Here with a running post. I mentioned doing a bunch of running posts a couple of months ago, so I am trying to incorporate them throughout. My running post for today is about breaks from running that I have taken, willingly and not so willingly, as well as getting back into running after breaks.
My first break from running was my senior year of high school. Up until then, I was running year round, 5-7 days a week. I was just starting my last cross country season when I started feeling pain in my hip. I ran through it for awhile, but eventually knew I should see a doctor. I got an MRI and was presribed some time off from running. Which ended up being almost the entire season.
This break from running was hard for me. I wasn’t really a part of the team I had been a part of for 3 years before. I didn’t get to train at all during practice for about a month. After that I was able to cross train with the other injured girls and guys. I biked for 30 minutes everyday for another month. It wasn’t fun not training and I wish that I hadn’t been injured during my last season of cross country. I still got to go to the meets and be with everyone, but it wasn’t the same. Eventually, for the last race, I was able to run it. Keep in mind I didn’t train at all prior, at least running wise, and was just running the race because it was the last one I could run.
It felt good to race and be out on the course with my team, but I really saw the effects of taking time off. I ran a decent pace for someone who hadn’t run for awhile, but it was hard thinking about how much better I could have been if I had been able to train all season. Regardless, I was happy to even run the race.
My second break was intentional and unintentional at the same time. It was the end of my sophomore year of college. I had just completed a half marathon I trained months for. I took off a week or 2 after the half because of finals and I just wanted a break from running 8 miles every day. That part of the break was intentional. The next part wasn’t. I ended up getting poison ivy at the beginning of the summer while doing a trail run with my friend. The steroids I was on to get rid of the poison ivy kept me up all night, which interfered with my work in the morning and ultimately my running. I know that’s not the greatest excuse, but I was just so tired all the time from staying up all night. I spent the summer not feeling my best and doing some runs here and there. I mostly went on bike rides, which was a positive because I learned that I really liked biking and using it as a way to explore.
Once I got back to school in the fall, the break continued, but it was intentional and my decision. I didn’t feel the love I had felt for running anymore. I was tired of running so much every day and having to build time into my day to get the kind of runs I wanted to do done. I decided to work out in other ways. I did some running to warm up, but tried to mix things up. This break lasted awhile. And honestly, after this break, running became and on and off thing for me. I would be consistent with it one week and end up doing various machines at the gym the next week.
I discovered that I missed running and that running is my favorite work out of choice after this break and the mini breaks afterwards. I think it is ok that I took time off when it wasn’t for me anymore. It showed me that running was truly something I loved and something that made me a happier and better person. I am thankful for the running I did in the past, but also for the breaks. I was able to find other interests and listen to what I wanted rather than thinking about a training plan I had to do, or an upcoming race.
Now, I am much more consistent with my runs. I have loved getting to explore my new neighborhood, at least when it was warmer. And now I am trying to love the treadmills at work. I find myself smiling while I run and pushing myself harder and harder each day. Pretty soon, I will be in better shape again, which I am pretty excited about. I have the best memories of cruising through campus and feeling like I could run forever. So I am excited for that feeling, but also enjoying the process. Doing what you love should never feel like a chore.
Here are some key things I learned:
1. Breaks from running are ok
2. Breaks allow you to explore other interests outside of running, and even exercise
3. Breaks can show you what you truly enjoy
4. Running isn’t as easy as a break, but sometimes a break is necessary
5. You can come back stronger and faster from your injuries
This might have been a bit of a ramble, but I feel like it gave a bit of insight into taking breaks from running. Sometimes they aren’t planned and just come with the territory. Running a ton of a miles each week eventually catches up to you. Sometimes you need a break for yourself mentally, socially, or physically, and that is ok! Have you ever taken a break from running? Was it due to an injury, lack of interest, etc.? How did you get back into running after the breaks?