I’m in a rut. A running rut. Or maybe just a racing rut. Or some other rut. I don’t know. Could be global.

Do I still like running? Yes. Unless it is 8000 degrees and 500% humidity.

Do I still like racing? I think so. But I’m not sure. Maybe yes, but not right now.

Do I still like training? I think the answer, at least for now, is no.

Do I still like blogging? Definitely yes, but given my recent rut-like existence, I just haven’t had much to say. Which is why I have been The Worst Co-Blogger Ever. Haven’t posted because I don’t want to harsh the blogosphere mellow. If Colby didn’t love me so much, she would have fired me months ago.

I do think a large part of my running rut has to do with my lack of a goal.

For the first time, I’m racing without a goal. None. Nil. Nada. And let me tell ya, it’s incredibly un-motivating.

For the Marine Corps Marathon, my goal was to finish, which I did.

I didn’t have a specific goal for the Philly marathon, but I wanted to do it as a “pre-training” of sorts for The Big One. Boston 2015. I didn’t want Boston to be my second marathon for some reason (?).  Despite my bizarre, allergy-ridden experience at Philly, I’m glad I did it because the snowy weather last winter was brutal, and if I was starting from scratch in my winter training for Boston I would have had a panic attack. Or ten.

Then came Boston. And, except for the weather, it was everything I hoped it would be. Everything. My goal for Boston was to experience running Boston. No Other Goal Needed.

Though I struggled with the weather during Boston, I BQ’d again. So I’ll be back in 2016. And for Boston, I think that just running Boston will always be enough of a goal for me. Now that I know what it is like to run that course, experience those crowds, and turn right on Hereford, left on Boylston, I’m pretty sure I’ll never need another motivator to run Boston.

But before Boston 2016 comes Baystate 2015. And I’m not sure what the hell I’m doing with it.

Fact: The only “goal” I can think of right now is a PR.

Fact: I have neither the time nor the energy to train for a marathon PR at this time. I’m split a lot of different ways and the piece of the pie available for racing right now is not big enough to train for a PR. I’m also dealing with some as-yet undiagnosed GI issues which will not help in that regard.

Fact: I find it hard to feel excited about training for a race when I have no goal. And that is what I have been dealing with this summer. I don’t mind the running  (except for the heat and humidity, which is always the case), but when I think about it in terms of “training,” and what I “should” do, the spark just isn’t there.

I can easily run a 5K with no goal. A half marathon is a little harder, but still doable, since I run enough that I don’t really have to train for a half anyway. Still, I ran the Fairfield Half in June: I was crabby going to it, meh during it, and didn’t even get an adrenaline rush after it. It was yet another race where I did fine but nothing new or exciting. I don’t even think I recapped it here, because I had nothing to say.

And now I’m training (and man oh man, I use that term loosely) for a race that is twice as long as the Fairfield Half. Oy. That’s an awfully long way to run without a spring in your step.

The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a cold & snowy winter this year, so working toward Baystate will give me a base for my Boston training. At least that is what I tell myself when I’m procrastinating before a 6 AM run.

And I still like running. I really do. But the time commitment and mental commitment for “training” is so different. Having to put in the time (and even there, I’ve been slacking)  without the mental investment is just not fun. Or inspiring. Or motivating.

Methinks I’m taking a racing break after this one, so I can just run without any sort of plan – even a half-assed one – and not worry about it. I can still do the running, but not have to think about the running, talk about the running, plan the running, track the running…

At least until January, when Boston training will start. Hopefully, I will have climbed out of the rut by then.

Have you ever been in a running rut? Or a racing rut? What the hell did you do to get out of it?

35 thoughts on “Rut.

  1. I feel your rudderless rut pain. I was just think today about how at some point probably in mid October I’ll take week off from running, lifting, biking and any other kind of -ing that will have been part of my daily and weekly regimen since June. So right now, put the shoes down, walk away and no one gets hurt. Take a break, let your legs and brain go on vacation even if the rest of you is still slugging it out on the daily grind. You’ll be glad you did.

    • Thanks for the advice, Phil. I did take a break Sunday -Wednesday and felt an awful lot better when I did return to running. Nice to know I’m not the only one in this boat!

  2. I think this is a rut time of year too! It’s not the eve of marathon season so you can’t get excited about run stuff the way you would be in October for instance. And the weather is annoying after this long summer. All of those things combined (plus what you said about lack of a goal right now) would do it to anybody! I have a race and a goal but I’m still feeling unmotivated/in a rut (or overwhelmed? I’m not sure which). Hang in there. I bet next month you feel differently!

    • Such a good point! It is a weird time in the training cycle. I also HATE training in the summer. Thank you so much for mentioning this!! Definitely going to hang in there and I hope I feel better in a month.

  3. Oh Poodle. I know you’re in a Rut. And I know that I WOULD NEVER FIRE YOU! ❤ That's why there's two of us. So when one goes off the goddamn rails, the other gets her shit together and powers on! It might be time to hang up the Garmin, throw your kicks in the corner, and CHILL for a bit. Or, minimally run when you want, for however long you want, whenever you want. Back to basics. I don't know how you juggle all that you do. And right now, running is more like a chore for you. And it's never a chore. a mini-break might suit you, Homegirl. Let's be honest, I can't begin to count the number of races we've both done. Non-Stop. We haven't even covered them all on here. Cuz we're all: Meh.

    I totally get it.

    I'm also saying this: After Baystate, and Hanson's Mania, I'm sitting the fuck still. I expect you to be on the couch next to me. Xoxo

  4. A rut is better than an abyss. Maybe try a new distance? Or a new terrain? Boston for me is also just a goal in and of itself. I’m lucky that I’m just happy to be running at the moment.

    Or you could just injure yourself and give yourself something to fight back from. I don’t suggest this method.

  5. It’s fine if running or whatever you’re into takes a backseat in your life periodically. We can’t always have great enthusiasm even for the things that we love through and through. However if you are looking for something to spark your mojo then maybe look at just spectating, crewing, or volunteering in a race can be good for the soul.

  6. Holy hell girl. !’m happy to have a goal of simply breathing and giving the Wonder Mutt her nightly belly rubs. And busting open a good Cab. Or half gallon of Moose Tracks, Making the perfect margarita. Not falling off my paddle board while drinking said perfect margarita. Hmmmm, I’m sensing a theme here….

  7. Ugh! I hear you on the GI issues. I have been having issues since Oct 2014. Although, knock on wood, after lots of doctor prescribed drugs, I feel like i might be finally turning a corner. Get to a GI doc, if you haven’t yet visited one.

    • I have, but I’m looking for a new one. I love mine, and she says all is ok, but I’m not feeling so OK, so even though I like what she has to say, I think it is time to see if someone else agrees with her.
      I am experiencing what seems to be ischemia on some of my longer and/or hotter runs, and this doesn’t bother her, but I’m not sure that I am as OK with it as she is. I want to make sure I’m not doing something that will really hurt me.

  8. I’ve totally been in a training rut.. just mentally unable to wrap my head around some of the miles. After NYC I plan on taking a full two weeks off of running and any form of structured exercise. I think right now my body just needs a break. A break from the structure and a break from the pressure I keep putting on myself. It would be an entirely different story if I was able to just run marathons to run them, not feel the need to PR at each and every race. Good luck this week and I have a feeling your mojo will be back soon!

  9. My advice would just be to let it run its course. Eventually you’ll find some spark that’ll get you going again. Or you’ll get bored enough of the unpleasant feeling of the rut and snap out of it.

  10. You’ve been busy it seems and that sometimes takes the luster away from “having” to do something you once did for enjoyment. It’s no longer the “escape,” it’s the deterrent. Anyway, I have a feeling now that you’ve addressed the rut head on–by writing about it and thinking out loud about it–you’ll be out of it in no time! 🙂

  11. Baystate is a really nice race. It’ll probably be a good course for you. Maybe a goal could be to have fun?

    I’m looking forward to being done with marathon training. I’m starting to stress out for my race and I miss training to have fun in races, which was my focus for most of this year since February. So not quite a running rut, but more of a crisis of confidence.

    • FUN would be a great goal! Maybe I could just chill the hell out for once.
      Plus, Colby promised me we can go to Wahlbugers afterward, so I have that to look forward to.
      Oh, how I hear you on taking a break from marathon training! Good luck.

  12. I feel like I am entering a running rut because of the weather. I’m a teacher and back to work, so I have to run in the afternoon heat now. I’ve been running in the AM all summer. The thought of doing track workouts at 3:30 pm in 90 degrees and 88% makes me nauseous. Unless the weather eases up QUICKLY, I already feel discouraged!!! You will get through this!

    • And you will too! Hoping, hoping, for crisp and cool weather soon. For all of us, but particularly for you 3:30 M track runners. I go at 8 AM as soon as my kids get on the bus, which is hot enough.

  13. Pingback: Dear Fall Marathon: It’s Not You. It’s Me. | It's A Marathon AND A Sprint

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