 – 200 miles per month to running 3 – 4 times per week and struggling to hit 100 miles in a month?

Breaking the Routine

One of the key factors leading to my downfall was the fact that I broke my own rule. runningShortly after I started running, I decided to stick to a very important principle: to make sure I run at least 3-4 times per week and never have more than 3 days off in one go. I managed to stick to this rule for nearly 3 years, usually not having more that 3 days off in a week and hardly every having more than 2 days off in a row. And not that I was really forcing the issue. This just came very naturally. I would feel something missing if I was not running for a day and having two days off in a row was misery. But then last summer I gave it a push and decided to keep increasing my mileage. I had a good July and August was amazing, with nearly 200 miles. I had huge plans for September (the previous year both September and October were my best months), however, right at the start of the month, I lost the motivation. I had a few days off. I figured I simply need to rest. Big mistake. These few days off turned into 6 days off in a row. I finished the month with only 11 runs totalling just over 60 miles. Tragedy. The last time I had such a poor result was nearly two years earlier when I had an injury. And even then, I got more runs in, although they were shorter. October was not much better, although I posted my personal best times over 5km, 10km and Half Marathon distances. running journalThe slump continued through December, although I managed to increase the distance each month. January started poorly and I actually dropped in mileage compared to December. I even withdrew from running an ultra marathon as I simply felt unprepared. Now I have less than 50 days left until my Paris Marathon and I really need to turn things around.

How To Get Back Into the Groove

As I have mentioned before, it is not that I do not enjoy my running. I still take pleasure in being out on the run. I have even slowed down and do not feel the urge to achieve any specific speed, hence I am more relaxed. What I am struggling deeply with is the mere fact of getting out there. Sure, the mornings are dark but I have managed in previous years to be out there in the dark. The other problem I have is that since back in October, when I managed to post such amazing personal bests with very little training in the 6 weeks running up to the main event, my ego is still on a high. In the back of my mind, I feel that I will be able to perform very well and do not need to train. Maybe I need a wake up call? Some sort of failure? The problem is, the longer I run, the less need I have to prove to anyone else or even myself that I can finish a certain distance or run at a certain speed. My objective was never to run far or fast, it was to run for the sake of having more energy in everyday life.

Setting New Objectives

As I am writing this, I have come up with a plan. Although I do not want to run any event prior to the Paris Marathon, I decided that I will set a day in the next week or two, where I will go out to run a distance equal to a half marathon at a decent speed – something around 1h45m mark. This will either be a wake up call and push me forward to get more runs in or it will show that I am capable of running quick and maybe relight a flame within me to push me harder and help me achieve a better result in my race – a win, win situation.

Have you had a long slump? How did you cope with it and did you manage to get back on track? I would love to hear your story…