Truth be told - I've been quite ill for the past few months and as a result my training took a real hit. I am physically weaker than I've been in a long time. Strength, endurance and cardio all took a pretty heavy knock. I'm on the road to getting better but I also wanted to take time out to talk about getting back in to training after really falling out of the routine.
First of all it's hard.It's not quite like going back to square one but it's close. I could still do a 5k. But I was slower. And sometimes I'd have to walk. The first time I went out was down right frightening to see how quickly my fitness had dropped. It's very strange to go from running 50k plus a week to barely managing 15. I'm finding myself slowly being able to stay out longer and I've found changing up routes, stretching and adding more hills to my route really help. I've started logging my runs again on Running 4Women - which is a great way for me to be able to monitor my progress. It's scary to think something I used to find so easy is now much tougher for me, but I know if I keep building up my distance and continue my training I'll be back to myself in no time.
It was my strength training that scared me the most. I recently started going to a few classes to ease myself in. My kettle bell weight dropped (which I expected) but it was when I was going dead lifts and clean and presses I really noticed how weak I'd become. My weights were halved from what I was used to and I found myself really panicing. I'd been working on my upper body, core, chest etc for some time as they've always been my weakest points and it genuinely felt like all that work had been wiped out. After the class finished I found myself panicing and ended up having a wee cry in the bathroom. Not exactly the most constructive way to push through things, but it was just a general build up of everything. Frustration, disappointment and a healthy dose of terror.
The good news? I'm slowly getting back in to it. Today I went out for the longest run I have in weeks, and it was tough - but the extra distance I covered just made me feel proud - and definitley calmer. I was going to get strong again. It wasn't going to happen over night but the ground work was there. For now though I'm really going to focus on strength before Mudder comes along and I'm determined to finish. It'll definitley take me a little longer than I hoped and will be much harder that I'd have liked it to be (it was always going to be tough by the nature) but I know completing it will really be the first big milestone for me to really becoming strong again. All the better prep for my half marathon in October.
My top tips for getting back in to a routine? Start slow. Be it classes, going out for a shorter time or lifting a slightly lighter weight - anything you do will help. You should always be pushing yourself to go beyond your own limits, but it's important to listen to your body and sometimes take a step back, go a little bit easier, slower. It will come. I find keeping a log of your activity and progress to be really helpful and motivational. Any small achievement (faster speed, more reps) - log it and see how much better you're doing. I find it very helpful to write a training plan and stick to it. It's initially a bit tough to get back in to the swing of things but ultimately very rewarding and offers more structure to building yourself back up.
For whatever reason, we can all fall off our training, and getting back in to it and seeing our progress essentially go "poof" can be disheartening - but you can get it back. To anyone who's started anything that helps you feel better (it doesn't matter what - your fix is - boxing, parkour, ballet, swimming) - and fallen off, yeah it's tough to get back on but so very very worth it.
I'm running Tough Mudder to raise money for The Scottish Association of Mental Health. If you fancy sending a fly dollah over to a sister then you can head over to my justgiving page www.justgiving.com/beewaitsruns