Slump; according to Webster is “to decline suddenly, as in value, activity, etc. or An extended period during which a player, team, worker, etc. is below normal in performance.”
There are times when I feel as if I am in a state of slump. Sometimes it is physical, other times it is mental. The physical slump can come from a variety of different factors and may be a necessary time of rest. It can also be a period where motivation has decreased and time to stay active has decreased. I fear stagnant periods both physically and mentally. This has caused me to wonder about my motivation for running.
Lately, I have been struggling a bit to get excited about some of the longer training runs I should/have sort of been completing. As I attempt to pull myself out of a slump I remember what running was like when I was a bit younger. As a kid, running was a way (along with the bicycle) to explore places or to sneak around. We used it in short bursts as we did everything else. We ran, walked, or biked in order to explore new places, new hideouts, new alleys, etc. We used our legs mostly on trails in the woods, a place where we could get away from the adults or away from traffic. When we ventured into the woods I always wanted to take a pack for a “long trip” stuffed with a nerf gun, a sandwich, and potentially a knife depending on my age. (I’m beginning to think about “Moonrise Kingdom” and their romantic sense of adventure.)
It is important to give ourselves adventure both physically and mentally, and I know just where to find it. All I have to do is head out my front door and go further than I have and in a different direction.
I wrote half of this before my 50+2 mile Superior Trail Race this past weekend and I have to say that I am rejuvenated and refreshed after experiencing the ruggedness, relentlessness, and remoteness of the Superior Trail. I haven’t felt this energized and excited about running since I did the Wilder series this past Spring. The fresh hint of Autumn was present and there were plenty of obstacles including rock faces that required all hands and feet, large and sharp granite stones, 6-12 inch root systems that required “tire-hopping” and balance, and the frequent man-made bridge consisting of slippery boards. It was a great race, in a great place, with great people, and great challenges. Hopefully you will consider getting up to this race sometime because it is worth both the training, the time, and the travel.
So if you’re feeling a little bored or struggling to push yourself to train, simply go explore and maybe check out that spur trail you haven’t gotten to yet.