It's been 26 days since I last went running. 26 days. This is easy for me to remember because the last time I went running was on December 31, 2012. This means that I haven't logged a single mile in the year 2013.
When my left ankle starting to sting me while running, I initially told myself I'd take at least 10-14 days off from running. My ankle was still feeling tender after two weeks so I decided to extend the hiatus to at least four weeks. Or even a cool month. I'm not training for anything at the moment, so I figured the extra healing time could only help.
The self-imposed running hiatus was tough at first. We had some periods of absolutely gorgeous spring-like weather in Chicago. I missed the endorphins and the runner's high. My running shoes looked forlorn sitting idle in the closet. But I dutifully focused on biking, yoga, and strength-training, even though I was hating that none of these activities left me feeling as good afterwards as running does.
Somewhere along the way, I started to adapt to not running. They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, right? At some point, my body stopped missing running and now I don't really crave it anymore.
This is both good and bad.
I still miss the idea of running and all of the health effects that it brings. But now I have developed a feeling of resistance towards physically trying to start up again. I am apprehensive about physically experiencing the loss of conditioning. I'd worked so hard for so many months to get where I was, so the thought of having to backtrack again is defeating. I'm already angry at the thought of the uphill climb that awaits me - and I haven't even tried yet.
My frustration has also been rising with the nearly-constant bevvy of injuries that I've had to fight over the past few years. I honestly can't even remember the last time that I ran completely pain-free. It's getting to the point where I'm wondering if my body is just not cut out for running. Am I trying to fit a square peg into a round hole?
It doesn't help matters that I got a bout of stomach flu earlier this week. I almost NEVER get sick and my bout wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. Regardless, I forgot how horrible it does feel to be holed up on the couch because the simple act of walking makes you feel nauseous. A lack of appetite is pretty much incomprehensible for me, but I had exactly zero appetite for 24 hours. Even now I am still feeling tired, I still have not fully recovered my appetite, and I am skittish about what I do eat.
I remember reading a question in Runner's World once about whether or not you could still run when you were sick or under the weather. The answer was that as long as the symptoms were limited to the neck or higher (e.g. sore throat, headache, runny nose), that it was fine to run. If the symptoms were below the neck (e.g. chest cold, stomach issues, body aches), then you shouldn't run. Amen to that. Right now, the thought of going running in the winter cold sounds about as appealing as getting my kidneys pulled without anesthesia.
I know that I will hit full recovery from my stomach flu soon. But right now it feels too easy to just let more and more time slip by on running because I am scared of all of my ailments.
It's totally a momentum thing for me. Always has been. And right now the fear factor is the biggest obstacle to overcome.
I will get back out there eventually. I have to. I've got spring races that are already creeping up on me from a training perspective. But today is not that day. I've got some more recovery to do first, both physically as well as mentally.
I am so so sorry you are dealing with all of this. But for now, try not to stress about it. Hole up on the couch, watch hockey and nap, regain your strength. You will get your momentum back - of that, I am confident. You are such a positive person!ReplyDelete
Running will be there for you when you are ready. But now, sounds like you need more rest. Feel better soon!
Thanks, Bobbi. How about the Hawks, though, right?!? I didn't think they'd be able to pull out the victory against Dallas on Thursday night but was so happy to be wrong. :D. Adam and I actually have tickets to tomorrow night's game versus Detroit, so that will be a huge boost.Delete
Thanks again for the well wishes! Can't wait to see you at the Wisconsin Half, if not earlier!!!
HAWKS!!! Hope you had so much fun tonight!!Delete
LET'S GO BLACKHAWKS!!! 6 and 0, baby. Woo hoo!!!!!!Delete
Oh no, did you get that flu that was going around? I heard that was just awful, so I hope you start feeling better soon!ReplyDelete
I can definitely understand this feeling. Personally, not so much with running because I haven't been at it as long, but any time I have to take time off from exercising (whether because I'm sick, hurt or have schedule issues), I worry that I'll just keep finding reasons to take time off (like I mentioned in my training log last week). I think momentum and finding motivation is hard for a lot of people, but you're still getting your body moving and exercising in ways that don't flare up your injuries, so that's still momentum!
And I think it also helps that you're part of a big community of runners, so once you feel physically ready to run, you can find help with the motivation and mental aspect of it. My husband was sidelined with an injury for at least a month last year at about the same time that I started running, and hearing about my runs just made him want to get back out there, so hopefully watching others run will do the same for you.
Thanks, Anne! Thanks for understanding the loss of momentum and how hard it is to fight against that tide once it starts churning. I am so glad to hear that you were such a motivational factor for your husband while he was recovering from his injury - and you are right, our wonderful running community is a godsend during times like these. Thank you so much for the well wishes and I can't wait to catch up again in person at the beer run next month!Delete
Me too, I'm so looking forward to it!Delete
When I take a complete rest day (from all exercise), I always force myself to NOT follow it with another rest day (unless I legitimately need one), even though it is so tempting, because I'm so worried I'll lose momentum. BUT, you need to rest up and heal, and the fact that you are still doing other exercise (when you're healthy) is awesome! Even if it's not as fun as running. Hope you are fully recovered soon!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Maggie! When I'm really rolling with my workouts, I get reluctant to take rest days altogether, even though I know they are so important. I figure that my schedule will get so busy that I'll eventually be forced to take a rest day, so why purposely take one? Bad, I know. But momentum shifts can really be SO hard to change, sigh.Delete
I think the best thing you can do for yourself is take all the time you need to find your way back to running. Like you said, you've already signed up for races. Plus, you are still working out, just doing different activities. When you are ready to run, you'll know it!*ReplyDelete
Thanks, Amy. The scary part is wondering when and if that time will ever come, you know? I took a several-year hiatus from running so I have a history of long hiatuses. ;) But yes, I do have these races coming up. My first one is a 10-miler in mid-April, which is less than three months from now!!! I need to get back on track pretty soon or risk being undertrained!!!Delete
I think you're doing the right thing by taking the time off and letting yourself heal up as much as possible. I hope you feel better soon!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Lisa. Really appreciate the well wishes! I'm already feeling much, much better today. Weekends usually go a long way towards improving your overall mental and physical well-being. ;DDelete
Ugh! So sorry to hear you are sick! I hope you are 100% better soon!ReplyDelete
I worry about the momentum thing. But rest is SMART. I have had to start over fresh a few times, and you get it back in a month or so :)
Thanks, Kim. It sounds like you've been able to avoid both the flu bug as well as the stomach flu virus which have been rampant around town - stay healthy!!!Delete
It's good to know that from your experience it takes a month or so to get back on track. I can handle a month. And I've got the Wisconsin Half right around the corner to look forward to!!! =)
YES. I feel like I wrote this post myself!!! I'm in a very similar situation. The last time I ran was January 1st. Somewhere along the line "my body stopped missing running and now I don't really crave it anymore" (I HAD to quote you because it's dead-on accurate). I broke the habit and am worried about it too. In a way, I'm happy that I took the month off (unintentionally but it still happened) - I haven't run pain-free in a very very very long time and am hoping that the start-from-the-beginning-low-mileage runs in the near future will feel great. I'm sure you'll become addicted to running again as soon as you start! It's hard to break a habit but many times it's also hard to start a habit as well. Just keep in mind that starting up an old habit, even if it's been a while, is always easier than completely starting from scratch!ReplyDelete
Irina! With everything that you've had going on in your busy schedule, I had no idea that you are also going through a running hiatus, too. I knew that you'd been dealing with some shin splints in the past, but didn't know that you were also dealing with the lack of pain-free remembrances. =( Likewise, I am sure that you'll be able to get back on track with your running mojo as soon as you start. You had much such incredible strides this past year and you are going to pick right back up where you left off, I know it! And you are absolutely right that it's so much easier to start up an old habit than to start from scratch. Great way to think about it!!!!!Delete
Sounds like we are both unfortunately in Injuryville right now! Sorry to hear you were sick as well. Bummer. I totally relate to your post. I hope you get 100% healed and can start your training off on the right foot! :-)ReplyDelete
Thanks, Pete. I've been paying attention to what you've been saying about your own ankle injury in the hopes that I might learn from how you've been handling it! Likewise, I wish you the speediest of recoveries as you continue training for Boston!!!Delete
I don't think 21 days is the end all! It's like riding a bike, right? And, just to point out - you are kindred spirits with Desi Davila right now. She hasn't been able to run for MONTHS! but i have no doubt that when she is feeling 100%, she will be as amazing as ever.ReplyDelete
Hang in there!!
Thanks, Sara! Way to make me feel better with a Desi Davila connection (probably the first and only time that I'll ever receive that privilege!) =) It is nice to be reminded that even the world-class runners are still human and they also deal with their lingering injuries, just like the rest of us.Delete
Oh my dear friend, you are absolutely doing the right thing. It's so much better to be a "forever" runner than a "for now" runner. You must take care of these issues and let them heal properly. I also feel that I don't get as good as a workout from other activities asides from running- so it gets frustrating when I cannot run. Stay strong and keep your head up. I have a feeling you'll be back to yourself in no time. And we must meet up again soon! I miss your smiling face :)ReplyDelete
Thanks so much, Xaar. I know you understand the frustration of these injuries so I glad that you've been running strong these days!!! And if the weather holds up tonight, I'm going to break the no-run streak with Erin tonight if you want to go! We'll be meeting at Karyn's on Green at 7:00. Otherwise, we absolutely must meet up soon. Are you free next weekend?!?Delete