The Casual Runner

Training Tips: Ride the Waves

The other day Nick showed me a line graph of Casual Runner’s readership. As you can imagine, our growth has not been a straight line upwards (if only wishing made it so!), but instead there are the expected peaks and valleys on the way to our overall long-term growth. However, at the end of the chart there was a HUGE drop. As in, the bottom completely dropped out of our readership stats.

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Needless to say, I may have a panicked. What was happening? What was wrong? Where did all of our readers go?!?!?!?!?!?

Nick laughed and informed me that the graph was a snapshot taken at the beginning of June, and the drop-off merely reflected the fact that no June data had been recorded yet…<Sigh of relief>…Though I expected he probably set me up to elicit this very response.

This experience taught me 3 things:

1) Nick can be a mean jerk when he wants to be. He’s hilarious and a great friend, but mean nonetheless.

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2) Casual Runner’s readers are amazing. Seriously, if you had told me when we launched this site last summer how quickly our readership would grow, I may have been dubious at best. But, where we stand now, I am grateful for all of our readers and supporters! We have certainly come a long way together.

3) This was a great reminder that, as with most things in life, growth and progress are rarely straight lines, but will necessarily have peaks and valleys along the way. This necessarily means enjoying the peaks while you can, and not letting the valleys get you down.

And so it is with running training.

For some reason, the last 2 months I have been in a bit of a lull with my training. OK, I may be cherry coating it because it has really been ticking me off.

April was a HUGE month as Candace and I took on races in each of the 4 weekends (the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run in Washington, D.C., the Lake Health Running Series Drop Course 10 Mile Run east of Cleveland, the runDisney Star Wars Dark Side 10k and Dark Side Half Marathon in Walt Disney World, and the Cap City Half Marathon in Columbus, Ohio. It was a great month, we had so much fun, and then…the bottom fell out.

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I don’t know what it is, I still love running as much as ever, but I just can’t seem to pile on the miles as easily. It is funny, my heart and head are willing, and I want to go out and do my training runs, but, once I am out there, I just can’t seem to log the longer training runs to which I have become accustomed.

I would think that, with the summer weather being as amazing as it has been, I should be banging out 10ks and more without breaking a sweat (wow, that was an unfortunate pun). But, for some reason, I just can’t. In fact, Steve and I went for a run last night and I just ran out of gas. No idea why, I just ran out of gas.

So here’s the thing, I am in a lull, a valley. I can fight it all I want, but its not going to change anything. Many of you know exactly what I am talking about as you experience these valleys in your own training programs. So what do we do about it? Well, let me share with you the plan that I made for myself after my recent realization.

First, this is not an excuse to sit on the couch. While I am going to accept the lull for what it is, I will not give up and just stop running altogether. I will press on. So…

Second, I will continue to keep going out to run per my training program. This just means that, whereas I would typically run a 5, 6, or even 10 miler, I may run a 2 or 3 miler instead. And…

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Third, I will be OK with that. I will not allow myself to become discouraged. I will just accept the fact that I got out, logged some miles, and enjoyed some time outdoors to be a victory in itself.

Fourth, I know that this valley is just temporary, and I will soon be on my way back to a peak, and I will draw motivation and encouragement from that knowledge.

Fifth, when that peak returns and I am piling on the miles once more, I will appreciate it all that much more.

So, for anyone else out there in the same running shoes as me, don’t give up, just stick with it, and you will be back to your old running self soon!

And, as a wise fish once told us, when all else fails: Just Keep Running! Just Keep Running!

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Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!

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Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!

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