You haven’t gone running in over a year… maybe a few years.
Your situation has changed. Your health is different. Your life has gotten crazy and busy.
Your time as a runner seems over.
But you miss it.
You miss the feel of pavement beneath your feet or the trails looming before you.
You just plain miss going for a run.
That has been me.
Our situation a few years ago was beautiful mid-west paths and amazing French trails.
Then we moved to Africa.
The past 18 months has been learning to run in West Africa. Running near the equator, in intense heat and humidity. Running with electricity issues on a treadmill because running outside means sand, sand and more sand.
Going sometimes weeks or months without running at all.
A far cry from the marathon training we were doing just 2 years ago…
And although I still hold a love/hate relationship with working out, I have learned so much about myself, about life from running that I just can’t give it up.
I love it more days than I hate it. Unless it is 95 degrees and I’m drowning in sweat by mile 2.
When the calendar flipped to the New Year and our upcoming furlough is now around the corner, I decided that I want to be ready to run when we get stateside. I don’t want to waste my first months with beautiful trails on getting my running groove back. I want to be ready for a good 5 miler when the plane lands.
Reentering the running world is not easy.
Realizing that running just one mile is crazy hard… when 2 years ago you ran 26.2 miles in a morning.
Remembering what being a beginner runner feels like while reminding yourself that you are starting over not starting for the first time.
Starting over a little smarter, a little more ready and a lot more realistic about running.
So what have I learned in the past 2 months of reentering the running world?
1} Starting Over is HARD. Don’t underestimate the amount of work, mental AND physical, that it takes to get going again.
2} Start Slow. I mean it. Do not just get up and run a 5k. That is the key to injuries and discouragement. Don’t do it. Start slow. I started slow with lots of walking and short amounts of running. Then, I would slowly increase the amount of running but still mixed with plenty of walking.
3} Your Body Remembers. It does. promise. And this will show up in a few ways. First, I realized that it didn’t take as long to build up to a 5k as it did when I first started a few years ago. My body kicked in and started building stamina faster than before. Second, I felt every single pain, injury, discomfort and annoyance from marathon training. It was weird. With those first few miles of solid running, it was like my hip said, “Remember me? What are you doing???” and my foot said, “Hello! You had a huge, deep blister here that hurt like crazy!” and my ankle said, “Uhm, this? again?” My body also remembered the long miles because very quickly, I started putting ON some weight. Some of it muscle, some of it was my body remembering those 15 mile runs in France and wanting to make sure it was prepared with plenty of stored calories.
4} Eat to Run. I feel better and have more energy to run if I’m eating enough protein, healthy carbs and drinking enough water. Take a little time to evaluate your eating and make sure it sets you up for good runs each day.
5} Strength Training. This is really important. If you’ve stopped running, you’ve lost muscle where you need it. I have some small hand weights that I use to make sure my muscles are warmed up, engaged and ready to handle some running. Just a few simple arm movements will help. I’ve also added some easy, strength training yoga from youtube. There are lots of ways to build back your muscles and prevent injury during your comeback stage.
6} Cross Training. Don’t just run. Add in other walks, bike rides, hikes, or other workouts. This is important.
7} Cool Down and Stretch! This is THE BEST part of finishing a run. I love the sweaty, thirsty, happy feeling of finishing a run, cooling down with a walk and then, going through a relaxed stretch routine. Find one you love and make sure you have the time to do it.
8} Have A Goal. For me, it is being able to hit the trails right when we land. I’d also love to do another marathon or at least a half while we are stateside. What are you working for? Pick a race, a distance, a time and go for it!
9} Visit The Store. Find someone to talk to about running, maybe do another gait analysis, make sure your shoes are right for starting over and you have what you need on hand for any problems that pop up. We all love some runner gear, a new running outfit, or some new shoes! This trip to the running store is on our list when we get stateside!
- Run Belt
- Arm Band
- Saucony Shoes – love them all
- HH Capris – wore these for the marathon
- Injinji Toe Socks – they saved my toes on marathon day!
- Rungoo – for blisters. again, saved my feet
- TomTom Sport Watch – simple, easy to read and a great running watch
- GU Snacks – taste good, full of energy, and light to carry in your belt
- Camelback – necessity!
- Earbuds – having GOOD ones is very helpful on long runs!
- Larabar – for that post race hunger
10} Have fun. Remember why you love to run. Don’t back down because those first few miles are so hard. Push ahead. Go through the process of settling back into a good, healthy running routine. Enjoy the short runs, the walks the slow journey of reentering the running world.
You can do it.
I’m doing it.
I had 62 miles in February and I hope to top that in March.
Are you dreaming about reentering the running world and just not sure how to start?
Do you have a new running goal or some advice for me as I get going again?