Tips on Getting Back into Running
Feeling Ho-Ho-Ho Horrible After the Holidays?
For some, it starts with Halloween candy and fall festival ciders and pies. For others, even a Turkey Trot doesn’t offset what typically takes place that day. And for many more, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve, the parties, office snacks, home baking, and all kinds of decadent desserts that just “show up” are nearly irresistible.
And now here’s January and you’re eyeing the bathroom scale . . . or is it eyeing you? Running has been kind of an afterthought for more or less a month and you know that it’s not going to be a fun time. Then the thought comes, Maybe I should just start up again when the weather warms up?
Although that thought may be tempting, it’s one of those slippery slope thoughts. Instead, I’d like to suggest a few tips to get back into running and enjoying it, even though you’re not in the same shape as you were BEFORE the calorie-fest months began.
So, here we go. First is to evaluate your running through the month of December. Of course, if you were dedicated throughout month, then this these thoughts aren’t for you – though you may know someone it will help. : )
However, if you were doing half or less of what you were doing before December – and some may have missed weeks of running — the first thing I recommend is to reset your thinking. Instead of focusing on distance, speed, or an upcoming event, give yourself what I call a two-week energizer.
A two-week energizer is all about getting your body READY to train again — not race, train. First thing is to commit to notweighing yourself for those two weeks. Next, put your running watch in a drawer or box and forget it (you know the mile markers by now, so you know your distance) for two weeks. Of course, if you have cookies and treats left over from all the celebrating, give them away, freeze them, or at least put them in containers and out of sight so you’re not tempted to “graze” on snacks as you walk by them.
As far as days and distance, the first week do three runs. These runs are to be run comfortably, easily, and the distance should be more than manageable. In other words, if your run is just two or three miles, great. Perhaps half of what you were doing before December. You should finish and feel like you could still run more, not twice as much, but at least a mile or so without struggle. The following week up the distance to about two-thirds (or maybe a little less if you feel that might stress you) of what you were doing – just run for fun.
How is this an energizer? Well, easy running is not only about accomplishment and re-establishing your routines, but it’s also about protecting yourself from injury. And by not running with a watch, you won’t be tempted to push yourself to meet a “desired” pace.
After just two weeks of slowly increasing your distance and upping your pace just a little (again, this isn’t about pushing yourself with hill workouts or speed work or even tempo runs or fartleks) you’ll be able to begin a training program or start returning to your “normal” running routine (use wisdom and take another week if your body is telling you it’s not quite ready). ALSO, notice I said “begin” a training program, not jump into the middle of it. : )
Simply by not demanding more of your body than it’s trained to do, I think you’ll find yourself enjoying the ride back to top condition rather than suffering through it, suffering injury, or possibly not even starting.
Well, I pray that each of you are able to carry with you the spirit of Christmas throughout the year . . . where gratitude and love reflect the love and Gift given to us all.
Have an awesome run today!
Dan Van Veen
Marathon Mission Trainer and Friend