While the last blog I wrote was intended to be about my running progression, I found myself entrenched in the world of cross training yet again. I buried my head back into the sand and cross-trained when the mood struck me (which wasn’t that often if I’m fully honest). I focused on a gazillion PT exercises, hoping that when the time came to build back up, my body would be prepared to handle it. Thankfully, it seems as though it was. Fourth time is the charm!
This week marked my 13th week back to running. Hooray! The journey back has been slow, so slow that sometimes it was hard to sense that I was even moving forward, but it has been exactly what my body needed to get back into it. And in the midst of building back up, I have learned some valuable lessons that I will continue to carry with me as I keep progressing forward.
10 Tips for a Successful Comeback
- Be grateful for where you are. It is so tempting to get caught up in comparing yourself to where you want to be or think you should be, but don’t go down that road. Choose to cherish the progress you have made and believe that you will continue to improve.
- Be honest with yourself. Only you know how your body feels, so if you are in over your head in a workout or what you are doing is hurting, then tone it back. One workout or keeping up with your friends or teammates to prove you are tough is not worth it if it makes you take two steps backwards.
- Know when to take a cross training day. It is so tempting once you start feeling good to want to jump in with both feel and tackle everything, but don’t. See #2 and #4.
- Celebrate the small victories along the way: your longest run segments, your first run without a walk, your first week with three days of running, etc. When doing so it feels like you are moving forward, even if you are inching along like a snail.
- Start with walk breaks. When you are first getting back into it, allow yourself to do run walk segments. It is amazing how much a walk break can help reset your system and re-energize you for the next run segment, especially in the beginning.
- Be patient. As exciting as it is to be running again, don’t get ahead of yourself. Take it slow and trust in the process.
- Be smart. Don’t increase intensity and mileage in the same week. If you are doing your first workout, then keep your mileage relatively steady that week. Don’t expect your body to be able to handle a bunch of new stimuli in one week after spending a lot of time off.
- Focus even more on the little things. All of the little tendons and muscles in your feet and legs will take time to adjust to the increased workload and gain strength. Remember to show them love by stretching, rolling, and doing self-massage.
- Communicate. No one can read your mind, so it is up to you to communicate how you are feeling and what you need.
- Stay positive. As simple as it sounds, fight to remain positive through it all. Don’t let one tough day spiral into a bad week. Extend yourself grace to have bad days but don’t let them dictate your outlook on the week or month.
I know that sometimes these things are easier said than done on a tough day (today was one of those days for me), but thankfully each day is a new day. Tomorrow I will wake up, grateful for the opportunity to be out there again lacing up my shoes and exchanging in friendly banter with my teammates and today’s challenges will be a distant memory.