This week I officially began running without the run/walk method. The good thing about only taking 4-5 weeks off is I didn’t have to start back QUITE as slow. I’m still easing into it but it feels good to be really running again.
My first run was Monday morning, and aside from feeling extremely tired as I always do on early Monday mornings, I loved it! It wasn’t easy, I was slow, and I had to keep reminding myself it’s a process but it felt like me again. I also love that as I am finishing my run the sun is coming up again! I have forgotten how great that is and since I haven’t ran outside in several months. It is an absolutely perfect way to begin the day.
Let’s talk about how running feels after taking an extended time off. It’s hard. Ok, let’s be more specific shall we. Here are the thoughts and feelings that I went through in that short 4 mile run.
“My Heart is Racing!”
I felt like my heart was beating out of my chest. Even the paces that used to be super easy weren’t feeling so easy anymore. It was a bit frustrating, but just like with anything it gets better pretty quickly. The longer you take off obviously the more time it can take. I focus on my breathing, take breaks if I need to calm my heart rate down, and try to remember to relax.
“This pace/distance was easy ___ months ago.”
It’s best not to play the comparison game in your running. Sure, it felt easy 1-2 months ago but your body isn’t used to the pounding or the actual act of running after taking time off. It’s not expected to feel easy, but your body will bounce back quicker than you think if you are consistent.
To show you just how slow my pace has been lately.
“Oh, this feels like me again.”
There will be good moments! Moments you feel like your old running self again. Moments that you realize that maybe with some work you will get back like you thought. These are the good moments – soak them in. Sometimes they last the entire run and sometimes they are fleeting.
“I feel like I’m Carrying around Extra Weight.”
Ok, so maybe this isn’t something for everyone but some days after a longer period off of running, I seem to feel heavier when I am running. Sure, I probably am by a few lbs but nothing drastic. Most of it is due to the lack of sweating each day. I just pass it off, it doesn’t really matter and eventually you will get back to feeling like yourself when you are on more of a regular scheduled of running.
“My legs feel heavy.”
I don’t think my legs have felt awake or ready to run yet. Of course, sometimes this just has to do with the time of day I run but I’ve been noticing it takes longer for my legs to get into a run. I make sure to not skip out on the dynamic warm up and stretch afterwards to avoid the tightness from sticking around.
“If 4 miles is this hard how will I ever go further?”
Just shut that voice right up. It will come, sure it takes time, but I find it easiest to focus on how far I’ve come in the past then focusing on how far I have to go right now. To really look and appreciate running for what it is. Sure, we have goals but at the end of the day I just want to be able to get out there and RUN!
Running after taking time off can be a struggle and disheartening first. It’s important to keep things in perspective and not get ahead of yourself. The most you can do it take it a day at a time and work with your body.
Running takes time as with anything you try and your body needs time to adjust. Don’t get disheartened, don’t get frustrated, just be excited and happy you are running and slowly you’ll find your old self returning!
What are some thoughts you’ve had on a recent run?
Anyone else just starting back after some time off?