Hello everybody! I hope the first half of your week has been fantastic. We are finally settled and slowly getting back in the groove again! There really is nothing like traveling for an extended period of time to make you appreciate the consistency and routine-ness of your every day life.
I am 100% a routine person. I thrive on the monotony of knowing exactly what I’m going to eat next, what time I’ll get up, go to sleep, workout, eat meals, etc. I LOVE doing the same thing every day and my body loves it too.
After the craziness of preparing for our wedding, actually getting married, traveling, and being away on our honeymoon, my body was incredibly out of whack. We had a ridiculously amazing time on our vacation and loved relaxing and sleeping in every day, but we both felt a little off by the middle of the week. We started to feel very drowsy all the time, have headaches, sore throats, and found regular activities like walking up the stairs to be a million times harder.
This same thing happens to me pretty much every time I am away for more than a few days! My body craves the routine I have created for it and the foods, exercise and water that I drink every day.
By the last day of our trip, I was definitely excited to return home and re-establish my routine to get my body back on track. I was anxious to re-hydrate, get rid of that new vacation flub I could see on my belly, and feel productive. We did not go to the gym or track once while we were on our trip, so I ended up taking a (somewhat planned;) 10 day break from my marathon training plan.
When we arrived back home on Sunday, I was anxious about getting back to training the next day. There was only a 4 mile run on the schedule, so I knew that no matter how sluggish I felt I would at least be able to complete it, but I was anxious about how I would feel when I woke up. During our trip I never once felt guilty about missing a week of training and never once tried to make it up – which surprised me! I feel guilt so often if I even cut just a mile off a mid week run, or switch the days around on my plan, so I expected to feel this x 1,000 while we were away.
Nope! I guess that’s a sign that we were really relaxed 😉
But here we are, halfway through a new week of the training plan and finally settling into our well established, familiar groove. The first few days were a little challenging to get back at it after enjoying our time away so much, but I always remind myself that once I start it will be so much easier to continue. It’s always the very first day back after a break that is the hardest!
On Monday I laid on the couch for an extra hour before I finally motivated myself to get up and hit the roads. And you know what? I sure was glad I did. One of my biggest motivating factors for actually starting my run is knowing that I am ALWAYS so glad that I did it when I return. There has never been a time when I felt worse after running than before (okay maybe a few times when I was sick, but I was always grateful for those runs letting me know just how sick I was and helping me not feel guilt when I skipped the next few).
One of my favorite tricks for getting myself out the door when the motivation is low is to tell myself that I only have to run for a few minutes. If I have a 6 mile run on the schedule, I’ll tell myself that I only have to run 3 or 4 as long as I get out there. Once I get out there 9 time out of 10 I feel so much better after about a mile and wind up running what was planned.
Coming back from these past 10 days off, I wasn’t sure how my body would react to running and an exercise routine again. I wasn’t sure how much fitness I had lost and how it would feel to run my standard 4 mile distance after missing it for over a week. I was surprised to find that my body remembered the motions and was able to jump back into it without a single ache or pain – but that’s not always the case.
When I come back from a break and find that my breathing is heavy and my short runs feel 10 times longer than they used to, I often cut those first few runs back short. I’ll stick to 3-4 miles for about a week until my body has adapted to the activity, and then start throwing some longer distances in. I always tell myself that running shorter runs is a great way to ease my body and mind back into the activity, and is still SO much better than sitting on the couch avoiding it!
Taking a week off really made me appreciate this marathon training and helped my mind find a more positive way to look at it. Without knowing it, I think I really did myself a favor by taking a break from training last week. This week I feel fresh and excited about training, and while I may not feel that way in the 10 minutes leading up to my run in the heat, I always get there much quicker than before.
I just love the ups and downs of the marathon training cycle. Sometimes I think it challenges our minds even more so than our bodies. We push through some really tough days and incredibly tough running conditions, and that is what makes us stronger in the end. Appreciate the challenge, enjoy the endorphins and remember why you’re doing it.
Happy running, friends!