Have you ever been in a (runner's) slump? At a crossroads? Satisfied with your achievements and ready for a rest....but still wanting to do more?
Welcome to my life!
I have had a busy run-filled year. Destination races. PR's. Age-group placings. Highest monthly mileage totals (twice!). Another 26.2 completed. And, I will end 2014 with my highest-ever total miles for a calendar year.
And I'd be deceiving everyone (especially myself) if I didn't admit that my body is exhausted. How do I know? Recently, following my last half marathon, I took an entire week off from running....and felt no shame, guilt or remorse in doing so.
I have battled intermittent issues with my glute muscles and recurring piriformis pain. I hesitate to call any of these aches and pains anything more than simple strains from over-worked muscles. They have been there for awhile and did not just suddenly appear.
Although I don't think they are actual "injuries," I am treating them as such. As much as I'm eager to keep on running as if I'm training for another event, I'm allowing myself an off-season instead. A time to regroup and refocus. A perfect opportunity to fire up my cross-training and recharge my energy.
I will still be running throughout the next few months, just in moderation. I have witnessed too many others who train like maniacs through the winter only to burnout. Maybe not right away, but they do burnout, often not by choice.
So what happened last night that was so significant? For the first time (in a very long time), I got to enjoy a simple run with no agenda. It also was my first official run of the winter season, complete with snow, cold temps and a double layer of running tights.
I ran it under the halo of street lights, at the end of my work day. It was only two miles, but very much worth my time and effort (as cold weather runners know, it often times takes longer getting dressed for the run than the actual time spent running itself).
Professional athletes have an off-season after all, why can't I?