Have you ever taken a period of time off from running?
Or maybe you didn’t mean to take time off, but when all was said and done you ran so infrequently you couldn’t keep up with your old pace.
Getting back into running shape is probably the most frustrating thing!
It is even worse than when you first started running. At least back then you didn’t have expectations for yourself. As a beginner, no one expects you to be fast. Once you been a runner you have an expectation of what your “normal” pace should be. After a month or 2 without our normal training routine that pace falters because our body can’t keep up with our legs. We still want to run that fast, because that’s what we remember being normal, but the adaptations we developed have gone away.
We don’t deliver oxygen as efficiently as we did while we were in shape.
Runners, however, are stubborn. We will try to push ourselves to our normal pace and this will lead to one of 2 situations.
- We either run as hard as we think we should be able to and only run 1-2 miles rather than the planned 4-5. OR
- We run and then stop to walk. Run then stop to walk.
Neither one of these situations is going to get you back to the shape you were in. Easy runs will get you back in shape! Now don’t get me wrong, if you are looking to lose weight or just running to burn calories you will accomplish that goal. If you are looking to regain your runner’s stride though YOU NEED TO RUN SLOW!
EMBRACE IT! That’s what you’ve got to do.
Running slow is when your body begins to make adaptations.
- We begin to expand our capillary beds so we can better deliver oxygen through our blood and remove CO2!
- We increase our stroke volume so we can pump more blood with each heartbeat! More stroke volume=lower heart rate at any given intensity!
- We stimulate the production of more and larger mitochondria. (The Bacteria that live in our muscles and produce more ATP!)
- We train our slow twitch fibers to be more resistant to fatigue.
If you continue to try to push speed you won’t run long enough to stimulate these adaptations.
Slow down your pace for a couple weeks.–Grind out the miles.
You’ll be running fast again soon!