Getting Back into Shape Sucks

Getting back into shape sucks. 

When you take any period of time off (one week or one decade…)…getting back into fitness is not pleasant.  While the first run might feel great, not every single run is rainbows and butterflies.  Not every run is pleasant. Getting back into shape is not linear and it never will be.  You’ll have triumphs and you’ll have set backs.  You’ll have both.

In fact you will drastically ask yourself: Why am I even doing this?

Is it even worth it?

At least that is where I’m at right now.  Why am I trying to get into shape when I’m miserable?

Yesterday’s 1:44 half marathon left me with both.  I was excited to have run an injury free half marathon.  That is huge but I am wanting to be in shape and race at goal paces again.  Today I’m paying the price of being sore and walking like I ran my first marathon.

So I’m currently dealing with my first (and probably one of many) minor hiccups. 

If running and getting into shape was easy, we would all be world major marathon winners. 

If running was easy, we would be recipients of 500,000 dollars for winning multiple marathons. 

We would pick up dozens of race wins and we would all be elite.  Not only that but we would look glamorous in every race photo.

The fact is running isn’t easy.  It’s a tough love sport.  It’s a sport that you beat your body up and put it through a meat grinder and for what?

For that feeling of accomplishment and that feeling of a great and solid training cycle.  That PR that you  crushed and worked hard for. 

So remember that when you are dry heaving on the side of the road because you took a race out too fast (Oh just me?)

This not meant to be whiny at all.  I’m stating that not every run will be enjoyable and I’m okay with that.


27 responses

  1. I totally hear you. After my injury last summer/fall it has seriously taken me over a year to get back to the fitness level I was. I think I’m right about there now. But it feels like it’s taken forever. I’m taking my marathon yesterday as proof that I’m back where I was a year and a half ago. But it really has taken that long! Patience is tough but so necessary when coming back from being injured!

  2. This is how I have been feeling since I started running after my second set of stress fractures! So since October 2013. I’m really wondering if I’ll ever be back in running shape.

  3. So happy that you are back at it! I saw a picture of the medals yesterday. Such a cool race!!

    I know what you mean about the comeback. There have been many days where I’ve said “this is when a quitter would quit.” Just have to keep pushing through.

  4. It’s a constant ebb and flow, like the ocean waves. You can’t be at peak performance 100% of the time, even if you are injury-free…or you won’t be for long. And then when you throw in “life,” it makes it easy to slip off the path…and, oh, so rewarding to battle back to peak performance again.

    But seriously – don’t go out too fast. 🙂


    My first 5K after my injury was a personal worst road 5K for the year. It was hard, and it was part of a series that I was hoping to place in the series and improve over the course of the series. Actually my times got worse, then I missed races due to injury, and the last one was a personal worst. Talk about a beatdown.

    Congratulations on your half marathon this weekend, even if it has left you sore, and you said you didn’t race it but did it as a long run. The fact that you had the guts to get out there and run 13.1 miles when you were injured up until a few months ago and know you weren’t 100%, wouldn’t get the usual results, etc, says a lot about your personality and your determination to come back from the injury.

  6. Congrats on your race!

    I know exactly how you feel. While I’m not injured, I’m not in my best running shape, and haven’t been for a number of years. There are days that I wish I was back in my peak running form, when I came within 6 minutes of qualifying for Boston. Now I’m nowhere even close to qualifying, and it’s difficult both mentally and physically to get back there.

    I just have to keep telling myself to look at the larger picture, that running and training is work, and that I’m doing the best I can right now.

  7. Yep, this is not something I am looking forward to. I know I needed (and still need) the time off for my mental / physical health, but running 1-2 minutes slower than your usual pace never fails to make you question yourself. But you’re such a talented runner and I’m sure your fitness will come back faster than it feels.

  8. Where you were just a few weeks ago, there’s no way I thought you would run a half marathon by now, let alone with a respectable time! Focus on the “victories” part of this and just keep pushing forward – you know that as long as you listen to your body and are smart about how you ramp up your training, it’s all yours for the taking!

  9. For sure, getting back into shape is hard. At first, you pick up some speed, because your legs are so well-rested, but as you up your training volume back to normal, you get more fatigued than ever before, because your body hasn’t yet adapted. Eventually, you adapt and running becomes easier again. This article sort of explains this theory (chronic training load).

  10. I’m in my first injury right now. Hoping that I won’t be in the boot too long but regardless running is on the shelf for a bit. On one hand I am happy because I REALLY was over running. But on the other I know that a) I never got into the shape I really wanted during season b) I will be even MORE out of shape when I start again. I have a feeling it will be a tough road back.

  11. Running is definitely one of the most unforgiving spots in terms of how easy it is to lose your fitness, but the great thing about sports like that is that they not only build you up physically, but mentally as well… and that discipline goes on to help in a tonne of other areas in life.

  12. WELCOME to my world! Try throwing up after a 10k at a 9:20 pace. It was oh so glamorous. I should have picked a more appropriate costume for the Wicked 🙂

  13. Definitely needed to read this today. I’ve gotten over the “I’m slow, this is hard, it’s going to take for-ev-er to be faster again.” But I’ve totally forgotten about the aches and pains that are associated with running again or really doing anything physically demanding on a regular basis.

  14. I really relate to your feelings about getting back into shape. Even though I’d been able to return to running, for the most part my fitness was GONE after I took time off for my nerve impingement. Even if I’d tried to continue to run through it, I would never have been able to get anywhere near my old times. Every injury has made me incrementally slower, but that might be because I never recovered from any of them properly. I seem to just about get back to a peak before a serious injury knocks me down…it’s like going one step forward and two steps back. I had the worst IT band syndrome after my best half marathon in 2010, and until the whole nerve impingement thing it was the injury that kept me out of running for the longest (longer even than three stress fractures with months of each other…)

    Running personal worsts has been my theme for this year, and I seem to hit a brick wall whenever I try to get back to the paces I used to run, save for the odd promising run that comes out of nowhere for no good reason. I’m sure your paces will pick up though, and with your hard work and dedication you’ll be back to your old self in no time.


  15. This morning on my run, I had the distinct thought on more than one occasion “this is so much harder than it was two weeks ago at this time” Granted I left my watch at home so I have no idea what pace I was running, but I know it wasn’t my usual one pre marathon. And I’m ok with that. I like going easy right now, getting my mileage base back up slowly, and just having fun out there. It definitely sucks to know I’m struggling to hold a slow pace (for me) right now, but I know I’ll get to where I was soon enough and hopefully stay healthy as I start another training cycle for Shamrock!

  16. It’s almost like you have to have those bad ones to really appreciate the good ones!! Right now, I have to run pretty slow to not aggravate a hammy I’m rehabbing. It’s annoying but I know I have to do it if I want to race at the paces I’m used to in the spring! Hang in there!! 🙂

  17. First, so great to hear the half/13.1-mile training run went well–no aches, pains, etc. I sympathize with what you’re going through now (in terms of swimming for me). It’s tough to see paces/splits that are far off from what they used to be. But we can’t be in race shape all the time. That’s part of the sport.

  18. I feel like you have to take the occasional bad days, but then all of a sudden one day you feel great for no reason… It’s a little frustrating, but at least there will be those good days!

  19. Congratulations on your race! Getting back into it is tough, but it’s amazing how quickly our bodies bounce back after a period of rest. Plus, without difficult runs, we wouldn’t appreciate the smooth, easy runs as much!

  20. Getting back into shape does suck, and I hate that injuries can set you back so far, but ironically, the more you exercise with proper form the less likely you are to get injured even though that’s probably how you got injured in the first place.

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