Sunday, March 07, 2010

The slump

From time to time I've whined about slumps in running. I've whined because they suck, and because they still suck, I'll whine a bit more. Well, not actually whining this time, more just noting. The frustrating things about slumps is it's hard to tell what brings them on. Some months I'm just running really well, putting in good times on lots of miles, and feeling on top of the world. Last year around this time was like that. I was doing 20 mile runs at a sub 9 pace and loving it. This year everything is a struggle. I just did a 15 at a 9:30 pace. It didn't hurt all that bad, but that was because I didn't push it to try to do anything like a 9:00 pace, I just took it easy. It's been like that for the last month or so - long runs, short runs, I'm not as fast and I don't have the endurance to keep up a quick pace. If I go out at an 8:00 or a 7:45 I can only do a mile or two then I'm actually walking to recover, and I never walk. By way of comparison, at my best I should be able to do 15 miles at around an 8:30 pace. Hell, I've done 26 mile runs at a sub 9:00 pace.

So this is frustrating, but I'm trying to take a different view of it. The way I got to where I could do those (for me) faster paces was by doing these slower paces again and again until my endurance increased. I didn't do it by killing myself - I just kept the miles up until my endurance increased and an 8:00 pace didn't feel amazingly fast. It felt like work, but not like a sprint. So I figure this is my time to do these slower paces, keep the miles up, and wait for my body to rebuild its endurance and then see where I'm at. Heck, this is all a hobby anyway. In the scheme of things, if I'm a 9:00 pace marathon runner or an 11:00 pace marathon runner the only difference is the amount of goodies left at the finish line when I cross. When I think of it this way, I still enjoy the running, which is the point. When I think of how frustrated I am and how I should be faster, or am not upping my speed, I end up pushing too hard, feeling like crap, and not having any fun. So screw it - I'll take the fun option.

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