It was a five-month break from running. It was a long, miserable, and depressing five months, but I’m past it now. I’m in my third week back to running, and while my legs are still getting used to it and I’m still very slow, it is getting better, and I’m already seeing progress.
Unlike the first time I got into running after a 20 year break, this time has been much easier, although if I’m being honest, I’m pushing myself harder now that I did the last time. Back in 2016 when I got back into running, I was taking it easy. I was making very slow but steady progress, and I focused more on not feeling any pain than making progress. That led me to making small but solid gains over three months. This time, however, I’m in the National Guard, and fitness isn’t something that’s nice to do; we MUST be fit. So, I’m pushing myself much harder.
The funny part; it doesn’t seem to make my progress any faster. I’m in my third week, and while I am seeing myself get faster and the soreness after the runs is decreasing each time, I’m not making the huge gains that I’d have expected commensurate with the effort I’m putting in. It makes me wonder if the route I took the first time was better or not.
Regardless, I have physical fitness tests to pass and schools to attend that verify height/weight adherence and PFT scores, so I don’t have the luxury of taking it easy. Besides, I really want to run faster and eventually to be able to do a run and feel great afterward like I used to. So, I continue to push hard.
I am being very careful to not push too hard, though. The last thing I need is another injury. That’s what put me in this position, so I’m very careful to listen to my body and to analyze the pain I feel at any point. So far, it’s been “Good” pain which is muscle burn or getting past the soreness of seldom-used joints, ligaments, and muscles. The bad pain is easy to recognize: these are injury pains. Fortunately, I haven’t felt any of those yet.
If you’ve taken a break from running for a long time, what are some things that helped you get back into the swing of things? What helped you get your speed back? What helped with relieving the muscle pain?