There will be times in your life due to circumstances beyond your control that you may not be able to run with the frequency you would like. Don't despair. While you may be inclined to avoid the running world in its entirety during your sabbatical, there are a number of ways to continue to stoke your love of running. You can still enjoy the game from the sidelines -- Lily Trotters' resident runner, Casey, shares how.
1. Get Involved
When you're in the middle of race training, it can be hard to find the time to also give back to the running community. Use any unexpected downtime from running to contribute to the sport you rely on to keep you mentally & physically healthy. Volunteer at a race and see the resolve and pride in the eyes of other runners as they thank you and head towards the finish line. If you run trails, join in on a cleanup event. Provide aid to a training group on their long run. There's nothing better than the look on runners' faces as they discover an impromptu aid station on their long run. Pay it forward. You'll be back in action eventually and there will be plenty of other people behind the scenes supporting you as you set new goals.
2. Geek Out
You know that pregnant woman who runs 40 mile weeks up until her due date and then sets a half marathon PR a few weeks later? Well, that wasn't me. Not even close. I spent most of my third (and last!) pregnancy unable to run and "bouncing back" has taken me a solid 3 years. Were there moments when I felt discouraged and supremely jealous of anyone moving faster than a snail's pace on the roads, track and trails? You betcha. But, instead of shying away from running, I took the time to get acquainted with both the history of running AND the current players on the running scene. I upped my podcast game and increased my knowledge of the historic races that go on each year across the world. I began learning about runners and following those I really admired on social media. I watched documentaries with my kids. Despite NOT running nearly as much or as fast as I would like, I never felt so inspired by athletes and connected to the sport.
So, take your time off to approach running in a different way. Absorb some information that may help you better understand the history of running as a sport and what's going on today in the running world. You won't regret it.
3. Change Your Brain
Whether you're out for 6 weeks or 6 months, your mental outlook on your non-running situation will not only impact your time off but also your ability to put in the work when it comes to your comeback. Try to think of your hiatus as a much-needed rest. Enjoy your free time. Try new activities you've been too busy to learn. Call those friends you've lost touch with. Read a book. Approach the break from running with positivity. Know it won't be forever and make a commitment to yourself to give your return to running your best effort even though it's likely going to require a bit of suffering in the beginning.
4. Do What You Can
Despite your "runner not running" status, there's likely a ton of things you CAN do. I recommend spending time each day doing something that will expedite your return to running or at least will make reintroduction slightly less painful. Working on strength and mobility is a great option. Endurance options like swimming and cycling are awesome alternatives. HIKE. There is so much to see outside in nature that you can sometimes miss when you're running on a trail watching where to place your feet rather than paying attention to the beauty all around you. Just because you can't run, it doesn't mean you can't get outside. You got this!
What are some ways you've coped when taking a break from running? How do you approach your times of rest and recovery? Let us know in the comments below!