Stuck in a Running Rut

Our cover model for our April issue (on newsstands March 13!) is my abs-piration to get me through long runs.

I’ve been pretty diligent in my training so far, but last week it finally happened. I skipped a run. I realize there are far more serious and concerning things in the world that could happen, but when I decide to sign up for a race I tend to beat myself up if I don’t stick to my training plan. But between a busy week at work, fickle weather and just the overall desire to hit the snooze button, I found myself lacking serious energy to power through almost all of my runs last week.

Instead of dwelling over the fact that I missed a run, I decided to be proactive and get to the bottom of my recent sluggishness. I realized that I had zero energy only when running, and the rest of the day I was fine. This is a clear symptom of a running rut, or as Danny and Katherine Dreyer call it in the book CHI Marathon, an energy leak. In fact, they say missing a training run is an energy leak that happens to almost every runner (whew!). Here’s how they suggest getting back on track:

  • If you start feeling negative thoughts on a run (such as, “I’m only on mile 3?!”), think of your brain like a TV and change the channel. Switch over to what is going on around you. The cute baby playing in the park, the guy clearly walking his girlfriend’s poodle dressed in a pink raincoat, whatever can slap a smile on your face.
  • Stop looking at your watch. By obsessing over your pace and how much time you have left, you’re draining yourself and a simple run will take a lot longer than it should.
  • Make a vision plan. Before you start training for a race write down a few things to help you keep everything in perspective when you run. First, assess yourself and what kind of shape you are in before you start training. Next, write a vision of what you want to accomplish through running and training. Last, make some goals (physical or emotional) that you want to achieve by doing this race. This can be anything from improving your pace to wanting to squeeze back into your skinny jeans. When you find yourself in the midst of a difficult run, think back to this list to help get you through it.

So there you have it! I shared my vision plan below and this week I hope to use it as fuel to get me ready for another week.

Assessment: Good physical shape but also reaching a running plateau with my pace and mileage.

Vision: To PR at the More/FITNESS Magazine Half-Marathon.

Goals: Run a 9:30/mile or faster pace throughout the race and look good in a bikini for my April trip to Mexico!

Tell me: How do you get yourself out of a running rut?