I’ve been a naughty runner lately, and I’m beginning to understand why. One year ago this month, I signed up for my first half marathon. Before that, I had only run 7 miles a handful of times; 5 was “pushing it” and 3 was my standard.
Since August of last year (mind you, I spent 2 months training before the Queens Half Marathon, with a 4-week break in between due to pesky piriformis syndrome), I’ve run 3 half marathons and a 10-mile race, along with countless 8, 9 and 10+ mile runs on my own. You know, just for the heck of it. Had you told me last year at this time that longer distances would become somewhat of a passion of mine, I’d have told you to lay off the pipe.
(That’s me, telling you to lay off it.)
Not only has distance become somewhat of a newfound love, but I’ve also recently discovered the joys of trail running – yet another challenging and deeply satisfying form of physical activity that enables to me to move my body in the great outdoors.
While I’ve enjoyed my introduction into this parallel world, I’ve also struggled a lot. I know that trail running mastery doesn’t come overnight, but after 3 days of attempting to build my lung capacity and improve my conditioning – which both worked and didn’t at the same time – I woke up on Monday morning exhausted. Mentally. Physically. You name it, I was tired of it.
On Monday, I took a rest day after more than 10 mornings of exercise and a trail running hattrick. Naturally, I expected to wake up on Tuesday with the running itch, raring to go like a bat out of hell.
To my dismay, I actually had difficulty mustering any sort of passion for what’s often my favorite part of the day, however, and found myself lolling on the couch making excuse after excuse as to why I shouldn’t run. (Since when is weather a deterrent, after all?)
Spoiler: This isn’t a woe-is-me kind of story. In fact, it’s the total opposite of that.
Sometimes, you have to be honest with yourself. Just because I’m in somewhat of a runner’s slump–unmotivated and a bit worn out–doesn’t mean I’ll never run again. What it does mean is that I’ve worked hard over the last year. I know that and am so, so proud of what I’ve accomplished in a period of time that’s flown by in a flash.
On Tuesday morning, rather than force it, I dedicated myself to a full hour-long workout from my living room floor. (Did I mention I don’t do gyms?) Strength training is usually the part of my training regimen that I “squeeze in” to my week (30 minutes is satisfactory, and 45 minutes is like a marathon). Yet on Tuesday, I found myself truly eager to get my squat on, and so squat I did.
I’m not sure what I loved so much about Tuesday’s strength training routine. Maybe it’s that, dare I say, I broke nearly as much of a sweat as during a half-decent run. Or maybe it’s that I created a really diverse routine ripe with everything from Pilates to core work to weights and yoga. Regardless, it left me with a sense of accomplishment that I don’t often feel after anything besides running (save for Hot Figure 4, which is a serious ass-kicker if I do say so myself), and so it’s something I’m really eager to share with you.
Taking a break from the pavement or trails? Hang up your running sneakers, roll out a yoga mat, and get as naked as you want (get it? because it’s your house?). Then, if you’re still up for it, try out this YouTube-friendly workout designed to take you from grumpy to greatness, all before you’ve even sipped your morning latte.
Enjoy, and remember to take a moment to be proud of yourself, running slump or not. The wheel always spins back anyway, and I’m already excited for tomorrow’s – Wednesday’s – run.
1. 8-Minute Abs
What’s not to love about 80’s inspired spandex onesies at 7:30 in the morning? I’ve been doing this video for years now, and I can tell you one thing: it’s not for its modernity. But if you’re looking for a simple 8-minute core workout that requires little else other than enough space to lay down, then this is it. Usually, I double up for a 16-minute core crunching session. (See step #3.)
2. Exhale Core Fusion Pure Abs and Arms
I love the small-movements-with-big-results nature of Core Fusion’s abs and arms workout. You do need resistance bands, but nothing fancy. I stole Noah’s old straps from the closet, and they work just fine. Trust me, you’ll be shaking by the end.
3. 8-Minute Abs, Round 2
Maybe, I just double up because I love middle-aged men in spandex that much. The world may never know.
4. Exhale Core Fusion Pilates Plus
I’ve never actually done a full hour of Pilates, but I really enjoy the flowing nature of these waist-cinching moves. They’re fun. They’re fluid. And they feel as though they go by in no time, because it’s only 10 minutes long. I especially love the final leg lifts, which require small movements to shape and strengthen the glutes – a must for runners.
5. NYLean25 Pts. 1 and 2
Between celebrity personal trainer Robert Brace’s enthusiasm and encouragement – yes, even on the computer screen – and his awesome accent, I’ve been obsessing over his 25-minute get-fit-quick program over the last few weeks. 25 minutes is all you need to push-up, bend down, and even squeeze in a bit of cardio to boot. It’s also all you need to break a serious sweat.
6. Push-ups (as many as you can)
Only a few months ago, I was unable to do a single push-up. Now, I’m up to 17 on a good day. If you’re like I was, I highly encourage you to simply start with 1. Then 2. Then 3. Before you know it, you’ll be pushing up and down more than a dozen times and telling everyone about it.
7. Headstand (optional)
I try to do a yogi headstand once a day, mainly because I’m so scared I’ll lose my ability to do it. Again, as with push-ups, this was something I was unable to do at the start of the new year, and I have to admit that I’m almost as proud of my headstand as I am of any running accomplishment I’ve logged to date.
- What do you do when you’re in a running slump?
- Have you ever tried online videos from your living room floor?
- For those who checked out 8-minute abs, did you pee your pants a little laughing at the serious 80’s theme?