Most of April’s movement consisted of running, walking, a few yoga classes and some yoga at home. But overall, despite getting in some form of exercise very regularly, I just didn’t feel great about this month.
Since our return to the North American continent, my running has been in a slump. At first I blamed jet-lag. Then a cold. Then lingering jet-lag. Then the hilly terrain. But eventually I just had to admit that the gains I’d made while reinventing my running career in Japan were slipping away for no logical reason, just a simple slump.
There’s nothing wrong with a slump. It happens with everything. In work, in healthy eating habits, in your love life. Slumps always pass, but it can be frustrating because sometimes doing nothing is just as effective as doing something.
My first slump busting plan was to power through it. I tried runs at a faster pace, with my hardest running music, mind over matter and such. But the runs felt like I was stuck in molasses and the music was just noise.
My next idea was the ‘do nothing’ approach. When I didn’t feel like running, I didn’t. If I felt the urge to slow down or stop during a run, I did. I thought maybe this gentle approach, my mojo would wake up from it’s slumber and kick in again. Nothing.
So finally I simply took the middle ground approach. I made some new playlists. I downloaded a favorite podcast. I picked an out-and-back loop that wouldn’t give me the option of quitting early. I varied my pace depending on my feeling. I tied my shoes tightly and disappeared into my mind.
The run that broke the slump wasn’t breaking any of my personal records. It wasn’t my longest or fastest or best run ever. But it felt good. It hurt in the right way. When I felt myself waning I used the line my sister told me she uses when she needs motivation to go harder: I berated myself for getting lazy when there are people who can’t walk/run and would kill for that chance…we operate really well under the conditions of guilt apparently. I pushed harder and I knew the slump was over.
And into the next month we go.