Running after a break

Whether you’ve been celebrating a bit too much over the holiday season or your nephews gave you a tummy bug along with a new sweater for Christmas, it’s tough to get back out there after taking a break.

My athletes always seem to fall into two groups: they either want to jump back in full steam and make up for lost workouts OR they write off the season and take it easy having realized how nice it is to stay warm in bed.

While it certainly depends on your goals and the reasons for your break, the best bet is to cut yourself some slack, but still lace up those shoes. I had several athletes take breaks – some voluntary and others sick in bed – this week. I gave most of them the same advice: keep the first days back easy. Keep the miles between 4-6 and the pace conversational. Pay extra attention to stretching and form. It’s easy for muscles to tighten up after just a week off.

Getting everyone back running is easy, the hard part is re-tailoring their workouts. For my athletes with races weeks away, I didn’t have much to worry about. Missing a few workouts isn’t going to make much difference, even if they were key workouts. But if the race is less than a month, I always sit down or call my athletes to see how they really feel.

Thankfully, everyone still feels up to the challenge of the next round of races – only two weeks away for several of them! It’s going to be an eventful start to 2015.