Posted by: thehungryrunner | October 31, 2011

Trusting in the value of taking time off from running

Sometimes I think the Universe is having a good cosmic laugh at the fact that my calling should be that of fitness professional; so often, the very wisdom I advocate in my work is the very lesson that then plays out in my personal fitness life!  Taking time off of running is just the latest example of this.  I have to assume these life-imitating-theory moments only serve to help my effectiveness as a fitness leader.  After all, it’s one thing for me to have the book knowledge, it’s one thing for me to have the experience of witnessing certain phenomena and patterns in others I have helped over the years.  But for me to also then experience it first-hand?  There’s nothing more compelling than that level of testimony, especially on top of that academic and experiential foundation!

In any event, due in part to my training for an upcoming fitness competition, circumstances have led to workouts other than running for me lately, mostly bike rides and use of the cross trainer (along with the usual litany of strength training, acrobatic drills, and yoga, but those are part of my week even when I’m running).  And as nervous as this made me — I’m still convinced that there’s nothing more powerful than running when it comes time to keeping up my cardiovascular stamina, I must admit, the break from the usual routine has been a good one for me.  Hard to put my finger on any one reason, but my body feels like it’s been rebooted, for lack of a better description.  Certain muscles that seemed to tighten up more often are now quiet and back to their normal selves, and yet I’ve noticed a change in stamina and intensity in these alternate workouts since the shift, that suggests I’ve progressed even within these curent cardio activities.  And just to ease my worries that the change would cause my running to unravel completely, I’ve thrown in the occasional Friday jog or Monday walk/run outing….and contrary to my fears, my strides are flowing quite smoothly.  Not to say my body is instantly back to where I left off, but it seems as long as I keep one running foot in the door, the muscles are retaining enough memory for when I’m ready to resume “full steam ahead.”

So let my experience be a lesson to you:  If your body seems to be in need of a change of routine, pay attention!  My current experience is only supporting what I’d witnessed time and time again with my clients and students:  As long as you stay active in some way, shape or form, you won’t backslide and in fact will often break through a frustrating plateau.  The body is both resilient and adaptable — constant change is the name of the game!



  1. I completely agree! Sometimes a little time away is a great mental and physical break! I think it makes you hungry for more…

  2. Of all the great advice here, listening to your body is of most importance. Whether a runner, a walker, a gym-goer or someone who works out at home, your body will tell you what it needs most. Giving your body the break it needs will allow it to serve you better.

  3. I know I should take off, so I take a break for a week, run 3 miles and the ankle still bothers me. It’s so fustrating 😦 So I need to learn more patience!

  4. Reblogged this on inspiredweightloss.

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