Runners have different names for it, but whether it’s called a rut, a slump, downtime (kudos to you for choosing a less pessimistic word), or anything else, it’s just as frustrating to experience.
Typically, regarding my running, I calm things down from December to February mainly to rest my legs in prepartion for another 8-9 months of long-distance running and training. I won’t stop running altogether, but my running does not look like how it does when I’m training. Intead of running 6 days a week, I’ll maybe run every other day. Instead of 50-80 miles a week, my weekly mileage will hover around 30 miles. I still include speedwork and a shortened version of a long run each week, but this downtime of less stress on my legs really does allow them to refresh for the spring.
I’ll be honest and say that I have no idea what to call my running lately. I’ve been quick to say that I’m in a slump that I’ve been experiencing since two consecutive 5k PR’s in the two weekends following the Portland Marathon. Since my last race on October 18th, I’ve been unintentionally lowering my weekly mileage and days per week that I’m running. I call it a slump, but it’s really more like a “downtime” that I didn’t plan to start this early and don’t necessarily want to continue. I noticed my running start to dwindle about a week after it started, but there was nothing I could do. This slump correlated with me getting much busier with my evening classes and a few other commitments I had to focus on so I just had to figure out how to accept it.
At the end of October, I gave a presentation on Vegan Nutrition for Athletes at a potluck event of NW Veg, the same organization that coordinates Portland VegFest. That week was the first week after my second 5k race post-marathon and was also the beginning of my slump. I guess I just knew where my priorities were that week and this talk and my class took up most of my time.
Running less hasn’t been all bad though. Val and I got two new housemates a couple weeks ago and less running = more time to spend with my two new best friends: Nila and Jordan!
It hasn’t just been our cats that I’ve been happy to devote more time to; I’ve also been able to devote more time to friends and eating delicious food without having to be concerned that it would affect the next day’s run.
Hanging out, drinking wine, and playing Clue until late at night didn’t phase me as I didn’t have to worry about waking up early to get in a long training run.
Brunch with friends is also something Val and I were able to participate in on a Sunday morning when I usually would be running for at least 2 hours.
I have flaws just like everyone else. One of mine: late-night eating. If I’m awake and bored, I’m eating. I devoured this half-pizza around 9 at night! Val just had to be me leftovers from a dinner she was at….
Had I needed to run after the brunch, I likely wouldn’t have been able to fit in this apple pecan cobbler that a friend made. Good thing I didn’t have to train that Sunday!
For the past 4 Mondays, I shadowed Kerri Zemko, RN, Nutrition Educator while she taught a whole foods plant-based nutrition class in her condo. Because of this, my running on Mondays needed to be minimized to at most 3-5 miles so I had time to shower and get to the class. Every single class made it worth running shorter distances or skipping the run altogether. The pictures above are from a potluck we had at the last class which was a ton of fun and I got some great recipes from individuals who really dove into this class and have been putting their whole heart into eating healthier. It was such an experience for me to see what I can do as a nutritionist if everything works out with my application to NCNM.
And lastly: Portland VegFest
I’ve been helping to organize the Fitness Stage area for the weekend. We’ve been busy getting presenters and setting up times and thinking of ideas for a panel. I had a few other tasks for VegFest which certainly added up with everything else to demand more time from me than usual. Even if I was given the option to have been running more over helping out with VegFest, there is no way I would agree to that arragement. I’ll be demoing dynamic exercises for running on the fitness stage; speaking on a panel on the fitness stage; representing No Meat Athlete at their booth; and hearing and meeting amazIng speakers such as Dr. Michael Klaper and Matt Ruscigno. Click here for how to get tickets!
There’s only one thing that I think I could do to help me get out of this early downtime-slump thing I’m in and that’s to register for a race. With the holiday season coming up, and two cats to care for now, extra spending that hasn’t been planned for is currently minimized so I’ll just have to accept that the yearly downtime has indeed decided to re-enter my life about a month and a half early. And that’s okay! It just means more time to play with these guys!
So that’s how I’ve been dealing with my downtime-slump-thing. While I certainly do wish I was running more and not losing any of my fitness from the marathon and two 5k pr’s, I know that my time is being put to things that are much better for my mental and physical health. This period of less running will allow me to recharge my batteries and give me more time to focus on my studies, blogging, and other activities that I can volunteer my time toward. That’s what nearly every downtime from running can do for each of us; it just takes a different mindset. I know it’s not easy to switch to that mindset, but if you do, I’m sure, especially when you are out of the running break and back to training, you will look back at your running “slump” and be thankful that you made good use of that extra time.
Do you deal with running slumps often? How do you deal with them? How do you get out of one or do you let it run its course? Let’s talk in the comments!