Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Comeback Lessons

Monday - Rest
Tuesday - 4 mi progression
Wednesday - 4.1 mi hills

During training for the Philadelphia Marathon, my mileage peaked at 44, averaging about 32 miles per week. For someone who had only ever trained for a handful of half marathons, and I use the term "trained" lightly, this was a huge change for me. 

My life started to revolve around when I could get in my training runs, and my Type-A self discovered my obsession with my Garmin and running data.

I discovered my love/hate relationship with the track and speed work, handed over Fridays to low key evenings and early bedtimes and learned to be OK with dedicating most of my Saturday mornings to long runs.

I fell in love with running as quickly as I fell in love with Jonathan Taylor Thomas in the second grade. We were inseparable. My brain was taken over by mile splits, long run anxiety, and reflections on workouts. I know I talked about running more than any normal person should have (sorry, friends and family), but I couldn't help myself. 

I've always used races as motivation and notoriously made excuses to not run if I didn't have anything on the calendar. Before I knew it, Philly was over, and I didn't have the same drive to get up and go that I did before. I got caught up in the holiday season, and running was no longer a priority. I didn't want it to be, I just wanted a break. 

After taking nearly the entire month of December off I've spent the last week and a half diving head first back into running.

My sudden enthusiasm has not been without some consequences. Here are five things that I've learned in the last 10 days.

1. I am not where I was 7 weeks ago.
I don't know about others, but after running a marathon I felt pretty invincible. Guess what? After 7 weeks with little to no running, I'm not invincible. Shocking. I can't expect to get back out there and run long distance like it ain't no thang. I decided to take time off, now I have to deal with the consequences.

2. I shouldn't try to be where I was 7 weeks ago.
It will take time to get back into it. I look back on one 5 mile progression run from early November and literally salivate over my last mile being a 7:53. I remember looking at my watch after that run and saying, "What? I DON'T RUN THAT FAST". My fastest split from my 4 mile progression run yesterday? 8:23. And I felt like I was dying. And my calves screamed at me for the rest of the afternoon.

3. I need to let my body recover.
Stretch, hydrate, foam roll and love your Pro Compression. I solemnly swear I will do more of these, and I will like it. 

Fun tidbit? Pro is 40% off all black socks/sleeves with code SOM113 for January. I have a soft spot for the black marathon socks since they were my first pair.

 4. Stay positive.
It would be so easy for me to sit here and call myself lazy for taking time off, or to get frustrated that I've lost some of what I built up during training. I've flirted with those thoughts more than once, but what good does that do me? I'm not going to be mad at myself. If I had kept up the mileage and the training I probably would be taking time off anyways because I'd resent running. Burnout is burnout. I give myself credit for taking the time I needed and coming back when I knew I could love it again. 

5. I love me when I run.
I won't lie, it was nice taking time off. It was nice sleeping in on Saturdays, saying yes to post-work plans and not having my life revolve around running. But I missed it. I love me when I run. I love pushing myself to be better. I feel healthier, I feel stronger and I feel better about myself. I just need to find a good life/running balance.

What's your favorite piece of running comeback advice?


  1. I got caught up in the same burnout/rut. I missed Philly because I came down with flu, bronchitis and streph, all in the 6 weeks leading to Philly. And then had a pityparty and didn't want to see running shoes again, even though I'd signed up for Little Rock Marathon.

    So I changed things up and ran on trails, did some strength workouts, went swimming and ran 2-4 miles here and there if I felt like it. It took me a good month to feel good about running and to look forward to it. Sadly though, I've also lost my speed and it has been hard to let that go after all the effort I've put over the past month to get there.

    1. It's so easy to fall into the pityparty rut! I like how you changed things up with trails, strength and swimming. I definitely don't add enough variety into my workouts and should.

      Stay positive - the speed will come back. At least that's what I keep telling myself. :)