How I’m Getting Through that Running Slump

As we make our way through September, I am finding myself more and more surprised by how close we are to the end of the month. Not just because the days and weeks are flying by, but because it doesn’t feel anything like the end of September.

I left the house yesterday morning at 8:00 am for my run, and when I walked out the door the temperature was 92 degrees. 92 degrees! This certainly does not feel like weather anyone in the United States should be having on the first day of Autumn, let alone anyone in Michigan! The average temperature for the first day of Fall in West Michigan is 63 degrees, with the nighttime temperatures in the upper 40s. That’s still fairly warm but the high is just about 30 degrees cooler than it is today!

We had a little teaser with the weather in the end of August and beginning of September, where the mornings and nights started to feel a lot like fall. I pulled out all my running jackets and was finding myself wearing them for each of my runs, and some days even tempted to break out my gloves.

As this happened, I found myself getting more and more excited for the upcoming season change and all the things I love about fall running. I couldn’t wait to head outside in the morning and loved the familiar feeling of comfort that those cooler temperatures would bring!

And then we blinked, and all of a sudden the heat and humidity were back. For a while the mornings and evenings were still a little cooler, so I didn’t notice it as much. But this past week seems to have returned entirely to the weather we were having at the end of June, when I would start sweating from humidity as soon as I stepped outside, before I even started running!

With this reversion back to our summer weather, I have been finding my motivation to run slipping away. I can’t seem to get myself out the door in the mornings as quickly because I know I will overheat as soon as I do. It feels like summer when I am outside, but in my mind I am hoping for those beautiful leaves and apple cider. It’s crazy how much our environment can mess with our head, but it definitely plays a huge role in my mental game.

How I'm Getting Through That Running Slump

My motivation is slowly slipping away, so there are a few things I am going to do to try and keep it from completely leaving me.

Remind myself of my goals. 

This one is a huge part of my motivational strategy because right now my running has purpose: I am training for a marathon. I get to come home from each of my runs and cross them off my training plan, showing that I am one day closer to my goal. This goal is something that seems impossible without training, but I know that I will be able to accomplish it as long as I put in the work ahead of time. Feeling lazy in the morning is doesn’t serve as a reasonable excuse to not meet my goal.

Remember the benefits that running in the heat will bring on a fall race day.

It’s no secret that running in heat and humidity is more difficult than running on a crisp, fall day, and I am trying to remind myself that the suffering will pay off on race day. All of this training in the heat will make running in cooler temperatures feel that much easier. The longer this weather sticks around, the better race day is going to feel.

Know that I will feel better if I complete my run, no matter what the weather is outside.

Running helps relieve stress and anxiety, and serves as my personal meditation time for the day. I spend time thinking through problems, ideas, and excitement while I am running. No matter the temperature, a run of any kind will still bring me these benefits. I may not feel the greatest while I am outside sweating, but I know that I will feel a thousand times better when I get back home than I did before I left.

Do not overthink it  – begin my run before I have time to sit on the couch and debate whether or not I should actually do it.

When all else fails, I revert to my favorite strategy of ‘just doing it’. There are weeks when I can tell it will be tough to make myself leave the house in the mornings, and those are the weeks when I head out for my run before my brain realizes what I’m doing. Instead of sipping tea and sitting on the couch beforehand, I just wake up and put on my running shoes. This gives me much less time to talk myself out of it, and by the time my brain realizes what I’m doing I have already started running and am starting to settle in to that familiar feeling.

As much as I know that this extended summer running weather will bring more benefits on race day, I am more than ready for it to end. The extended forecast shows that the temperatures will drop 25 degrees next Thursday and remain that way for the foreseeable future. I can’t wait for this to happen, and am crossing my fingers that it will actually occur! Fall running, we miss you!

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