A Running Slump


My dear friend, clear your mind of can’t. -Samuel Johnson

This morning was the first time I’ve gone for a run in a week. I’ve been locked in a battle with my alarm clock (well, I would be if I used an actual alarm clock), and my run has been losing.

I’m always amused by this type of situation; I’m under an unusually high amount of stress right now, I know exercise will help, and I consistently can’t choose not to take the time to do it. It’s like some part of me believes that taking that hour to run first thing in the morning is going to throw the rest of my day completely off.

So I would get up, briefly think about doing my scheduled run and then proceed directly to turning on the kettle to make some tea. This week was particularly egregious, but for almost a month I have only managed to get in 2 runs a week instead of 3.

I’ve been pretty unhappy about this situation. It’s made me question my self-discipline and commitment to running.

Yesterday I finally hit on at least part of the issue: I lacked the right motivation; I lacked a reason powerful enough to get me out the door and on the pavement by 6:30 am.

So I did what I always do, I sat quietly with my thoughts and tried to find something powerful enough to override this slump and its accompanying shame. I went through my doubts and excuses, and just generally sent myself a lot of love and encouragement.

The result? I knew by yesterday evening that I would get up and run this morning. I knew it with the kind of certainty I have about the sunrise (which I got to see, and boy was it beautiful).

I woke up with that same certainty and it overrode any potential excuses I might have made. Nothing short of catastrophe would have stopped me today. It was a powerful feeling after weeks of feeling stuck.

I felt like this. Only warmer.
I felt like this. Only warmer.

Clearing my mind of can’t run wasn’t easy. It didn’t take very much time, but it took a lot of honesty. It took finding a reason to run powerful enough to override all thoughts of can’t. It got me out the door this morning, and it kept me going when I was tired.*

Are any of you experiencing slumps these days? How do you break free from them?

* It did not help that I forgot which block a paved path starts in one of the lakefront parks. I ended up doing some running on loose sand (did not like, would not recommend).


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