-- Marathon Running Information, Coaching and Advice from Coach Joe English

Starting Over or Starting Up– Don’t Be a Hater #running #marathon #fitness

running-advice-bugIt’s springtime and that means that us runners are starting to train a little harder. The winter may have left you a little out of shape. It could be that you had such terrible weather that you couldn’t get outside much (that’s you on the East Coast) or it could be that you needed a break between racing seasons. Either way, it just could be that you’re hitting the pavement again and you might be feeling pretty pokey. My advice: don’t be a hater, be a lover.

Tired LegsOf course, I’m talking about self-love and hatred in this sense. On the one hand, it’s very easy to “hate” ourselves for “getting so out of shape” or “not being as fast as I was last season.” But you have every reason to love yourself right now.

First, you’re back out there doing it. That in itself is progress. Compared to those that are still watching March Madness in the sports bar, you’re doing something positive. Sometimes starting is the hardest part, they say. Take a moment to congratulate yourself on taking those first steps.

Second, it’s normal for it to feel hard when you start again. You will have lost some fitness, maybe put on a few pounds, or just generally forgotten what it feels like to run. Whatever the case, it won’t feel all magical and happy when you start back at the beginning of the season. The good news here is that you will spring back quickly. In a matter of weeks, you’ll be feeling much more positive that you started again and feeling much better to boot.

Third, there are positive benefits from taking breaks. Although the “getting started” doesn’t feel good, in the long run it is better to take some extended absences from running to break up the sameness and monotony of training. Taking a break over the winter allows your body to recover from training. It also allows you the chance to put on a few pounds (A FEW!), protecting lean body parts from injury. It allows the body to move back into a responsive mode to your training, rather than having you plateau. And it gives you a big mental break, providing you a way to re-focus on new goals. All in all, the positives of taking a winter break are strong and far outweigh the fitness that you may have lost in the short-term.

Now that you’re back on the roads and trails, take it easy. If you start out too quickly you may injure yourself. Take the pace easy and build some base over the first few weeks. Start speed work slowly with short workouts. Ignore what you might have been doing at the end of last season. You’ll get back there, but you aren’t there now. Take these first few weeks to focus on getting back to it, stretching and strengthening. In four weeks or so you’ll be feeling a whole lot better.

So if you’re feeling the winter weight right now, don’t be a hater. Give yourself a pat on the back and ease into it.

Coach Joe English, Portland Oregon, USA
Running Advice and News


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