Oh the dreaded running slump, how I have not missed you. There’s comes a time in every runner’s life, when running stops being polite and starts getting real. Seriously though, there comes a terrible time when running becomes a chore and simply not enjoyable. For me this used to always occur on a cyclical basis around April, when I was completely burned out on running track. Since college, my annual slump seems to have shifted to the fall for some reason. Last fall I was in Honduras, and I really didn’t think that running on the streets of Tegucigalpa by myself was the best idea ever, so I had to slum it on a treadmill for three months. Let’s just say that was a very long three month period. I did manage to make it out of Honduras and my running slump in one piece, but I definitely avoided treadmills for the next several months of my life. Which was absolutely not a problem because getting a treadmill at the Ritchie Center in January is pretty much impossible. DU undergrads, the joy of my life. No really, I love DU undergrad watching. It’s a hobby of mine. I hope that wearing leggings as pants with cropped shirts is still cool when I get back to Denver. DU undergrads have the best fashion sense.
This fall, I can already tell that I am again in danger of reaching the slump. I transitioned from an active Colorado summer to Atlanta, and while I don’t think that I have quite reached the slump yet, I know that I am living on the edge at the moment. In order to avoid this slump, I have decided to take some preventative actions. In my professional opinion, there are three ways to fight a running slump:
1) Enlist a running buddy
2) Find new places to run
3) Sign up for a race
So far, I have successfully tackled the first two on the list. Last week, I made my friend Lindsay run at 10:30 p.m. through the neighborhoods near Emory University and Druid Hills. I was pretty impressed that she didn’t think I was completely crazy when I asked her to run that late, but hey, sometimes that’s the only time you have! Anyway, it was fun to run at night and having someone else to run with made a huge difference.
On Sunday, I decided it was time to find a new trail running location. I probably go trail running at least two to three times a week on average in Denver, and I think my current semi-slump can be attributed to the fact that I am doing a lot of urban running these days. I chose a random trail from my Atlanta Running Trails Web site, and I made my way to Sweetwater Creek State Park, about 30 minutes from where I live in Atlanta. I checked out the trail map (sort of), and then hit the trail.
I proceeded to have the most fun run that I have had since moving to Georgia. The trail meandered through a wooded area and along the side of a creek, that I am going to assume was Sweetwater Creek. Not only were the trails wide and tree covered, but there were all sorts of fun obstacles, like wooden bridges and stairs, rocks, and a random half-mile sandy section of trail.
I ran for over an hour and truly just had a blast. I hadn’t exactly intended on running for that long but I seem to have a talent for taking the scenic route. Some people might call it “getting lost.” It’s all about the interpretation. Regardless, the run was exactly what I needed. And most importantly, I think the semi-slump is officially over.