What Time Away From Running Taught Me

  Jun 19, 2016  |  #Running

Howdy, friends! Hope you’re having a great week! I’m linking up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs for the Running Coaches Corner and Trish and Hoho Runs for the Weekly Wrap!

While I am now in my third week of running for marathon training, there was a period before training started where my running was minimal, and sometimes, nonexistent.

What Time Off From Running Taught Me...

Part of the reason I took time off from running was because I knew I’d be running alot more once training started, but also to help my hip pain subside and take a mental break. I don’t think I’d be where I am now, running-wise, if I hadn’t taken that 2-3 weeks away from running.

This non-running period inspired me to try new-to-me forms of exercise, and I even wrote a post about different exercise classes I’ve loved trying. I really enjoyed working and developing new muscles and even building my mental capacity, which is just as important for training, in my opinion!

What two weeks off from running taught me (1)

1) I REALLY love circuit + HIIT workouts.

Being able to not be stuck doing the same arm raise or bicep crunch multiple times kept my workouts fresh. I love working hard for 15-20 seconds with mini breaks in between. These videos became my go-to’s:

30 Minute Circuit Workout

Be Fit 30 Minute Total Body Workout

10 Minute Kettlebell Workout + this 8 Minute Kettlebell Abs Workout

Bodyweight HIIT workout

2) I felt a new type of soreness from circuit training and strength training.

No longer was it just in my legs and quads from running, but my whole body felt sore and strong. I still foam rolled and used my running stick consistently to help get rid of the lactic acid and improve soreness. Could NOT live without these products.

Two weeks off from running

3) I felt like I had more time.

I wasn’t spending 2 hours on the weekend planning and doing my long runs. I had more time to do the things that had been on my to-do list forever, like making little tweaks to my blog, grabbing brunch with friends, working on some personal development and career-oriented things, reading for fun, trying new recipes. Overall, I felt like I was a little more flexible (The challenge lies in keeping this mindset when marathon training amps up).

4) I still snacked like crazy.

Circuit training and weight training are known to speed up your metabolism, so clearly, I was still the incessant snack-ster I’ve always been.

PB jelly energy bite
PB & jelly energy bite. Recipe here.

5) I slept better.

I think my body was stressed out from not giving it enough rest, my cortisol was high and my stress hormones were up the wazoo. Take it from me, take the time off when your body is telling you to do so. It’ll be so much more worth it when you do. And soaking in this really helped, especially the lavender scent.

6) I got to know the elliptical and bike very well.

Somehow, I spent up to an hour on it at one time. Never thought that day would ever come. I could actually read a book or watch a show while exercising.

bike

7) I didn’t gain 10 lbs.

People think that they have to exercise the same way to lose/maintain weight, when in fact, doing a variety of exercise and workouts keeps your body loose and avoids the workout slump plateau. And you don’t have to try to out-exercise your diet. Sans running in my life, I wasn’t exercising as long or often. Some of my workouts were shorter, though more intense. My weight barely changed, so don’t let this be the reason you don’t take time away from exercising!

8) I fell in love with walking.

Walking became my me time in nature, my form of exercise without sweat. It was so relaxing to just go out for a long walk around the neighborhood and catch up on all of my podcasts and phone calls to friends.

walking

Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled to be back on my regular running schedule. The time off allowed me to truly miss it, and build that mental strength back up after being worn down.

running selfie

Running is addictive, a runner’s high is a real thing. To me, it’s a lifestyle, not a thing. I’m an athlete, but I define myself as a runner. Running has been consistent for me, whether it be 5-6 days a week or 30-40 miles/week. I love that feeling after a long run, the sound of my sneakers pounding the pavement, waving to other runners, feeling my muscles working…I love it all. I love talking running, researching running and working on improving my running.

Running has been great for my mind for so many reasons, but it can lead to burn out and overuse injuries, and I think I was close to that point.

Taking time off from running was what I needed to put into perspective how much I love it, and prevent any further burnout.

[Tweet “What time off from #running taught me #runchat @bucketlisttummy “]

Have you ever taken time away from something you love? Experienced burnout?

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40 responses to “What Time Away From Running Taught Me

  1. I used to run for a D1 university, an then quit and now barely run at all! Everyone thinks it’s crazy how I’ve almost stopped altogether except for an occasional 2 miles run here and there, but I can relate to everything you said in this post because now I’m SUCH a fan of strength training and lifting heavy weights…and no, I haven’t gained ANY weight except for muscle since stopping the excessive cardio (all I do is walk now!). But happy you still love it and are back girl!

    xo,
    Sarah Grace

    1. My husband coached D1 cross country for 10 years, and I can’t tell you how many times he told me his former athletes don’t run anymore. Burn out is real! And it’s nice to not have any pressure and explore other exercise you like 🙂

  2. Awesome, Sarah. I love that you’ve been able to see all the positives that can come out of a change – especially one that is away from something you love. I definitely think our bodies want to have all various forms of movement – we have so many different ligaments and muscles that we can’t possibly keep them all lubricated with one form of activity. But I think the mental shift is the most positive. Challenging yourself to try new things can really teach you more about things you like to do or don’t like to do, and how you actually enjoy spending your free time. More time for friends is always a good thing, too!

  3. You really made the most of your time off from running! I know when I have a long break, sometimes it’s tempting to fall in a slump, but you did the right things keeping active and finding other activities to enjoy! I really enjoy HIIT workouts too, and walking is so underrated!

  4. Even as a walker this resonates with me. Because I’ve found it applicable to so much in my life from fitness and beyond. Time away is never ever a bad thing here.

  5. Im glad you’ve taken time off from running to not only allow yourself to heal, but to also allow yourself to fall in love with other forms of exercise!! As someone who has been injured a lot I have had to take breaks from things that I love, but it has always lead me to something new that I love. Discovering my body is more capable of things than I thought is always inspiring!

  6. I took a big break from running last winter & it made me excited to start up again. I do a similar thing in the summer, not that I stop running altogether, but I cut way back so I can focus on biking, hiking, swimming, strength training & anything that gets me outside! It usually has me craving some structure (like a HM training plan) @ the end of the summer!

    Excited to check out that bodyweight HIIT video. I always struggle making up circuits on my own.

    1. It’s a great reminder that there are other forms of exercise beyond running lol I feel like sometimes as a runner, I get caught and think about all running all the time.

  7. Sometimes if I feel like ive been doing too much HIIT and strength training my body lets me know and i feel way too tired. If I give it a few days or even a week, I am back fully recharged!

    When I had to quit dance due to a knee injury, I fond a love for Yoga, Pilates, strength training, and HIIT. I would have never found these things had I not had to find something new!

  8. I can definitely relate to this! I took about a month this winter to back off running and do more HIIT/strength, walking, and cross training and loved it. But like you, I crave running and am happy to be back at it!

  9. I agree with every single item on this list! Now that I’m not training, I love focusing on strength training and having more time on weekends to do what I want and enjoy myself. Of course I love my long runs, but it’s nice to sleep in and have a break. I’m a huge fan of walking too and love being able to take my dog out on long morning walks now!

  10. After my track season, I was a bit burned out from running. I definitely needed a two week-ish break from it. Now, my workout routine’s shifted so I’m still running to maintain my endurance and speed, but there’s also plenty of room for trying out different workout types and doing strength workouts.

  11. Although I am not a runner, I always support taking time off from something and switching up your workout routine! I love circuit workouts too, and spinning is so fun! You should look into hot yoga, I don’t know if you tried it but it’s my fave! Happy Monday girl!

  12. I should incorporate circuit training into my life! I like that it allows for some more flexibility! I prefer lifting to cardio, but I’ve been meaning to add cardio back into my life again. Great that you found so many positives during your time off from running! :]

  13. Great post. I think switching it up is a great way to avoid burnout. I really want to start doing HIIT so that when I don’t have much time next year I still can get a good workout in.
    This post is a great encouragement to anyone afraid to take a break from running. You covered all the bases!

  14. What a great attitude. There are always lessons to be learned. I think an occasional break from running is good. And sometimes, we are forced to take that break due to injury. I had a very lengthy one last fall and found a new love in cycling. We need to make sure we stay open to other activities. The possibilities are endless. Thanks for linking with us Sarah!

  15. So many yeses. This is pretty close for comfort for me!
    On another vein, I took a long time off from riding before going back, and even then, I haven’t stuck with it (for a myriad of reasons). I think the greatest thing is that when you take a break from something, you remember that you have CHOICE. The CHOICE to run, or not. And that is so important to remember! Thanks for linking up with us! This is perfect.

  16. Part of me wishes I had taken more time off from training. I’ve still be running like crazy, which is both good and bad. Maybe I”ll skip my long run this weekend to buck the trend. 🙂

  17. I came so close to burnout during my marathon training it wasn’t funny! Thankfully taper came and all was well, but it taught me I don’t have to have a 20 week training schedule when I was already half marathon ready! Lesson learned. Glad your back!
    Headed to check out the PB&J balls!!

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