Half-Marathon Training: The Second Week Slump

Gee, Chuck, the date started off good….


The above quote from the movie, Ace Ventura, seems to sum up my week in a nutshell. The week started off with a beautiful winter run on Sunday with my dog, Chuck. It wasn’t too cold, the sun was shining, and there was a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. But then, what I always call the “second week slump” kicked in. Does anyone else have this problem with the second week? The second week is always the hardest for me, and this week the weather didn’t help at all. I made it through, though, and I know it will start getting better from here.

I had a 3-miler on the schedule for Tuesday, but with 35 mph sustained winds and 50 mph gusts, I wasn’t about to go out for a run. Instead, I did a circuit in my living room that consisted of skipping rope, swinging my kettle bells, push-ups, and some core work on my stability ball.

Wednesday, we had sub-zero temperatures (-11 with the windchill). Too cold for me, so I stayed in again and did a long yoga session.

bird tracks

Thursday was a gray day, but it warmed up in to the 20’s, so I decided to hit the trails. I ended up cutting the run short when during my warm-up walk, I not only noticed some cute little bird tracks in the new snow, but also fresh coyote tracks. The one set of tracks was joined a few feet up the trail by another set, which was joined by another set a few more feet up the trail. They were fresh tracks and the coyotes have seemed more aggressive this year than other years – my husband has had few tense run-ins with coyotes while hunting and collecting maple syrup buckets this year. I decided to err on the side of caution, leave the trail, and run around town instead. Luckily, I had nothing else on my schedule that morning, so the extra time it took to switch gears didn’t matter much. I was still able to get 3 miles in around town.

Friday was a rest day. That’s when the mental chatter started in – you know, the negative, unhelpful chatter that questions everything, wonders why you are doing this to yourself, what the hell were you thinking, you’re not a real runner, etc…. The second week slump had kicked in something fierce. I did nothing active except take Chuck for a leisurely walk in the afternoon. I stuck to my nutrition plan though, which was a huge accomplishment since I tend to stress eat. I’ll take the little victories, because they add up over time.

And by Saturday’s run the mental chatter was really loud. It took me an hour just to get out the door in the morning, I took more walk breaks than usual, and I was feeling pretty defeated a mile into my 4-mile run. But by mile 2, a small ray of sunshine peeked through the clouds, Tightrope came into my playlist, and I was able to quiet my mind and finish strong. It’s amazing what a good song can do for your spirits.

I’m taking another rest day today so I can recharge. I might do some yoga to clear the last bit of negativity from my head.

It looks like this week I will have to be flexible with my training schedule again since we have a huge winter storm in the forecast. Hopefully this will be the last big winter storm, but I’m not holding my breath. And I’m hoping the last bit of negativity will be banished so the second week slump won’t carry over into the third week.


Week two of training:

  • Sunday: easy 3 miles, light yoga
  • Monday: strength training
  • Tuesday: circuit training
  • Wednesday: yoga
  • Thursday: easy 3.8 miles
  • Friday: rest day
  • Saturday: 4 miles, light yoga

Do you experience the second week slump? How do you overcome the negative thoughts?


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