Saturday, March 23, 2013

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

Have you fallen off the running wagon? Here are my tips to get back out there and start running again.

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?

How to Start Running Again 

 


Suck it Up


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.

Take it Slow


Go slower than normal. I can't expect to pick up exactly where I left off. After an extended break, I can 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. 

Don't Compare


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. 

Develop a New Routine


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.


Don't Forget to Warm up and Stretch


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. 

Remember - This is Fun!

I love to run. Ollie loves to run too. This is fun! I'll remember the running lessons from my dog.


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?




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Keep Running,

Lea

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24 comments :

  1. Not starting over right now, but have done so a few times - all were awful experiences!! Your advice is great and eventually, you do get back. It's just so hard to start over when you know you "used to be able to" run XX miles or in a X:XX pace, etc.

    Good luck!!

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  2. I can so relate, Lea. I'm at the (hopefully) end of a 2 week break. I know when I get back out there Monday it's going to be hard and painful but it will be worth it once I'm back in the habit.

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  3. Great post! I can relate... I'm starting over w/you. Well, I've never really been a runner, but the time I tried is when I hurt myself about a week & a half ago... think I hurt my IT band. Now it's been rest, rest, rest, & it's a bummer! I feel like a big bum & wasn't sure how to proceed, but I think you helped point me in the right direction. I'm starting out right there w/you. ;)

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  4. Great tips - the first three are so important, and maybe the hardest.

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  5. I was running 3 or 4 times a week. I'm not fast and I don't go far, but I was continually improving and felt good about that. Then I got a puppy in Jan. 2011 and I stopped working out away from home, because I felt guilty leaving the puppy (after being gone all day at work). Fast forward 2 yrs later and I've run less than a dozen times in the past 2 yrs. This year I've gone jogging twice and participated in a 5K. I want to get back out there regularly and need to "suck it up", take the dogs (one at a time, I added one last year) and do it!

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  6. Great post! We all find ourselves in this position at one time or another! My husband is in it right now ;)

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  7. After fighting a six week long cold virus I too am getting back into my running routine. I went out yesterday for my first post-illness run, took it slow and didn't go too far. It was hard at times but felt great to be back at it. I'll be making sure to get out there but will take it one day at a time, one mile at a time and not put too much pressure on myself. I've been here before and I'll probably be here again, but at least I know I can keep going.

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  8. So good! I definitely relate.

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  9. I'm starting over right now, lately I've been finding every excuse in the book to avoid going for my weekly runs ( it's to icy, its too cold, I'm to tired) then my pants also shrunk in the wash and I knew I need to get back on the wagon so this past week I've been getting up at 5:30 to do crossfit and fitting in short runs and I feel great again :)

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    Replies
    1. YAY! good for you. that darn dryer.... :)

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  10. I know what you mean Lea--I've been there before and it's no fun. Winter is a dangerous time for me, since I run outside and it gets so freaking cold, I don't want to go out. Luckily, this winter I stayed active and ran sometimes on the treadmill at my work so I'm not starting from square one this time. Maybe square two--which is better than one ;-)

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  11. I can totally relate. I tend to beat myself up when I fall out of a routine, so that's a great tip that even 10 minutes can get you back into it. (I love hot stretching!)

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    Replies
    1. ooo. hot stretching?!? In the sauna? great idea!

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  12. Yup, know what you're saying. Trainer/fitness blogger here. For 2 weeks somewhat recently, totally neglected my own training because I was "busy." Realized I was being ridiculous and got right back to it. I always tell my clients, "It's very likely you might fall off the wagon sometime, but that's okay, don't freak out if you do. It's not a big deal. All you have to do is get back on it."

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    Replies
    1. Hi Daniel! Such good advice! Thanks!

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  13. Haha, a flu, an allergy, a mood swing can easily put me off. I then keep telling myself let it pass I'll resume my exercise routine again. And that comes after several weeks.

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  14. The blog thing gets me every time. I try to save my major blogging for the weekend to avoid this. Developing a new routine is good. Sometimes we wind up getting sick or whatever because of stress. We realize we are overloaded and therefore need to switch things up.

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  15. This is such a great Post Lea! I have never come across your blog before, but I think this will be a very helpful post. It is so easy to fall out of the habit, and this is much of the reason I just never stopped after college. Thankfully that meant I kept going and I am now an elite Saucony athlete. I see it happen with so many people who struggle to get back, but your guide will help, and I am glad you have found your love for running again :)

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    1. Hi Tina,
      Thanks so much! It means a lot coming from YOU! -- Lea

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  16. Thank you for this post! I've had a series of major setbacks and this is just what I needed. Everything seems to go better when I'm regularly running. Thank you! Thank you!

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  17. Thank you for this post! I've had a series of major setbacks and this is just what I needed. Everything seems to go better when I'm regularly running. Thank you! Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you liked it! Keep me posted!!! Good luck

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  18. I ain't Ronnie Coleman or Jay Cutler, 2 tbsp supplement everyday is more then enough for me. The instructs on the back are meant for professional body builders and not the average Joe like me. I've been precautious in not over-doing anything.

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