Mentally Getting Through A Running Break
|September 20, 2012||Posted by Katy under Injuries, Inner Musings, Running, Running Tips|
It has been two weeks since I last laced up my running shoes and hit the pavement. My decision to take a month off of running was purely mine and mine alone.
Has it been difficult taking time off? Absolutely, yes! We are currently experiencing perfect running weather and all it makes me want to do is go out and enjoy every second of the cooler temperatures.
However, this break has not been as difficult as other breaks in the past, which has been a pleasant surprise. Last year I was sidelined twice with two separate stress fracture injuries, with a combined 4.5 months taken off from running. During both of those breaks, I was constantly freaking out about how much fitness I was going to lose, how much weight I was going to gain, and what I was going to do to relieve stress. In short, I was a nutcase.
This time around, I am much more in control of my emotions. Sure there are days when I want nothing more than to go out and run, but I also have to focus on the bigger goal. My bigger goal is to heal up whatever is causing this leg pain. Hopefully a month off will be the answer, but I am also mentally preparing myself to take more time off if necessary.
So what makes this break different than others in the past? I would like to think that I am becoming a more mature runner in terms of knowing what works and what does not work for me, but I still believe that I have so much to learn.
I think the biggest difference this time around is that I am just not allowing myself to freak out about the “what if’s” and things that I can’t control. (Admittedly, I wish I was a little better at this in other areas of my life, but you have to start somewhere, right?) I have been through this two times before and I know that it isn’t the end of the world because I “oh my goodness….can’t run!”
- I can’t control the healing time for this leg pain. I just have to do what I can to allow it to heal which means resting it and cross training.
- I can’t control the fact that I am losing some cardio conditioning. However, I CAN work my butt off in my cycling, swimming, and strength training to maintain as much as I can. The harder I work now, the less “rebuilding” I will have to do later.
- And in terms of potential weight gain? I have been focusing on my nutrition, making sure that my diet is very clean and that I am taking in a sufficient amount of calories for my current activity level. In fact, I believe that I have actually lost a few pounds based off of how my pants are fitting me.
During this hiatus, I have been focusing on my cycling in preparation for a metric century ride next month, increasing my strength through my strength training, and have been kicking MAJOR butt in the pool. Seriously, my swimming has never been better which has been a huge confidence booster.
The only time that I get a little nervous about this time off (and the possibility that I may need to take even more time off) is when I think about the Disney Half-Marathon in January. I would really love to be able to go into a training plan and actually train for a race verses just “training” for fun. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong about the second option, but I have not actually flat-out TRAINED for a running race in well over a year, if you understand what I mean. I am mentally ready for a tough training cycle, but I don’t know if Disney will be it. It really depends on when and how my running goes once I can return to running.
In an ideal world, I will be able to return to running on October 5th, spend the next 5-6 weeks slowly returning to running (hopefully working my way up to a 5-6 mile long run), and then enter training for Disney. However, as with anything in life, the future is difficult to predict and it is something that I have no control over, so I will take it one day at a time.
I wrote this post because one of the most asked questions I receive is “how do I make it through a running break?” My simple answer is: you just do. You can choose to be the victim or you can choose to be proactive and do what you can to remain physically active (with the “ok” from a doctor or physical therapist) and just be patient. Figure out what you can control and what you can’t. Focus your energy into what you can control and try to block out (as best as you can; easier said than done) what you can’t.
It is never easy to take time off from something that you love and are passionate about, but it makes you appreciate it so much more. Like it says on my RoadID… Cherish the gift.
Cherish the gift and never take it for granted.
Have you ever had to take an extended time off from running? How did you get through it?