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The Running Blogger Who Wasn't: How to Start Running Again

Posted Mar 23 2013 4:00pm

It happens to the best of us. When I say us, I mean me. It happened to me. I fell out of the routine of running. Here I am over here with a running blog and I haven't even been running.  It started out innocently enough. I had a cold, or the flu, or allergies, or whatever that hacking phlegm crap is supposed to be. I couldn't run. Just when it looked like things were getting better, they got worse...way worse.  Then things starting looking up once again, but I still had this lingering throat issue...that lingered, and lingered. Every time I would start to exert myself, my throat would clog up, I'd end up on on the side of the road hacking it up.

Ollie wants to run!

Then I started feeling better, but all this time had passed and I just fell out of the habit of running (or working out) regularly. My new habit was to sleep until 7AM, my new habit was to come home from work and plant myself in front of my blog, or the TV, or the internet. My old habit of running or working out most every day flew out the window. I started to feel better but that pull to the pavement was gone. Then, coincidentally, all my pants shrunk in the wash. I know, weird, right?

So what do you do when you feel like you have to start all over? How do you get back into running again after an illness, an injury, or other set back?

What happens when you hit the pavement for your easy run and it feels hard? It is a blow to the ego. I take Ollie out for our usual run and it feels like he is pulling me forward more than usual and I even have to stop a few times and take a breather on a run that usually would have been a recovery run for me. There is nothing I can do, but keep doing it, having faith that over the next couple of weeks, it will get easier again. It is a mental game as well as a physical one. I will just have to suck it up at first and be patient

Go slower than normal. I can't expect to pick up exactly where I left off. After an extended break, you usually can expect a little loss in fitness. This is normal. I'll take it slow in terms of speed, time, distance, and days, giving myself time to build back up to where I  once was. 

I always remind people not to compare themselves to others. But this time I can't even compare myself to the runner I was before I took a running leave of absence. I'll leave the GPS watch at home. I won't concern myself with time or pace. I'll just run what feels like a comfortable pace (or slower) until my body adapts and then I can be begin to push myself again. 

The only way to develop a new routine is to just do it.  Sometimes easier said than done, I know. The point is we need to just get out there. Consistency is the goal, not perfection.

In the beginning, I can even start by running just one mile at a time, and slowly build back up from there, slowly adding back in short strength work outs too. The idea at first is to build routine, not fitness, so even a regular 10 minute work out can help get us back on track. Scale back at first and ease into it.

I'll start out by walking for a few minutes to warm up those muscles before heading out to run and stretch afterwards to help minimize any post run soreness.  Here is a good stretch plan I found on Pinterest .

Source: via Jess on Pinterest

I know from experience, after just a few short weeks of regular work outs, it will become second nature once again.

It happens. Motivation tends to ebb and flow over time. At least for me, when something knocks me out of my routine, whether it be injury, illness, or even change of weather, it can be a struggle to get back in it. But I don't beat myself up over it. I know that I will get it back. As long as I don't give up entirely, and always start over, I know that that this time off will only be a small set back that can be quickly recovered.

The recurring theme here is to just be patient and just do it. Now I just need to get out there and follow my own advice.

Can you relate? How to do get back to running or working out after an illness or injury? Who is starting over with me?

Keep Running,


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