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Pete's Corner

Be honest, how many times have you allowed yourself the rationale that your training took a dip because of the holidays, vacation, or any life event? All of us have and that is ok! Our motto at my gym has always been, train to live, don’t live to train. There will always be natural ebbs and flows to your training, and that is normal. What we need to do is manage these dips effectively to keep ourselves moving forward.

When we experience a lull in our training we need to understand that when we return we do so properly. The most basic idea is just to start slow and ease back into it. This is good advice for sure, but how slow is too slow, and when do I ramp it up?

When getting back to the business of training a lot depends on how long you have been off of your schedule. Your cardiovascular training can be maintained for up to 3 weeks with little to no training. This means if you were off your plan for 2-3 weeks then the first week you get back, make sure to warm up even more than usual and scale back the volume in terms of miles or time. If things feel ok increase a bit for the next week, then you should be back to full go the 3rd week back if not sooner. If it has been several weeks or months off, then starting over in terms of using previous times would be advised. So basically, you would want to start back as if you were new to running by just having your success be defined by the consistency of your training, rather than your times or distance. The good news is that if you are consistent you will progress back to your “normal” pace quicker than if you were a complete beginner.

Remember, the reason we need to do this is two fold. One, we want to prevent injury, and coming back to quick, too soon, usually results in injury, or at least a nagging overuse injury.

We are so quick to want to resume our previous pace and mileage we skip over the fundamentals. Second, if we start back slow, then we know we can complete the workouts without a problem. This is a great boost in confidence. Each workout we complete is a small victory worthy of self-praise. Stack enough of these and you are right back where you were before the time off.

These “victories” are the result of using effective coping mechanisms to change your behavior. There are many behavioral change models one can implore, but the basic idea is that if we find ways to work around small roadblocks in our lives, then enough of them will build our self-efficacy (our belief in ourselves to be able to accomplish something) to take on any challenge , like getting back to running! This is why sport is amazing, the lessons we can learn here can carry over to the rest of our lives.

So with all of that said, Don't be scared or intimidated to get back to running, know the right way to restart! Below is a checklist of things to do to return safely, but not too slow you get discouraged.

  • Set small mileage or time goals for the first 2-3 weeks. Just go for 15-20 minutes at a time and try not to do more than that even if you feel good. Checking off a goal , and having gas in the tank, is a good motivator, and builds self-efficacy.

  • Be sure to log your miles/time when returning to re-establish where you truly are, and not compare yourself to where you were. Remember that a re-start is a good thing, and not being hampered by old times can be freeing!

  • Make your warm up and cool down a priority.

  • Pick the days and time you know you can be consistent. A lot of the time we have an “all or nothing” mentality, but if you aim to go everyday, knowing that may not work, it will only take one or two missed timed to cause that negative mindset to creep in. The best time to workout out is when you can do it consistently.

  • Remember to have fun with it. Find new accounts or podcasts to follow, re-immerse yourself in the culture and it will inspire you to keep going!

Please , as always, reach out for more specific ways to keep the ball rolling!


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