Thursday, January 22, 2015

Love the Run You're With

In October of 2000 or 14 years ago, I started running. That's right, my running career is now a teenager. And just like any relationship with a teenager, we have all the same misunderstandings, petty squabbles, and elaborate power struggles.

I'm currently training for the 2015 Rock 'n' Roll DC Half Marathon. With almost a decade and a half of running experience on my resume, training should be relativity obstacle free, right? Enter the dreaded Runner's Slump. Just what is a Runner's Slump and why does it make getting up at 5:30am to run 5 miles in 30 degree temperatures seem less than appealing? 

I can't help but compare this Half Marathon's training to previous Marathon training and find it lacking. When I was 23, 25, 27, and 28 I was bounding out of bed at 6:00am ready to hit the pavement for a 5 miler with my girlfriends. At 33, my morning run feels more like I'm trying to convince an overweight house dog to go out during a rain storm. "Stop growling at me, you need to go outside! Oh God, how did you get stuck under the bed?"  

So how do you beat a Runner's Slump? There are endless articles suggesting every imaginable technique from varying your routine to mental breaks to increased training but I'm going to propose a drastically different theory: you don't.

I'm simply not going to run the same way now as I did in my twenties. In all likelihood, going forward, 75% of my runs will just really really suck. And I'm okay with that. Accepting my worst running, no matter what slow, plodding, awkward gait it takes, is the only way through my Runner's career and any slump I encounter along the way. Because once I stripped back the demands, the expectations, the competition, it's just me running. And that's all I ever came to do.     

Still, I'll always have affection for the twenty-something runner I was for ten years. After all, she was my ride here. 

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