Sunday, April 24, 2016

Fitness: On Bouncing Back After A Break

For me, a normal week of exercise/training includes 3-4 sessions of running including a longer run of around 10-12km or 75-100mins, a Barre class, and 2 strength sessions plus any bonus rides I get in on my bike. I was also managing one or two extra strength sessions using weights in February too, but... Just before I went away, I did some damage to my shoulder, which turns out to be a trapped nerve of some kind, and the resulting rest period has left my right arm way weaker than my left (despite being right handed).

Add to that the insane to-do list in the week before we left the country, no club nights or classes whilst working from home, and a subsequent almost 3 week holiday during which I decided rest might heal the damage... and all of a sudden I realise I haven't barely run or trained for a month. Oh my.

I took myself out for what I intended to be a gentle run to test the water shortly after we got home, and it was what I can only describe as the 'eager puppy approach'. I laced my trainers up so tightly that my feet started to go numb, despite being able to see my pace, I went out way too fast and struggled to lower it, and even when I did get it down to something more sensible, the sudden dawning realisation that sensible from a month previous, isn't quite sensible now, and so I staggered the last few hundred metres of around 5km run feeling totally knackered, a bit confused and realising that I might need to readjust my training to take into account such a long break. 

Bit of a treat to finish a club night of hill training with this fenland sunset.
A treat to finish a session with this sunset in the Fens

The flip side of heading out after a month off is the refreshing moment when I realise how much stronger and fitter I am than I was one year ago. I suffered a number of injuries in the spring last year, each two, three or four week set back left me having to start over with my Couch210K training, in short there was nothing there as a base level of fitness. Whilst I'm currently a bit whinge-y and whine-y about not maintaining the same levels of speed and strength after one month off, I also know I can still keep up with my Barre class- even if the first one back this week did feel brutal, and I can still just about get the repetitions in on hill training night- just a nice gentle little session for a first club night back, and I still managed to enjoy almost 6.5km of a longer run in stunning early evening sunshine whilst working out where I need to pick up from in building them up. In short: all is not lost.

Sprained ankle. Not impressed.
Memories from about this time last year and suspected fractures... 

I find myself fairly regularly in trouble for overdoing things- I am an 'all or nothing' kind of a person and I set high standards for myself, I draw a nice big fat line between my definitions of success and failure when it comes to my own goals, and sometimes that leaves me giving myself an unnecessarily hard time. Realising how much time off I had from running and training and higher intensity exercise is a cause for worry for someone like me- my first thoughts go along the lines of 'how are you going to keep up?', or my personal favourite... 'why aren't you trying harder?', but this week has been a brief lesson in appreciating how far I've come rather than how far I have to go.

Joy is shiny new @mizunorunning trainers ready for hill training and more this week. #girlswhorun #thisgirlcan
Shiny new trainers as I had properly worn out my last pair. 


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