Why taking a break from running can be awesome

If you’ve been reading my blog you might know that I am on a doctor-advised break from running. A couple of weeks after my marathon I was experiencing some pain in my left foot exactly where a stress fracture would show up. I freaked out, hightailed in to the doctor’s office and was diagnosed with a stress response, which is basically the beginnings of a stress fracture. She recommended taking a two week break from running and giving my metatarsals some time to regenerate (that sounds amazingly science-fictiony). This happened exactly two weeks ago so tomorrow I’m going to go for a 10 mile run.

Joke! I will not be doing that – I have spent most of this year trying to wean myself off my crazy no-rest ever ways. What I plan on doing is trying to run for 1 mile on the treadmill and stopping immediately if I experience any pain. I’m lucky in that I caught this pretty early and I have no races coming up so there is no rush to get back to high mileage any time soon. And I also (unfortunately) experience coming back from injury. Last year after a 6 week break I started with a 5:1 interval – 5 mins walking 1 min running x 6 – and yes it was as much fun as you could imagine. BUT it worked and I got back in shape enough to get a half marathon PR in April of this year.

Looking back (and the lesson I learned from this) was that I should have taken 2 complete weeks off from running straight after the marathon. I that’s what I’ll be doing in May after marathon #2. I guess I thought my body could handle more and it found a way for me to take an enforced break. So you might think that I’ve been going crazy not being able to run. And you would be 100% WRONG! I’ve had the most amazing 2 weeks and this is what I’ve enjoyed about it.

1. Sleep! Getting up at 5.45 AM to run 9 miles before work is hard. When I see it on my training schedule I get up and do it. But if I have a choice – I’m going to pick that extra hour in bed.

2. Energy. I was tired during my marathon training. Early mornings. 40+ mile weeks. It was all new and I wanted to train as well as I could. But I was tired a lot – in work I had to struggle to get things done. I was dozing off in seminars. I did not make plans for weeknights that involved me leaving my house. Now – I have so much energy. I don’t know if this is something that comes with the territory – marathon training is a big commitment – but I’m hoping it gets more manageable on training cycle #2.

3. The runger is gone. It feels so good to not be a raging hungry maniac during the day. I’ve settled back into my routine and feel normal again.

4. I kinda like biking. My doctor told me I was OK to bike, swim, or ellipticise. One of those things I really hate (like I’ve said before I’ve yet to find a blog about someone who is crazy about their elliptical machine). My work is just under 4 miles from my house. Four uphill miles but still close enough. Plus we have really secure bike storage and I don’t have to live my life according to bus timetables. The first time biking in was awful – it was hard and I wanted to die (in a teenage girl – my life is over kinda way). But it’s gotten better. It takes a little over 35 minutes and for the most part is safe and pleasant. We’ve also been having great fall weather. What I’ve learned is that I like to have 30ish minutes of ‘me’ time in the morning to think about whatever randomly pops into my head. Biking lets me zone out and just have my thoughts. I also get to be OUTSIDE! > than the treadmill. Now I just have to get a real commuter bike.

5. I can set other fitness goals. So biking is fun. And swimming? Well the first couple of times – not so much. But I’m currently following this (http://ruthkazez.com/swimming/ZeroTo1mile.html) program. It’s kinda like the C25K program for running and aims to build your swim workout so that eventually (after 6 weeks) you can swim one mile non-stop. By doing this swimming program and biking to work (which I was absolutely too tired to do after my morning training runs during the summer) I’ve realized that I’m all about endurance. I LIKE to get in the zone (sorry awful cliche but very true) and just get stuck in. Turnover my legs. Inhabit my body and work.

6. Running is not my everything. I like running and I am excited to get back out there but it’s not the end of the world if I can’t do it for a while. My recovery from my injury last year went pretty well and I got back to speed relatively quickly. I like to think I’ve become a little more pragmatic and gained some perspective this year and that has made this non-running period a lot easier to deal with.

So to sum up – I’m feeling recharged and back to myself. This is great because at the time I didn’t even realize how much training for the marathon was taking out of me.

And the good eats have been continuing. On Sunday I made this smoked salmon risotto – which is surprisingly straightforward and totally delicious. Then from the Skinnytaste cookbook – potato and chickpea curry. It was amazing – and really easy. The best combination. Here’s a lovely photo of my leftovers.

IMG_1086

Last night we had some fish tacos – lots of jalapeno and extra lime juice.

Mexican food + cast iron.

Mexican food + cast iron.

And I’ve finally bought some KIND bars. Those things are good.

You had me at chocolate and salt.

You had me at chocolate and salt.

Happy weekend!

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9 thoughts on “Why taking a break from running can be awesome

  1. FLRunnerBoy says:

    I’m so glad you’re feeling recharged irish!!! And I definitely get the being tired during marathon training. When I trained for my marathon I literally felt I was sleep running through the middle weeks of my training cycle. It wasn’t until the final two week’s of training that I felt alive again probably thanks to adrenaline lol. And ummm more delicious looking meals chica. So here’s what I’m thinking it’s snowing or going to be snowing in your parts and the weather is perfect here now. Bring the yummy goods and you crew here and share the yumminess and run in perfect weather haha lol 🙂

  2. It sounds like you needed this break and your body found a way to tell you. I’m glad that you caught it early and ease your way back into running! Its always good to take a break…especially if the purpose it to avoid a full blown injury!

  3. This is great! It is a good reminder to know that running isn’t everything and there are perks to do something different! I hope I can keep this in mind next time I am injured or feel one coming on. (I say next time because it is simply inevitable hahaa!) OMG I was flipping out when I read “I’m going to run 10 miles”. I was like noooo don’t do that! I was relieved to know you were joking hahaha. You have a great plan! I hope your 1 mile goes well tomorrow and you continue to enjoy your time away from the high mileage until you’re ready for it again!

  4. I 100% feel you on the not waking up early thing. And the biking thing! Sometimes it is really awesome to take a step back from it all. I was so upset in the past when I had to, but in the end it really wasn’t so bad. I need to get more interested in swimming myself!

  5. Martha B says:

    Thank goodness for catching that reaction in time. There comes a point where taking a break from running goes from refreshing and awesome to downright frustrating! I think you have things figured out pretty well. Glad to see your spirits are high and you’ve had time to dabble in some other fun stuff. Hope your run goes great. Don’t be scared to baby yourself a little! My thoughts are with you!!!

  6. Taking a break from running can indeed be awesome, more so when you are choosing to rather than being forced to, but nevertheless. I think it also teaches you how to listen to yourself again. And stress reactions are no joke. Super glad that you caught it when you did, otherwise that could’ve been disastrous!

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