My easy month from training for races has lasted longer than originally anticipated. But that’s cool. I told myself when I took this break that I would not force myself to get back into it. No signing up for races. No pressure to meet self-imposed deadlines so I could train X number weeks before a race. No making myself run hard again until I was ready.
But how do you know when you’re fully ready to return to more calculated running? I’ve noticed a few signs, such as:
1. Running starts to feel effortless again. Every run sucked for awhile. If it wasn’t the heat, I was tired. If I wasn’t tired, my piriformis hurt. If my piriformis didn’t hurt, I found some other inane reason to use as the scapegoat for my lackluster runs. In reality, I was just burnt out.
2. Nothing hurts. No more phantom pains during runs. No more groaning when I get up from playing on the floor with baby. No more throbbing legs when I lay in bed at night. Now my body feels strong, healthy, and ready to be battered again.
3. You start paying a little more attention to your Garmin. When I’m not training, I don’t pay too much attention to what my Garmin says, and sometimes I run without it. But lately, I’ve been noticing my splits and I want them to get faster. A lot faster.
4. You start paying a little more attention to your husband’s times. Or whomever you want to beat. But you don’t tell him the real reason you inquire about his paces. No, you just say the heat is really affecting your performance, too, and hope he’s not pushing himself too hard in the dangerous weather. I’m such a loving wife.
5. You question why you aren’t training because you feel so strong. It was just a few short weeks ago that I questioned why I even bothered running.
6. “Short” long runs no longer do it for you. Since late April, my Saturday long runs have been between 7-8 miles. I’m itching to see double digits again.
7. You stop checking the weather. Because every day is more of the same; heat with a side of humidity. You also notice how much your body has acclimated to this disgustingness over the past few months. That can only mean good things for running come Fall.
8. You wonder what you’re capable of. I’m pretty happy with my current half marathon PR. While I’d love to break it eventually, I thought it would stand for a fairly long time. But now I wonder if I can go sub 1:40 in the next few months. The challenge is tempting. Go big or go home, right?
Now, I just need to pick a race…