The holidays hit you hard, laziness with an extra side of mashed potatoes. You haven’t run at all in the last week (or year), but you want to get back on the horse. All is not lost, and there’s some steps you can take to mitigate the future pain for your past transgressions.
First, you’re going to need to slow down. Especially the first week, keep the intensity down to avoid injuries and excessive soreness. We all want to come back swinging, but it’s probably best to ease into your routine.
The first run back won’t be pretty. It’ll be tough, plodding, and you’ll wish you hadn’t gone out at all. But it’s all part of the plan. It isn’t starting over, but it might feel like it. Also be sure to warm up with extra care, and really take the time to ensure that you won’t pull something.
Furthermore, getting a good post workout routine together will help you gain leaps and bounds. Do the boring stuff that mom always reminds you to do: drink plenty of water, eat a well balanced meal, get a good night’s sleep.
Now that you’re recommitting, there’s also going to be a readjustment. If you’ve gone more than a week or two without putting on the shoes, take it easy on the distance too.
Put your expectations on hold for a while. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your goals are no different. Take the time to embrace your (re)commitment, and let your body readjust.
Don’t try to go the same distances you were covering right away, your body might not be thrilled. And it might increase your chances of injury.
Add Some Fun Back In Your Run
Coming back to running can be difficult, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be boring. Add something fun to your routine, it’ll break up the monotony and make you want to keep going.
Download some new music, find an audiobook, get a flashy new pair of shoes, chase some seagulls; whatever you do, just have fun with it. Running doesn’t need to be a dull experience, so mix it up a little.
Determine The Defect
So you’re back up and running. How do we keep you from sliding back into old habits? Let’s find out what is actually caused the slide in the first place.
Take some time to evaluate and rebuild your motivation. Identify what’s going to cause you to skip a few days, and how you can avoid those situations again.
Here’s a couple of potential reasons you fell off the wagon, and how to avoid them:
1. The Holiday Hangover
We eat, drink, and get merry, and completely disregard our need to go work out. “I’ll just do it tomorrow” turns into “I wasn’t going to do it anyways”. We don’t want to miss time with friends and family, but they will understand that you need to take the 30 minutes or so to get your run in.
How do you fix it?
Plan ahead. Know that if you’re going to mom and dad’s for the weekend, be sure to pack what you’d need to get a run or two in. Adjust your schedule to account for days that you will not be able to go out and run.
2. Apathy and Exhaustion
Sometimes, we all have just had enough. What do we do when we aren’t able to do it anymore, and need a break? Each case is different in this scenario, but almost all of us can benefit from a break from time to time. How we get back on the horse is also critical.
How do you fix it?
If your running is aimless, you should start making some goals to help drive you and give yourself a sense of accomplishment. If your goals have been pulling you through, and now dragging you down, take some time to just enjoy the runs you go on, and mix up your routine a little.
3. Injuries and Illness
The dreaded injuries. Studies show an incidence of 2.5 to 12.5 injuries per 1000 miles of running. And illness can be just as much of a pain; running with severe congestion or the flu is downright miserable. Getting on the mend may require a physician’s supervision.
How Do You Fix It?
When you’ve been cleared for exercise, how do we then prevent the pesky injury? Slow it down, and pay attention to your form. The same study indicates 50-75% of injuries are a result of overuse. So listen to your body when it says it’s had enough.