Latest question in our Ask a Coach Series comes from a Run SMART client who is working to get back into the groove after a long period of training leading up to a marathon this past month.
Question: Why is it so hard to get back to my regular running schedule?
Run SMART Coach, Blake Boldon: I think it’s natural for you to feel that way right now. You’ve had a huge block of training and you did a great job of staying dedicated to the daily runs. That takes a physical toll and certainly depletes your mental energy. Even the best runners in the world periodize their training to allow for “down time.” A break from your training regimen allows your body to regenerate tissue and accommodate the accumulated fatigue from a big period of training and racing. It also provides some time for you to live as a “normal” person who isn’t a slave to your training plan and the work required to reach your goals.
“The Kenyan system works very much around the circle of resting the body, building up, racing and resting again. It is not uncommon for athletes to take breaks up to three months or longer each year. Nearly every Kenyan athlete rests starting the month of October, with most not resuming training until December or January.” He then goes on to provide specific examples of what people do during their breaks from serious training.
If you’re struggling physically and with motivation right now, it’s natural. Think of it as your mind & body forcing you to take a little more rest than you had originally planned. It’s amazing the success we can find when we truly pay attention to the mind/body connection instead of following only our brain and our will power. If it makes you feel better, consider it in these terms – your mind & body are trying to be like some of the best Kenyans.
Have faith that you’ll be back to your old self after a period of easy running and purely enjoying the sport for the simple act of running. It’s healthy and normal so don’t feel the need to force yourself to train more or harder than you’re ready.
Seeking advice, feedback or answers to running-related issues, email [email protected].