I turned my Garmin on, and it caught a GPS signal immediately. I did some leg swings and started running with my Thursday morning group … slowly. It’s funny how quickly an every day habit comes back. Sure, I hadn’t run a step in two weeks (and I’ve missed 28 days since July 1), but my legs didn’t forget my regular cadence. My breathing, although labored, found a rhythm. It’s time for a running comeback.
I ended up going 6 miles Thursday at a modest pace. My heart rate exploded, and I felt completely out of shape. I ran four miles Friday morning with the same feeling and a similar result. I have a lot of work to do, but the key will be training smart.
Any good running comeback needs several things to be successful.
Unfortunately, the biggest requirement is a setback, and I don’t have an issue there. The past three plus months have been full of training stumbles and sickness. I can easily check off that comeback requirement, and I will move past this point as quickly as possible. I’m tired of focusing on the negatives of the past few months. It’s time to look ahead.
So what do you do after a setback, and how do you get back in a training rhythm?
I’m still figuring this part out.
In the past, I’ve done a great job learning the hard way. I know a lot of wrong moves to make at this point. My patented, go-to mistake is trying to jump right back into the heaviest training.
After missing 11 days in July, I returned and did two workouts in one day for a total of 15 miles. The last run included a harder effort as a part of the Red River Road Runner Summer Fun Run Series. In the summer heat, that mileage and effort level would be tough on any day. When I’m recovering from being sick, it’s not wise at all.
So I know I should take it easy. But knowing what to do is far easier than following through. When I get into the middle of the run, my mind starts trying to convince my body to start working harder. “A strong workout and hard effort will certainly put me back on track,” I tell myself. But that approach has never worked for me. When I’m feeling badly, running harder only makes things worse.
So, I know to take it easy and get back to training slowly.
But what else should I work on to speed up my running comeback? I should do all of the things that help me when I’m not trying to make a comeback, and that means getting restful sleep, waking up early and running in the coolest part of the day, eating well and starting the day with a healthy smoothie, doing my strength and stretching routines, and knowing when to push harder and when to slow down or take a day off.
Again, putting all of that into practice is much more difficult that typing it out.
But I’m facing it as just another challenge between me and my running goals.
Now it’s time for a comeback. An easy, slow, well-planned comeback.