Whether you are coming back from an injury or just time off, getting back into shape isn’t always the most enjoyable thing. I like running. However, the feeling of being out of shape and always tired isn’t pleasant.
This particular return, it’s also been incredibly hot. Thinking out loud, when I left running a few short months ago, most of my runs were in pouring rain and the cold. Now it’s hot and humid. To be honest, during my break I also didn’t do a lot of cross-training, so I did also lose quite a bit of fitness. My first 5k back, I ran at a pace slower than the half marathon I consider to be unsuccessful. My second 5k I got lost, but I do think I made some sort of improvement. When I left running, I could run 18:30-18:40 5ks like no big deal. Currently, I believe I could push myself as hard as possible for a 20:00 5k (but it probably would need to be a flat, fast and ideal day).
But like anything in life, it’s important not to compare yourself to anyone, including yourself. Some people can jump right into training and never lose fitness. I’m definitely not one of those people.
During my run, I didn’t run, I didn’t cross train much and gained a little bit of weight. I also didn’t care about any of these things. That just makes getting back into shape harder.
So What are Important Aspects to Remember?
Easy Runs are Important:
You don’t have to run fast at all. Whether they are coming back from an injury, a rest period of anything else, too many people makes the mistake of running too fast. It doesn’t matter if you are in shape or not, if you train fast all of the time, you will set yourself up for an injury. In fact, running too fast all of the time is how I got my first tibia stress fracture. Easy runs are what build you stronger. It’s especially important for me, this time because I’m not coming back from anything broken and don’t have something especially suspectable to breaking by doing too much.
Don’t Compare Yourself:
As humans, there is always something to compare ourselves too. Every article or blog I’ve ever read always says “don’t compare yourself”, but that is so much easier said than done.Whether it’s while running or not. Don’t compare yourself to yourself either.
With fitness, you are always at a different point journey. We are never in the exact same fitness level all of the time, and it’s important to recognize that. Don’t train how you once trained. You have to build up to the fitness you were once at. Determine your paces and realistic goals from where you are right now, not 3 months ago.
Slow and Steady Wins the Base Race:
Many times, after I begin running again, I want to go as fast or run as much as possible all of the time. That is unintelligent and going to result in an injury. Ease into training and allow yourself to slowly build your base. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is fitness.
No matter where you left, getting back into shape is challenging. It’s not effortless or streamline. Perhaps a better reminder for myself more than anything!
Question for you: Have you ever taken time off of fitness entirely?