Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mid Cycle Blues


I'm no doctor, but I think that is
supposed to be on the outside

This isn’t a post about “becoming a woman”. . . . promise

I’m sure that most everyone has heard the ubiquitous Yogi Berra quote: “Baseball is 90% physical - the other half is mental”.  The mind is capable of very powerful things. (Side note, I think my mind must be busted.  I’ve been trying to move stuff with it all afternoon and all I have now is a headache.  Although, I can still picture people naked! So, it must not be 100% broken.) Particularly in baseball, but also in most other sports if the mind feels like it is going through a slump, the body will follow.  Ask Tiger Woods, he’ll tell you that I’m right.  He’s been ‘slumping ever since he bumped uglies with that Denny’s hostess.

Of course, not only is the noggin used for baseball, the same goes for running.  Most of us are guilty of mind-F’ing ourselves out of a good run.  We say things like “wow, that Coach Boring is a real handsome, witty, modest bastard, there is NO WAY that I can run that fast!” and then going out, sputtering a bit at the beginning, and then self doubt talking your way into giving up, slowing down, and feeling bad about it all day. Fortunately, it goes the other direction with happy thoughts too!  Think you can and your mind will block out the throbbing, tingling, and burning in your privates lungs.

I’m certainly guilty of letting my head get in the way.  Right now, I’m 2/3 of the way through my marathon training cycle and feeling rather BLAH.  I’m far enough in that I’m putting up massive mileage numbers, but not close enough to the end that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Right now, I’m putting in tons of work without line of sight to the reward.  A few weeks is fine, but after a while it gets to be draining.

To be sure, I’ve probably posted about this phenomenon approximately 13 times – one time for EVERY SINGLE marathon training cycle I’ve done.  Like Taco Bell from mouth to toilet, it is predictable in when it arrives as much as it is predictable with when it disappears. It isn’t burn out per say, it is more falling victim to the monotony of the toughest marathon weeks.

For me, the solutions are to make the light at the end of the tunnel as bright as possible:  Remind myself of my goal race, review the course, read some race reports from the previous year – essentially do ANYTHING that tells my head “Hey dummy, you’re working so hard for a reason (look good naked), keep plugging away!”  Fortunately for me, it usually works.  After a few days I’m back on the straight and narrow, running fast and hard and making inappropriate comments the entire time.

How do you snap yourself out of a training cycle rut?




 

21 comments:

The Banter said...

I need more information about the people you are picturing naked. Possibly some pictures.

http://tri-banter.blogspot.com/

Average A said...

I give up. Is that wrong?

Do you ever get sick of people leaving snarky comments on your blog? Or leaving comments in the form of questions?

Joanna said...

I'm not sure I have a great answer for you. It happens to us all. Change running venues. Change your music. Make a game out of it. It will pass!

Brian said...

I don't have a good answer for you. I just need a little bit of luck, usually. Because of a crazy couple of work weeks, a hurricane, torrential rain most of last week, it's been tough to get my runs. I bonked on a 14 mile long run 2 saturdays ago, had bad runs and felt awful that whole week, and got discouraged. I needed to hit my 15 miles this saturday and luckily I did despite horrible humidity, which gave me my confidence back. But if crash and burn on a few long runs in a row, I totally get stuck in a rut.

Her Name Is Rio said...

This reminds us that we really ARE in the midst of marathon training. If you didn't feel that, THEN you should worry! I have no doubt in you- you shouldn't either.

Your title made me think of the "Dear God It's Me Margaret" book for some reason.

Terzah said...

My stomach is *hurting* from that Taco Bell simile. Not sure if that's the laughing or the thought of Taco Bell. My marathon is Saturday, so I guess I'm at the "end of my cycle." Or would that be "run-o-pause"?

krstnakrl said...

Loved today's post...it was like you had a microphone (camera?!) in my apt this morning as I was having the same conversation with myself. You got every word right. Loved it so much I "borrowed" it for my tiny, amateurish blog and just told everyone to read your entry. Hopefully I satisfied the internet plagerism police!
You rock, keep making smiles and miles!!
Tks - krstnakrl
http://constantcrosswind.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/thanks-adam/

Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said...

Whenever I'm in a training slump I tend to slack off and run less.

I am not a role model.

Gracie (Complicated Day) said...

My brain is too small to have slumps. I'm like a yellow lab. Running makes me happy. Throw me a stick and I'll be even happier.

Rebecca said...

Run a Ragnar Relay. And do it on an Ultra team. That's what my sweetie did and the marathon he did shortly after was peanuts.

Nobel4Lit said...

Not sure... I'm on Week 9/16, so I know the feeling. Still got a 19, 21, 23, and another half-marathon in there before I can even THINK about kicking back a bit.

Racing in between does help a bit, but one can only do so much. Maybe you can convince yourself to do the long runs by bribing yourself with cake. =P

Елена said...

Привет!

Замечательный сайт! Много интересного узналa).
Спасибо.

Успехов в делах.

C2Iowa said...

I listen to Marine Corps Running Cadences. Works like a champ for me - then again - once a Marine always a Marine!

C2Iowa said...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQWbsci_hCw&feature=related

James said...

When I'm in a training rut, I'll take some time off from training and either relax, or just run to run, no clock/pace/goal.

Runners Fuel said...

Wow! Already 2/3 done!! I have 13 before work tomorrow (last long run of this training) and I hope it goes well.

Jill said...

How do I snap myself out?
Easy. I asked for your help, which in this case, was bitchslapping me back into the game. Thanks!

Jess said...

So, this could be labeled PMS: Pre-Marathon Slump? Gawd, I slay me!

Running Moose said...

I'm in a funk right now. It's definitely my brain that's broken (but, like you, I can still picture people naked- so that must mean our brains are 99% functional). On my way home from work, tired, thinking about all the things I need to do at home, then run and I feel crappy. I've been doing ok with turning it around when I think "I gotta get out and run tonight" to It's going to be a good run. Plus I've gotten a friend to go out with me for the shorter runs and that helps, too. I have 2 shorter long runs this weekend (shorter long? man I'm stipud what does that mean) and then tapering into my goal race in two weeks!!

Kate said...

I'm kind of in an all-over rut right now. Usually, for me, the answer is to give myself permission to wallow in it for a little bit and then be done. Probably not the most productive marathon-rut strategy.

Tricia said...

he's HUMAN. yes!

apparently I go through 2/3 of my training doubting myself and then in the last 1/3 suddenly I'm ok. Did I get enough /3's in there?