I don’t know about any other runners but it’s difficult for me to judge when I’m being lazy and don’t want to run or when I just honestly need a break.
This year I’ve decided to tackle a goal of running 50 miles a month. The last two months I’ve run between 37-45 miles and just missed my goal by a hair.
About mid-February I could feel my resolve dwindling and I couldn’t tell if I was just plateauing and needed to push through or if I needed a break.
Knowing myself and how easily I fall back into old habits, I decided to push through. And for 3 weeks every run was a struggle. Every step I had to fight for. A mile into each run and I wanted to quit. But I pushed and pushed till I dreaded going for a run and putting on my running gear was a pain in the ass. I kept asking myself if I was mentally checking out or if I was really feeling the strain on my muscles as a sign that I needed to step back and take some time off.
So I decided to take a break. Sorta. It was not as conscious a decision as I make it out to be but in the end I took a week off of running and made other plans.
Also, knowing my tendency to want to end all forms of physical fitness 6 weeks into a routine, I signed up for some personal training sessions at my YMCA. I figured if I was going to fall off the wagon, why not give myself another wagon to fall into.
After my week off of running while sticking to my training sessions, a few unexpected twists came about and I was kept from running for a few more days. I finally made it back to the running group last night for the first time in 2 weeks.
And it was one of the best runs I’ve done in a long time. I actually enjoyed it! My legs felt fine. My ankles and knees didn’t bother me. I didn’t want to quit after the first mile and I even felt strong enough to keep going.
We ran a total of 4.5 miles. It’s a route we’ve done before so I was able to take mental notes of my improvement in areas I’ve struggled with before. On that hill I usually have a hard time running up? Yup, ran that damn thing. The point in which we can choose to add a mile or cut it short? Totally added the extra mile!
I’m still a slow runner and I may never be a fast runner but I’m still going strong. I just need to remind myself that a break every now and then won’t derail me nearly as much as I thought it would as long as I keep up some workout routine. And a change in routine is good now and then to shake things up.
A healthy break to regain focus and to heal any hurts can only be good in the end.