Thoughts on Running Lately

I started this post in my head on Wednesday’s tempo run, initially planning for it to be about getting back into shape after the off-season. As I started thinking about what I would write, it really turned into more of a complaint session in my head about why these runs are feeling so much harder than they did last fall, or at other points during the past few years. So it really turned into more of a thinking out loud post, since that’s really what I am doing. 

We all know it’s important to take a break after a tough training season. However, coming back from that break can be challenging. My last marathon was in November, and for a few months I did nothing but short, easy runs and worked on my strength training. About a month ago I started adding back in fartlek and tempo runs, with the intention of working towards a 10k on April 16th.


I feel like it’s taking me longer than usual to recover from tough workouts, or even hard strength sessions. Weighted squats and lunges leave me sore for a couple of days. I’ll notice slight twinges if I don’t foam roll or include enough recovery

I am also feeling like it’s taking me longer than usual for any sort of speed to come back to my legs. Last year I took 3 weeks off from running in February/March due to injury, and felt like I bounced back pretty quickly and ran a 5k in May. This time around, I wasn’t dealing with an injury, backed off a lot, and feel like I am starting from scratch anyway. 

Maybe it’s just part of getting older. When I was away last weekend I was talking to my friends about how we get more random aches and pains from everyday life than we used to. It just seems like a drastic change from 6 months ago when I could handle 50 mile weeks like it’s no big deal. 

I was trying to think about other changes of late, like longer days at work and sitting more, and how that could maybe impact my training. I used to work a regular 8-4 schedule and could run in the morning and go to yoga after work. Now when I get home I couldn’t imagine having the time or energy to do another type of workout, even an easy one. 


This is all I want to do after work…

Throughout most of the winter I haven’t been following a schedule or training plan, which is good in some ways but not in others. When I go into a week with a plan, I have a strategy to place rest days and easy runs between harder days, and I do my strength training sessions at times when it won’t affect a hard or long run. When I go into the week without a plan, sometimes things don’t work out so well. However, this has allowed me to work around the weather and my schedule, and has removed some of the pressure to get certain workouts done each week. 


Another thought I had about this is that maybe my form has been slightly changing after my visit to the UVA speed clinic, so my body is also adjusting to those changes. It’s hard to know for sure (other than long term results/lack of injury) but I have still been doing all the exercises and drills that I was given. 

So where do I go from here? I’m not really ready to sign up for a marathon when I am feeling this way (although the next time I would even consider one would be in the fall). I will probably plan to do some short races over the next few months so I have something to work towards, but I need to try to let go of any expectations and just respect where my body is right now. I may also stick to 4-5 days of running until I notice that I am handling that better. But don’t hold me to that if we get some really nice weather and I tack on an extra day!

Let’s end this on a random note…did you know that headlamps double as an alarm clock if you are supposed to get your husband to get up to go running?  Yea, I was about to head out for my run, and realized Rob wasn’t up yet, so when I went in the bedroom I turned on my headlamp  and that woke him up pretty quickly. Much better than a blaring alarm clock, I think.


How long does it take you to get your speed back after some time off?

Are you training for any races? When is your next race?

What other factors have you noticed affect your training?

thinking out loud



I’m linking this post up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud and with the Coach’s Corner Link-up (with Running on HappySuzlyfeCrazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs).


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61 thoughts on “Thoughts on Running Lately

  1. ha, I should get a head lamp just to wake my son up in the morning lol. I bet he would enjoy that. I always say I am getting old. I am sure it plays a role in how we feel and recover but I bet as you continue with your runs, keeping the pressure off, combined with the nice weather coming soon, all will fall into place.
    meredith @ Cookie ChRUNicles recently posted…Thinking Out Loud 3.17.16My Profile

  2. I can relate to the aches and pains of getting older! Adam and I were talking about this the other day too since I’m turning 30 this year. Wow, the 30 year old body sure is different than the 20 year old body, haha!

    I love that you’re respecting where your body is right now. That’s something I’m struggling with big time at the moment, and hearing you say it is such a good motivator to do the same. It’s easy to get swept up in the “everyone’s running a million miles a week at super fast paces” blog/instagram momentum. Thanks for the reminder!
    Kristina recently posted…Sh!t Kristina Says: A Short Collection of Interesting QuotesMy Profile

    • Yes, I think that by formulating this post I came to that conclusion in a way. I’m even comparing myself to where I was last or or the year before, but I’m in a different place now. It’s tough but I think that by respecting how I feel it will come together eventually.

  3. I’m in my mid 50s . . . just you wait! It seems like the minute I fix something, something else breaks.

    My next half isn’t til May; my last race was last weekend, and if I ever sign up for it, the next one should be in a couple of weeks.

    Are you fueling your runs well? How old are you shoes? Those are the 2 things that pop into my mind when you say recovery seems to take longer. Just my $.02.
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…Taping does a body good: TOLTMy Profile

    • Thanks for the suggestions! I know my shoes are good- I rotate a bunch of pairs and track them really well- but maybe my fueling could use some work. I also think that part of this could be due to not drinking coffee (I gave it up for Lent) but it’s scary to think I could be that dependent on caffeine, that I am still feeling sluggish without it even after a month!

  4. You’re so smart to listen to your body and not push it! I sometimes think after months and months of hard race our bodies just put their feet down and make us ease up. I was fast and fit in college, and then all of a sudden in grad school I slowed down by over a minute per mile and halved my workout volume because it was all I could handle. And then I made huge gains both in terms of fitness and recovery. Few things in life are linear.
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…Tangle-Proof Hairstyle for RunnersMy Profile

    • It’s good to hear that something similar happened to you and you came back stronger! I can’t help but feel like I’m only getting older and my fitness will just decline from here. I know that’s not necessarily true, but it’s hard to think rationally about this sometimes:)

  5. Our bodies can be huge mysteries! I think as athletes and runners, we are constantly trying to figure them out- which is a GOOD thing, obviously. I feel like we are much more in tune with our bodies than the average person. So when our body isn’t responding like normal and we can’t figure it out, it can be frustrating. I seriously just sometimes have to chalk things up to maybe I won’t figure it out, but I ALWAYS bounce back from whatever, even if sometimes it takes longer than others.
    Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…More or LessMy Profile

  6. I’ve been feeling the exact same way recently. Throughout the winter I only did easy runs and strength training so getting serious about running again has been a struggle. I know it’ll get easier if I keep at it, but I have to remind myself that every time I run. Otherwise I end up feeling really down about the whole situation. Luckily, I only have one race planned for the year and that’s a marathon in November so I have some time to get my legs back!
    Michelle @ Lively Chicken recently posted…Busy, Busy, Busy!My Profile

  7. I’m starting to look into a work station to help counter all the sitting, maybe one that I can stand and sit. My left hip flexor was bothering me yesterday, and I have no idea what I did. Maybe too much strength training on Tuesday? I know I didn’t do any new-to-me exercises so I’m at a loss.
    Lesley recently posted…Thinking Out Loud 3/17My Profile

  8. I feel like it takes me a pretty significant amount of time (a few months) to get my speed back and not have my legs feel like lead. I have my half marathon this Sunday, then another the end of May. I’m definitely taking some time off after that, but then at the same time I don’t want to take too much time off and feel like I’m starting from scratch again. But at the end of the day, I think listening to your body is the most important, and then everything else will fall into place.
    Jen B. recently posted…Preparing For A Destination RaceMy Profile

  9. Ugh I always feel so out of shape when coming back to running from a break – which is I think why I tried to keep my motivation levels high after my last marathon. I took the time to recover but then jumped right back into high mileage even though I wasn’t specifically training for anything. That can be good but I know it’s a dangerous line and I did have a resulting minor injury from continuously going-going-going that made me take a step back again.
    But you did such a smart thing in giving your body the break it needed – probably both mentally and physically! – and you WILL get back to the fitness level you were at last fall. I have no doubt about that. From reading your blog for a while now, I think you are doing an outstanding job of listening to your body and letting yourself recover better. It will only help you in the long run 🙂
    Charissa recently posted…Weekly Mileage Update (Mar 7 – 13)My Profile

  10. Haha about the headlamp! I feel like I have not been following any sort of training – I’ve talked about races but haven’t signed up, therefore, my training has been quite random, which like you mentioned, I don’t feel I can properly plan rest days/strength, etc. I think I do better with a training plan. After time off, I slowly increase my tempo runs and speed, otherwise I’m sure to get injured.
    Sarah @ BucketListTummy recently posted…Why (And How) I Treat Myself OftenMy Profile

  11. Here’s my two cents, for what it’s worth. 1. yes, we do bounce back slower as we age but 2. and more importantly, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Racing on little sleep is one thing (like if you don’t sleep well because of nerves before a big race) but not getting enough sleep over time profoundly impacts our ability to heal, recharge our batteries, and therefore train effectively.

    Thanks for linking up!
    Rachel recently posted…Coping with Pre-Race Jitters [Coaches’ Corner]My Profile

    • That’s definitely a good point! I know there are some nights I don’t get enough sleep (I mean, I always get at least 7 hours but I feel my best with 8-9). I try to catch up a little more on the weekends when I am still going to bed early but sleeping a little later in the mornings. It’s definitely something to keep in mind though, so thanks for bringing that up!

  12. All good things to be thinking about, and I do think over time that as we race (or don’t race) more and the way our bodies are moving on a daily basis changes, our running ability and how to make the most of it is also going to shift.

    On a side note, hopping out of bed and getting dressed, then telling a boyfriend/husband who’s still hibernating that he “doesn’t HAVE to come on the run” is also an excellent method of getting them up and moving 🙂
    Alyssa @ renaissancerunnergirl recently posted…Thinking Out Loud: Plans and PrioritiesMy Profile

  13. We always have this certain idea in our minds of what we are supposed to be pacing at and it’s frustrating when we can’t bounce back or work into those paces easily. I have a couple half marathons on the books, but as much as I would like to race them I have to keep telling myself that I need to use them as training runs so I can get healthy for two big fall marathons. It’s frustrating trying to work back into everything, but you will get their. Sometimes little goals are better for us than bigger goals. Like let’s have 4-5 good runs this week instead of let’s hit this pace for this many miles. You can do it Lisa!
    Alaina @ The Simple Peach recently posted…Workouts I Am Loving & Wanting To TryMy Profile

    • Honestly I don’t know how you do it all! I was in grad school when I was 23-24, and I was also working full time and exercising 6 days a week, but there is no way I could do all that now. I also find that I need alot of time to recover between marathons! So I guess 1 a year is what works best for me.

  14. Oh yeah, totally! I feel aches and pains when I do tempo runs and speed work. MAJORLY. Now that I’m (kinda) tapering (because I suck at tapering) I notice that I don’t hobble out of bed anymore. It’s quite nice. 🙂 But yes, I think it’s also a part of getting older, too. Booooo.
    Suzy recently posted…ReflectionMy Profile

  15. i wish i had speed to get back… in other news i have found that as spring weather starts it takes me a little while to adjust, like winter was just get through it – extra slow mode and once spring rolls around i need a few weeks to defrost and feel like me again, if that makes sense.
    Josephine recently posted…#HempProteinSmoothieMy Profile

  16. I am training for my first marathon which is in 2 weeks. I am a bit nervous for the “after”, because the training has added such structure to my life. I am a goal oriented person, so I KNOW I will need another goal but I haven’t started thinking about it yet. One goal at a time…
    But I definitely think it is normal to go through phases….
    Karen @ Fit in France recently posted…Thinking out loud : thankfulnessMy Profile

  17. Haha I love the headlamp alarm!

    After my fall marathon I moved and my entire schedule has been out of whack ever since – I’m feeling much the same way you are about work and working out and general aches and pains. I think any time our routine is altered it has a greater impact than we necessarily realize at the time. That extra time commuting, the change in wake-up time or dinner time, even if just 10-20 minutes, takes its toll over time. I wish I could offer advice on how to get over it, but I’m still working on that myself! 🙂

    The speed has come when I least expect it this year. I planned on an easy HM-pace track session and ended up running more than a minute faster – I think that was possible because I didn’t have time to psych myself out about running fast.

    My first race of 2016 is in May – the Frederick Half – and while my routine has been upended and my mileage has suffered, I think (I hope?) I’m ready for it. I’m hoping to PR but am really using is as a means to a larger end – my second fall marathon.
    Stephanie recently posted…Winter’s winding down…My Profile

  18. Something about turning 31 made my body creaky… It’s harder to get back to normal after even just a few days off! I’ve got one more half at the end of May, but then I’m taking some time off (at least until the fall). I think taking a break makes the shorter races feel more fun – hope you enjoy running a few of them!
    Hilary @ Embrace the Neon recently posted…Barre So HardMy Profile

  19. I definitely think that age has something to do with it. More random aches and pains have definitely become a thing for me, and I’ve even noticed that my recoveries aren’t as fast after a really hard workout. But I’m thinking that some of that has to do wit the time of the year as well. Things always take a slump around January and February just due to the lack of sun and time outside. Spring is coming – things are looking up 🙂
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…a special someone, my OCD tendencies, and hoodie popcorn (ToL#174)My Profile

  20. I think letting go of expectations and doing what feels right is definitely the way to go. I always read how real growth and improvement takes time, and with all that hard training behind you, it makes sense that your body needs more TLC now in its rest & repair phase. I’m sure you’ll be that much more ready to tackle training for whatever race you choose next.
    Jennifer @ Dashing in Style recently posted…Five Activewear Must-Haves for Spring RunningMy Profile

  21. It is true that getting older plays a part in how you feel, recover, and general running goals (take it from the voice of aging experience 🙂 ). I wrote a post once about getting your running mojo back. Sometimes it’s hard, especially after a hard effort. Thanks for linking up!
    Debbie @ Coach Debbie Runs recently posted…Blogger’s Pit Stop 15My Profile

  22. It can all be so mysterious sometimes. I think you’re going about it very methodically and rationally so you will get to the bottom of it eventually. I had an abrupt drop-off in speed that was thyroid related. I’m still working to get that fully addressed. You are hilarious with your headlamp! That would be one helluvan alarm!
    Marcia recently posted…RunLites Review and GiveawayMy Profile

  23. I’m reluctant to say age has anything to do with it because I’ve known some women who’ve really come into speed in their 40’s, who knows! Anyhow I can relate, and for me, it’s mental and life-circumstance related. Some points in your life for various reasons are more conducive to speed and some just aren’t I think. I also think the body goes in cycles where you can be fast for a while but can’t keep it up – it doesn’t necessarily make sense scientifically but it’s something I’ve noticed seems to happen. You are definitely not alone!
    Michele @ paleorunningmomma recently posted…Paleo Lemon Poppy Seed Glazed DonutsMy Profile

  24. It’s definitely a challenge to find a balance with not being sore all the time from running or strength training. I’ve been doubling up, so on my hard running days i’ll do legs afterward and I can do upper body almost every day since running with sore arms is easy. I still take off 1-2 full days from working out. the doubles and time off (plus slowing my easy runs down) have helped keep me from constantly being sore for days. I also have been walking more & foam rolling daily so i think that’s a big factor in my body flushing lactic acid and toxins out before the next workout. Just keep logging your workouts and how you’re feeling and see if it changes in several weeks. if you’re still sore all the time you might want to adjust. Hopefully you’re right and the adjustments you’ve made since going to the clinic are why you’re feeling a little off. I’ve changed my running form several times and the running ALWAYS felt harder just because i wasn’t used to it. (sorry for the marathon response! lol)
    Cori @ She’s Going the Distance recently posted…The Almost PR- Rock N’ Roll DC 1/2 Recap!My Profile

    • Thanks for your input! It’s good to know you have noticed that running felt harder after making changes to your form. I wish I could figure out a way to do strength training after my hard runs, but I don’t have time. Maybe I could figure out a way to reorganize my schedule because I do think it would be better to have 2 days off but I still want to be able to fit everything in if that’s possible!

  25. Don’t get me started on the aging thing. I’ve been very whiny about that this week. I do think there are certain adaptations we must make as we get older. More rest days, more cross training, etc. But, no doubt — there is a lot of fantastic running ahead of you. We all go through slumps. I think picking a goal race helps me get focused.
    HoHo Runs recently posted…Montgomery Half (WW # 32)My Profile

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