Five weeks into my return to running, and the novelty hasn’t worn off yet. Of course, it helps that the sun’s shining and the world’s covered in buttercups and dandelions. A perfect time of year to be outside.
But let’s be honest. It’s not easy to start again from scratch. On the plus side, I’ve done this before, so I know I can do it again. Still kind of depressing, though, when your stamina’s measured in minutes, not miles.
How to rebuild a running habit?
Start with a cunning plan
Blame my uber-competitive streak, but I find it helps to have a plan. Before my return to running, I sketched out a rough schedule for the year. So I’m not just doing short, slow jogs, I’m ‘building an aerobic base’, ready for running domination next year. Or a half marathon, at least.
Once my body gets comfortable with the training load, I can throw in some more fun stuff, like speed work, plyo, or breath training, to keep it interesting.
Just seeing my cunning plan laid out gets me excited about running, without feeling as though I have to rush to get back to full fitness.
Gradual progress, always.
Embrace the run/walk
I became a big fan of run/walking in 2016, when I was rehabbing from an ankle sprain. It helped get my teenage son into running. Even my husband, who’s always been dead against the idea – how can you get into a running rhythm when you have to keep stopping? – is a convert.
A run/walk breaks up the distance into manageable chunks, so I can build up my stamina more easily without having to do everything super slow. I can even play with speed a little.
Each walking break is a chance to reset. To check in with how my body’s feeling, tweak my technique if I need to, and get my head in the right place for the next bout of running.
Celebrate the small successes
It’s easy to get fixated on what a long way there is still to go. And forget to celebrate the little wins.
A fortnight into training, and I did my first parkrun. Technically it was more of a parkrun/walk. And I definitely won the award for Most Annoying Parkrunner, as I jogged. And stopped. And jogged. And stopped. But I made it to the finish. A huge confidence boost.
Just a few weeks ago, the idea of running five minutes without stopping was terrifying. Now I can do a whole TEN MINUTES! Go me 🙂
But in my third decade of running, what really gets me lacing up my trainers each time is the chance to do the sport I love. In glorious Somerset.
Nothing makes me feel luckier. ❤