Anyone who’s missed training time, no matter the reason, can attest to feelings of self doubt.
It’s natural for runners to worry about goals and expectations after an extended break, especially when our bodies give us instantaneous feedback through labored breathing and tiring muscles.
If we needed any more reinforcement at the direct relationship between fitness and downtime, it comes through the dizzying amount of statistics — miles run, pace, heart rate and dozens of other numbers for the scientifically inclined — provide in real time by GPS watches and phone apps.
It’s easy to discouraged by a single workout or race.
But that approach is simply not productive or beneficial, particularly when it takes months or years to build fitness to achieve personal goals. After a layoff, it’s helpful to stagger goals for an extended period of time.
Each day, we can do something that makes us stronger. No runner has set personal bests without first putting in the work. So my focus is visualizing what can be accomplished in 3 months, 6 months and by the time I step to the starting line of the Chicago Marathon next October.
With a “something every day” approach, I’m building myself into a healthier and lifelong athlete through eating well and timing nutrition better, building my support system with a stronger core and hips, and improving workouts through stretching and proper warmup.
Running is exhilarating again, even if there’s been a temporary loss in fitness, and the journey ahead is filled with new adventures and experiences.