Running away from illness

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There’s a fine art to returning to running after an injury or a prolonged illness — and they’re not quite the same. I’ve had a few times when I’ve had to take a few weeks off running due to illness. Here’s how I ease back in — when I’m being smart. Of course I am not a medical professional or coach and I don’t play one on the Internet!

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I’m linking up with My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida and Run Laugh Eat Pie for Fit Five Friday

When are you ready to return?
If it’s a simple cold, you might actually be able to run through it, although I don’t personally recommend it — because when you catch a cold it usually it means you’re already very run down. Rest will help you more than running through it.

If your illness involved a fever, *my* rule of thumb is to be at least two days fever free before even thinking about running. Unfortunately I get viruses where I’ll feel fine (after the initial few days of feeling bad) and then suddenly I’ll be running a low grade temperature again, over and over for a couple of weeks.

In that case, I did light exercise every day. Yoga. Walking Bandit. No hard cardio though — no running.

Eventually though I was fever free, and I was ready to return to running.

Start off easy
Easier than you think you need to. Light exercise while you’re sick will keep you in decent shape — but it won’t keep you in running shape. After a few weeks off, you can’t just pick up where  you left off. If you have a running coach they can definitely guide you to the right amount of exercise.

If you don’t, I suggest starting off with 1 mile (yup, that’s what I did). Run/walk is a really good idea, too, although I didn’t actually start out with run/walk intervals. I know it seems like nothing, but by starting off easy, it’s also easier to gauge your fitness and potentially ramp up your running quickly.

Start off too hard or too soon, though, and you’re likely to either relapse — or even potentially injure yourself.

You can expect to feel some DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness) as your muscles get used to the pounding of running again. Or maybe not — I didn’t!

You absolutely should be doing only easy runs — and at a slower pace than you were running before you got sick. Don’t worry; you won’t be stuck at this pace — muscle memory can kick in quickly — but overdo it at the beginning and you will pay the price.

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Increase gradually
I started out with 1 miles, and then only added a quarter of a mile until I was at 2 miles. Then I jumped up a half mile to 2.5 miles. 

I found my V02 MAX had dropped a few points — in other words, I’d lost a little cardiovascular fitness. I know that with a slow and steady return, I will regain that fitness relatively quickly.

Don’t worry, be happy!
Just play it smart. Appreciate that you can run again — no matter how it feels (hard, probably), or at what pace (slower, hopefully). You won’t stay there forever. It won’t take you as long to get back to where you were before you got sick as it did to work your way up to that point in the first place.

As long as you play nice with yourself and take it easy!

Do you have a “furmula” for returning to running after a few weeks off?

Do you run through colds? I actually almost never get colds.

Have you ever jumped back in at the same level you left off — and regretted that?

Running is silly!

Seriously I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought that since I started to run. Running is time consuming, especially if you train to race longer distances. It requires support from your loved ones, whether that’s just time to run or helping out with chores or being your literal support crew! Running can be hard on the body, too. It seems silly to spend hours out there on the weekend running, doesn’t it?

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I’m linking up with My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida and Run Laugh Eat Pie for Fit Five Friday

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So why do I run?
That’s also something I’ve pondered many times. Just this past January, when I took one of my longest breaks from running because I wasn’t feeling well — it freed up so much time!

My answer might surprise you. I could say that I miss the endorphins, and if there’s ever been a time we need those endorphins, it’s been the past year (and present). I could say that I miss being able to indulge just a little more in my food choices. I could say that I miss the challenge of running — of training for a race and then laying it all out on the road.

All the above is true. Yet they’re not the real reasons why I run.

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I run to keep my heart happy
Did you know that heart disease is the Number One killer of women? According to this post on WebMD here, deaths from heart disease for women “exceeds the next seven causes of death combined”. That is a staggering statistic!

Luckily heart disease does not (sort of) run in my family, although I did have one aunt who had a major heart attack in her mid eighties, no doubt in part brought on by decades of smoking. I also had an uncle who died on my birthday from a heart attack — also a smoker, and obese as well. High blood pressure runs on my mom’s side of the family, too.

When I was sick last month for a few hours I was very nauseous and dizzy. At the time it never entered my mind that I could be having a heart attack — but later I realized that those are some of the classic signs of heart attacks in women. Those symptoms quickly passed, and I slowly got better. It wasn’t until a week later that thoughts of heart attacks & the symptoms women feel entered my mind.

The heart is one of the strongest muscles in the body
Yes, the heart is a muscle. Like all muscles, it needs to be trained — that’s exactly what cardiovascular exercise is. After years of data from my Garmin, I know that the quickest (maybe not the easiest) way to increase my respiration and heart rate (cardio) is running.

I wan to keep my heart happy, and that is one of the things that makes me think maybe running isn’t so silly after all.

What are the reasons you run? 

Did you know heart disease is the #1 killer of women? 

Do you ever think running is silly? 

gwy MR intro

ICYMI: I’ll bet that you’ve heard of morning routines and thought they just weren’t for you or they take too much time. How about just 5 minutes? We all have 5 minutes! Check out the five different, 5 minute videos (start with the introduction here). You can choose between:

  • Stretching
  • Journaling
  • Pranayama
  • Mediation
  • Foam Rolling

The only longer practice is the video on foam rolling — if you’re interested, you’ll find that here. This is close to the routine I do before I run. I actually use a different foam roller, and I do one leg at a time when I’m getting ready to run. I also do some work on my IT band and upper body that I left out in this video — it’s still a good full body foam rolling routine before a run!

You can choose just one of these practices, or stack one or two — or more — together. I released these this weekend since it’s Valentine’s Day. All love starts with self love, and giving yourself a little self care in the morning is a form of self love, whether your solo or in a relationship. I challenge you to give one of these practices a try — maybe even join the Facebook group here — I’m going to be challenging you in there, too!

Welcome to Go with Yin Yoga

Today I am unveiling my new Website and Blog for Yoga here. It is very much a work in progress, so I appreciate your gentle, constructive criticism. At the moment it’s also a personal site, so there are some things I can’t change — and then there are some things I can change, but I need to figure out how!

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I’m linking up with My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida and Run Laugh Eat Pie for Fit Five Friday

What you’ll find there
I offer several freebies you are free to download and I point you to some of the different sorts of videos I post to my YouTube channel. I’ll continue to post my new videos here — I try to put it all the way at the bottom of the post, because I know not everyone is interested — but I know some people are.

I have also started a new blog. My videos do often target things that are beneficial for runners — and at the end of February I’m taking a myofascial release class — I’m definitely excited to share more videos on that eventually!

In fact, just this week one day one shoulder was really bothering me; I could lift my arm above my shoulder without a fair amount of pain. I didn’t know why, since I haven’t been doing a whole lot, but I did a lot of myofascial release work on it and it was 90% better the next day and perfectly fine now.

Since this new Website is devoted to Yoga, I’ll also be diving into subjects like Yoga philosophy and pranayama — and how both can really help you in life. I will definitely also be posting about how Yoga can help — and hurt! — runners. I have lots of ideas; it’s always a matter of time!

An excerpt from the first blog post
I am writing a whole series on the Yamas and Niyamas, and how that might help you set some goals for this year, if you haven’t already. You don’t have to know what they are — I’ll explain them all.

What if you chose just one thing to concentrate on for all of 2021? How do you think your life would look like at the end of 2021 if you just chose one thing — and stuck to it? If you’re sighing a huge sigh of relief right now, keep reading — because I’m going to make it easy for you.

You can read the full post here.

Gratitude
I appreciate everyone that has subscribed to my channel, to everyone that has liked one of my videos — or left me a comment! I know that Yoga isn’t everybody’s thing, so I also appreciate you tolerating my passion for it.

If you have used my videos and enjoyed them, I’d love to get a testimonial from you I can feature on the Website. Email me here with whatever you feel called on to write and thank you so much for doing so!

Thanks for indulging me!

If Yoga isn’t your thing, but you know someone who might be interested, please pass along the Website — thank you!