“I do, therefore I am”
I’m a runner. I’m not very fast, I’m not very good, but for the last seven years I’ve been a runner. It helps de-stress me, it feels good to get fresh air and it just feels good to be moving. So when you can’t do something you enjoy, it really sucks. After a year of injury – which included a torn muscle in my thigh and achilles so tight that I couldn’t touch them after a run (or actually really walk properly), along with that add sore knees into the equation – I was told by the physio I wasn’t allowed to run. Gutted.
I’ve suffered with dodgy knees since I was a teenager and as weird as it sounds, running makes them better. But after continuing to run through injury last year the pain got too bad. At the start of February, after two months of going to the physio I got told that I still had to wait six to twelve weeks before I could run, I chose to ignore that…
I didn’t listen to the advice and started running again in February*. I know my own body and for me running again was the only answer. The key is to ease yourself back into it and set realistic goals. Here are my top tips to get back into it.
Run on a treadmill. Normally I’m not a fan of the treadmill. I find it boring, you’re either staring at a wall or at other gym users. But they do have their benefits. For beginners or those getting back into running after some time out a treadmill is a great way to pace yourself and you don’t get caught out by sneaky secret hills that don’t seem to exist when you’re walking but suddenly appear when you up your speed!
Mix walking and running. It can be frustrating being back a few steps but after time out it’s not realistic to think that you will be able to hop on the treadmill and run at the same level as before. Start slowly. When I started back I did five minutes walking, ten minutes running. Build this up by adding a couple of minutes to the run and taking some time off the walking.
Set realistic goals. Like the above, don’t think your first run after a while you be will be able to run for thirty minutes, or do 5k at the same pace you were running before. Set goals you can achieve and work gradually back up to that 5k or thirty minutes running. It’s amazing how quickly your fitness will come back and you will be able to start upping the distance.
Celebrate the small victories. I’m not going to lie, when I managed to run twenty minutes non-stop it felt like a nice wee victory! I also set myself the goal to get back to a Parkrun by the end of March, which I managed on the last Saturday of the month. I really missed my Saturday morning Parkrun with Mark so it felt good to be back. I ran at my own pace, and for the full time, and my time was only two minutes slower than my PB! A time I would have been unhappy with five months ago, but I’m ok with now. I always like to have a bit of competition with myself so it’s something to work towards.
So there you have it, my top tips to get back into running.*I do not advise everyone to follow this route. You really should listen to medical professionals, they actually went to uni to be able to give the proper advice to people! I chose to ignore this advice at my own risk.