I started this post in my head on Wednesday’s tempo run, initially planning for it to be about getting back into shape after the off-season. As I started thinking about what I would write, it really turned into more of a complaint session in my head about why these runs are feeling so much harder than they did last fall, or at other points during the past few years. So it really turned into more of a thinking out loud post, since that’s really what I am doing.
We all know it’s important to take a break after a tough training season. However, coming back from that break can be challenging. My last marathon was in November, and for a few months I did nothing but short, easy runs and worked on my strength training. About a month ago I started adding back in fartlek and tempo runs, with the intention of working towards a 10k on April 16th.
I feel like it’s taking me longer than usual to recover from tough workouts, or even hard strength sessions. Weighted squats and lunges leave me sore for a couple of days. I’ll notice slight twinges if I don’t foam roll or include enough recovery.
I am also feeling like it’s taking me longer than usual for any sort of speed to come back to my legs. Last year I took 3 weeks off from running in February/March due to injury, and felt like I bounced back pretty quickly and ran a 5k in May. This time around, I wasn’t dealing with an injury, backed off a lot, and feel like I am starting from scratch anyway.
Maybe it’s just part of getting older. When I was away last weekend I was talking to my friends about how we get more random aches and pains from everyday life than we used to. It just seems like a drastic change from 6 months ago when I could handle 50 mile weeks like it’s no big deal.
I was trying to think about other changes of late, like longer days at work and sitting more, and how that could maybe impact my training. I used to work a regular 8-4 schedule and could run in the morning and go to yoga after work. Now when I get home I couldn’t imagine having the time or energy to do another type of workout, even an easy one.
Throughout most of the winter I haven’t been following a schedule or training plan, which is good in some ways but not in others. When I go into a week with a plan, I have a strategy to place rest days and easy runs between harder days, and I do my strength training sessions at times when it won’t affect a hard or long run. When I go into the week without a plan, sometimes things don’t work out so well. However, this has allowed me to work around the weather and my schedule, and has removed some of the pressure to get certain workouts done each week.
Another thought I had about this is that maybe my form has been slightly changing after my visit to the UVA speed clinic, so my body is also adjusting to those changes. It’s hard to know for sure (other than long term results/lack of injury) but I have still been doing all the exercises and drills that I was given.
So where do I go from here? I’m not really ready to sign up for a marathon when I am feeling this way (although the next time I would even consider one would be in the fall). I will probably plan to do some short races over the next few months so I have something to work towards, but I need to try to let go of any expectations and just respect where my body is right now. I may also stick to 4-5 days of running until I notice that I am handling that better. But don’t hold me to that if we get some really nice weather and I tack on an extra day!
Let’s end this on a random note…did you know that headlamps double as an alarm clock if you are supposed to get your husband to get up to go running? Yea, I was about to head out for my run, and realized Rob wasn’t up yet, so when I went in the bedroom I turned on my headlamp and that woke him up pretty quickly. Much better than a blaring alarm clock, I think.
How long does it take you to get your speed back after some time off?
Are you training for any races? When is your next race?
What other factors have you noticed affect your training?