The real return to running finally feels like it has begun. My coach has started reintroducing running sessions into my plan. I have now had 4 sessions back and with every one, my body is slowly remembering what it is doing and starting to move a bit more naturally. That being said, the first session really did feel VERY hard and VERY weird. In order to ease back in gently, I started with a simple, but effective, 2x8 minutes @tempo pace with 2 minutes recovery. Since then my coach has introduced some shorter 1-4 minute reps whilst also building my tempo base up.
How did I approach the first session?
I knew it was going to feel hard, of course it was going to be, I hadn’t run fast in over 5 months, so I knew I needed to approach try session slightly differently. I had no expectations. I didn’t set myself any specific paces to hit, the plan was just to ‘run’ and go by feel. This way I took any pressure off the session and I couldn’t be deflated by my current fitness as I had no expectation for where I should be. I just wanted to enjoy being back sessioning, and that I did.
How did the first session feel?
It was a shock. I’ve been staying fit and doing sessions on the bike and in the pool, but nothing compares to running. There is nothing that quite gets me working like a run session does. I felt strong and my breathing was all ok, I just felt extremely rusty. The first 8 min tempo felt a lot harder than expected, but what showed me that it wasn’t a lack of fitness, just a lack of running conditioning, was that the second rep actually felt better. I have found with all of my sessions since then that I’ve felt better the further I get into the session.
Was I surprised by how it went?
As I said earlier, I didn’t set myself any expectations or paces for the introductory sessions, I simply went by feel/effort. If it felt like tempo, regardless of pace, I was doing it right. I didn’t look at the paces during the session, but I did afterwards, and to be honest I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t necessarily focus on the pace I ran but more the consistency, and this was there. It didn’t feel as easy as I would’ve liked, but no pace on the first session was going to feel comfortable. However, I was able to maintain a consistent pace for both reps and feel more comfortable at this pace as the session went on. I didn’t pick the pace up, but I adjusted more to the pace as I went on and felt increasingly more comfortable.
How did you feel after?
In all honesty, I expected to feel quite tired and achey the days following the first session back. However, as we eased into it gradually, I actually didn’t. With all the cross training and strengthening I have been doing, my body was more prepared than I anticipated. My coach has increased the volume and intensity of the running very gradually, so nothing has been a huge shock to the system.
From here on, the progression will continue to be very gradual but we are making developments week on week. Each week introduces a little bit more volume or intensity, so we are able to take consistent steps forward. There is a long road ahead, but I am excited for what is to come and the progress I can make.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!