It’s not the first time I’ve missed runs due to sickness, although it’s been years since I had to miss this much activity. I am lucky, though, I know — I didn’t have to spend months without running. Even a short time without running can teach you important lessons, though.
Those first few runs might feel good
I started out slow (I thought, anyway) and the first couple of runs back felt good. Sure, they were slower than the paces I was running before I got sick, but it wasn’t too bad. I was happy with that.
Of course, there’s also the possibility they might not feel so good. That’s because either:
- You started back before you were really healthy
- You went to far/fast in your first runs back
- You had a prolonged sabbatical and you’ve lost fitness
Your body might surprise you
Not necessarily in a good way. Yeah, I was happy about running and feeling as though I hadn’t lost too much fitness — right up until both knees started to ache.
Knees have always been my achilles’ heel, so to speak. Due to IT issues — the outside of my left knee and sometimes the IT Band itself and sometimes the hip can get tight/painful. It doesn’t happen much anymore, but it can still happen, and I know some of the triggers and work on prehab exercises a lot.
This was different. Runner’s Knee — pain on the inside of the knees and the kneecap itself. Both knees. It resolved relatively quickly on my left knee — yeah, the one I always have problems with — but was more persistent on the right knee.
It was a mere 2 weeks that I didn’t run at all, but in general, I wasn’t very active for almost an entire month. So yeah, my body surprised me. Definitely not in a good way.
Aim to start back easy . . .
. . . and whatever that means for you, once you’ve decided on time/length — probably shorten it. Maybe even halve it
I really thought I started back conservatively. I’ve never really had problems coming back to running after an illness — other than in pace or energy. Pace wasn’t so bad; energy wasn’t so bad.
I’d been working on lengthening my run intervals to increase my endurance at the beginning of the year. It never even occurred to me that I should shorten those puppies when I started running again. I don’t know if it would have made any difference, but I’m here to tell you — if you miss a week or two or more of running, take it far easier than you think you need to when you start up again.
What you eat is more important than activity . . .
. . . when it comes to your weight. I knew this one already. If you’re careful, even if you can’t be active at all, you can maintain your weight. I did. I’m not saying it was easy, and it certainly would be much harder if I couldn’t be active for a really long time — I hope I never have to find out about that! But there’s truth to the saying:
Abs are made in the kitchen.
If you’re not careful and you give in to the “woe is me, I might as well eat to comfort myself” mentality — yeah, you are probably going to deal with some weight gain. And that will make getting back into activity even harder.
You’re lucky to run
There are plenty of people on any given day that would give their eyeteeth to be able to run. Heck, to walk. Or walk unassisted. To not be in pain. To feel better about themselves. To be able to do the simple things in life.
It’s always a good day when you can do something you love, something that makes you feel better, no matter how how long or short a time you can do it.
In other words, count your blessings!
What surprised you after you started to run after some time not running?
What advice would you give to a runner who can’t run?
What is the very best thing about running to you?