Get back in the game

I just loved the start of a school year. I loved buying new school supplies, getting new shoes, some new clothes. I loved being handed new textbooks, imagining all the things that we would do that year in that subject. I love meeting new teachers and being assigned new desks. I loved all the potential that each school year offered me. A clean slate. I’m a nerd. Don’t judge me.

The beginning of a new school year always felt something like New Year’s Day. Resolutions had to be made. Mostly about how I wasn’t going to procrastinate, and I wasn’t going to spend as much money on junk food at lunch, and I was going to get better grades in that class (usually a math or science).

Even though I’m not in school anymore, my world hasn’t changed that much. My job operates on a school year-esque schedule, minus the months-long summer break. Each September heralds in a new era in the office after the festival the previous summer: new positions, new schedule, new expectations, new people. And with all the newness inevitably comes new resolutions about how this fall, this year, will be different. Sometimes it’s setting new goals, but often it’s a reaffirmation of old goals. A re-commitment to something I had already decided to do.

For me, this fall, that involves returning to regular running. I don’t have any endurance races planned, though I will probably do a couple of 5ks, and maybe a 10k. There are several things to bear in mind as you get back in the game.

  1. Keep your expectations reasonable. You ran your first marathon 3 months ago, and haven’t run muchsince? Don’t plan your first run out the door as an 8 mile tempo run. You’ll kill your body and your psyche. Not healthy.
  2. Set reasonable goals for yourself. Goals that will push you, but that are attainable. Maybe this means increasing the walking time in your walk-run ratio. Maybe it means adding in walk segments so that you can make your 3 mile loop.
  3. Build distance and speed sensibly. Remember that in order to get where you were in the first place, you had to build. Now is no different. To rush endurance and speed can mean injury.
  4. Listen to your body. Are you gasping for air much earlier than you were? Is your knee killing you? Pull back the pace and/or lessen the distance and refer to steps 1 through 3.

The hardest part about getting back in the game is the mental aspect. It’s hard to deal with weakness when you’re used to having strength and endurance. Just be careful…pushing too hard too soon could cause injury. Know that with a realistic plan, you’ll be back where you were in no time!

How do you get back into something you were previously very disciplined in?