Running Post-Holidays

For a few weeks there during the holiday season, I just about stopped running completely. I had no motivation to run, so I only ran once, maybe twice a week. During our week-and-a-half family visit, I ran twice...and only three miles total.

The lack of motivation to run combined with the increased amount of sugar I was consuming daily really set me back. All throughout the fall, I did three mile runs pretty steadily. But when the holidays came and I stopped running three to four times a week, I could barely make it to two miles. And then I could barely run one mile. It was sad, frustrating, and definitely not motivating. The harder it got to complete a run, the less I wanted to run. Its a vicious cycle.

via Pinterest

After we got home from Christmas, I was talking to my running friend, Melanie, about this frustration. She said she was in the same boat--no motivation, no runs, and more sweets. But her approach to getting back in shape was different than mine. I was trying to force myself to continue with three-mile runs, even though my body couldn't handle it. And when I couldn't complete those runs, I'd feel guilty for slacking off.

Melanie, on the other hand, was running what she could and walking the rest. (Mind you-- she walks so fast I about have to jog to keep up with her.) She was making sure she enjoyed her runs and was keeping positive about it--even if she had to walk some, she'd still exercised.

I liked her approach much better than my guilt-riddled one. So the next time I went to the gym, I ran what I could and walked when I got exhausted. I didn't beat myself up. I acknowledged that I'd slacked off and that I had to gain back the distance I'd lost. I left the gym feeling proud of myself for exercising.

Over the past two weeks, I've gone back to the Couch to 5K plan in order to retrain my body. I had to start over at the halfway mark, which is a bummer, but I can quickly feel my body getting back into shape. This approach feels much more possible than forcing my body to do what it can't. I don't dread running anymore, which is half of the fight. Now that I don't dread it, I'm more willing to get to the gym more often. And as a result, the running is starting to get easier again.

I'm glad I've broken the cycle! I'm not back to three miles yet, but I know I will be soon. And maybe this time I'll add on a few more miles...who knows?!

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