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Coming back after an extended layoff

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Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  Tim C on Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:18 pm

So I wound up having to take a full 6 months off from running, starting about a month after running well at the Sacramento marathon.  I had to have knee surgery but it's feeling somewhat ok now.  It's been 8 weeks now since I started running again, just running easy and only getting into double digits for the week a couple of times.  I should hit about 15 miles this week.

My knee feels kinda ok and my legs actually feel pretty good.  However, my breathing and HR just have not come back at all.  Today I did an easy 5 miles, at a 10:30 pace, and my HR was about where it used to be running a half marathon at an 8:15 pace.  Virtually no improvement in 2 months and I'm wondering what in the heck I have to do to get things to start to turn around.  I've tried picking the pace up a couple of times, for short distances, and while it feels good to run faster I'm so out of breath in a couple of minutes that I have to walk.

I understand it takes time to build back up but this is just stupid - of course I've never been known to have much patience in anything I do.

My friends all say "don't worry, things will come around" but I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever get back to anywhere close to where I was a few months ago...

Anyone else have experience in taking an extended break and what did you do / how long did it take to get back to where running anywhere close to the paces you could run before returns???
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  Mark B on Sat Sep 03, 2016 9:33 pm

@Tim C wrote:How long did it take to get back to where running anywhere close to the paces you could run before returns???

It took much, much longer than I wanted it to.

I think you're on the right path, though, by focusing on building your aerobic base right now. Keep that up and get your mileage up by working in some longer runs every week. Once you get up to 25-30 miles per week, you might be able to sneak in a more up-tempo session every week or two. Once you've got a base rebuilt, the lungs (and speed) should come back.

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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  ounce on Sat Sep 03, 2016 10:25 pm

I haven't returned to the cadence I was at, after a one month break.

For me, which seems the opposite of you, my HR returned to normal running rate first, then the lungs, then the legs.

Like Mark said, I think once you get your base built, you'll notice other facets return to almost normal.  Hopefully you won't have your past performance discounted for age.
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Sep 04, 2016 7:45 am

As someone who has tried many times to get back to where I used to be...  Throw that notion out.  

I'm not saying it's not possible, or even unlikely, but it's a pretty surefire way to cause injury again.  After all, where you used to be was injured, remember?  

Trust the system, trust your body, and just enjoy the ride.  Diet and sleep (collectively read: recovery) are key if you want the process to move a bit faster.

FWIW, it took me about 24 weeks of consistent running to build up to 40mpw at what I consider a respectable pace for myself.  I took a couple weeks off - still biked a lot - and am down to a minute/mile slower.  It's a fragile thing, fitness.
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  KBFitz on Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:24 am

I agree with Mike

@Mike MacLellan wrote:...  Throw that notion out.  
 It's a fragile thing, fitness.

I've essentially been out of commission for a year owing to a heart condition. I just ran my first 40+ mile week since November 2015 and I'm running 2 minutes/mile slower at the same heart rate. It's taking a goodly long time to get back in shape. But I'm not pushing it. I know that my body responds to consistency. In my case I may never recover the levels of aerobic fitness that I had last year. But there's no reason that you shouldn't be able to recover fully. Just don't expect it to be quick. It may take you the equivalent of several marathon training cycles to recover to your prior levels of aerobic fitness. Nobody can tell you how long it will take, but its' a certainty that you won't get there if you don't train consistently. Keep the faith and reap the rewards.
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  Tim C on Sun Sep 04, 2016 1:23 pm

Thanks all.  I know I just have to stick with it.

Mark, I think you hit the nail on the head.  The last couple of years I was running 25 mph on my off weeks, thus I had a base built and things felt easy.  Until I get back to 25+ per week, I cannot expect the HR / breathing to come around.

I set up a schedule to get to 30 mpw by early-December which will give me 18 weeks to train for Boston.
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  nkrichards on Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:47 pm

Good to see your knee is holding up fairly well Tim.  You've already got some really good advice here.  If I could add anything it would be...
 1) Cross train.  I found that I could do more if I didn't just run.  The swimming was a huge factor in improving my cardio without putting to much stress on my legs.  Biking helped with leg strength without the pounding.  And don't forget the core work.
 2) Don't skip the warm up and cool down.  Even though you're running slower it's still really important!

Be patient.  Once you get to the point where you can get some longer runs in you'll start to see more noticeable improvement.

Good luck.
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:34 am

No advice - just keep at it and listen to your body
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  Tim C on Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:42 pm

The knee has taken a serious turn for the worse and I haven't been able to run for the last week.  Lots of stretching and cycling at the gym and strengthening exercises.  Started feeling sorry for myself but my wife kicked me in the ass and told me to do what I had to do.  So, come Friday, I will register for Boston and then I'll just have to train the best I can and realize I will not PR and merely getting to both the starting and finishing lines will be a huge accomplishment.

That's my goal right now and I'm sticking with it....
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  nkrichards on Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:57 pm

@Tim C wrote:The knee has taken a serious turn for the worse and I haven't been able to run for the last week.  Lots of stretching and cycling at the gym and strengthening exercises.  Started feeling sorry for myself but my wife kicked me in the ass and told me to do what I had to do.  So, come Friday, I will register for Boston and then I'll just have to train the best I can and realize I will not PR and merely getting to both the starting and finishing lines will be a huge accomplishment.

That's my goal right now and I'm sticking with it....


Glad your wife kicked you in the ass for all of us.  Definitely register for Boston and plan to go no matter what.  You earned it.  It may not be the experience that you hoped for but there are no guarantees in life.  Make the best of it and enjoy it!!

Keep us posted on the knee and the training that you are able to do.
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Sep 14, 2016 2:08 pm

My guess is that 90% of the runners who qualify run to enjoy their first time.  So - register and run to enjoy!  I'll be there (in Boston that is).
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  Tim C on Wed Sep 14, 2016 10:28 pm

@nkrichards wrote:
@Tim C wrote:The knee has taken a serious turn for the worse and I haven't been able to run for the last week.  Lots of stretching and cycling at the gym and strengthening exercises.  Started feeling sorry for myself but my wife kicked me in the ass and told me to do what I had to do.  So, come Friday, I will register for Boston and then I'll just have to train the best I can and realize I will not PR and merely getting to both the starting and finishing lines will be a huge accomplishment.

That's my goal right now and I'm sticking with it....


Glad your wife kicked you in the ass for all of us.  Definitely register for Boston and plan to go no matter what.  You earned it.  It may not be the experience that you hoped for but there are no guarantees in life.  Make the best of it and enjoy it!!

Keep us posted on the knee and the training that you are able to do.

Thanks Nancy.  I'm really looking forward to going no matter what.  I trained my butt off for that BQ...
Michele \"1L" Keane wrote:My guess is that 90% of the runners who qualify run to enjoy their first time.  So - register and run to enjoy!  I'll be there (in Boston that is).


Thanks Michele.  I hope to meet up next April!  I am SO looking forward to the experience.
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  Mark B on Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:11 pm

@Tim C wrote:The knee has taken a serious turn for the worse and I haven't been able to run for the last week.  Lots of stretching and cycling at the gym and strengthening exercises.  Started feeling sorry for myself but my wife kicked me in the ass and told me to do what I had to do.  So, come Friday, I will register for Boston and then I'll just have to train the best I can and realize I will not PR and merely getting to both the starting and finishing lines will be a huge accomplishment.

That's my goal right now and I'm sticking with it....

Props to your ass-kicking wife. You earned your ticket. Being there is the reward. Enjoy it!

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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  Tim C on Fri Sep 16, 2016 1:42 pm

Registered today.  Fingers crossed 5+ minutes under gets me in.
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Sat Sep 17, 2016 1:04 pm

@Tim C wrote:Registered today.  Fingers crossed 5+ minutes under gets me in.


Should be no issue at all!!!
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  KBFitz on Sun Sep 18, 2016 11:19 am

@Tim C wrote:Registered today.  Fingers crossed 5+ minutes under gets me in.
Good for you Tim. I'm sure you're in like Flynn. Don't even think about marathon pace for your first Boston. Just relish the moment. It's special.
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  Tim C on Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:26 am

I'm in...

Gulp...
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  ounce on Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:58 am

@Tim C wrote:I'm in...

Gulp...
Approval
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Mon Sep 19, 2016 12:26 pm

@ounce wrote:
@Tim C wrote:I'm in...

Gulp...
Approval

Woohoo!!!  Get your hotel now (they will be expensive, but you can always search for cheaper as the date gets closer if need be - cause rooms do open up)
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  Tim C on Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:14 pm

Michele \"1L" Keane wrote:
@ounce wrote:
@Tim C wrote:I'm in...

Gulp...
Approval

Woohoo!!!  Get your hotel now (they will be expensive, but you can always search for cheaper as the date gets closer if need be - cause rooms do open up)

Thanks - I'll do that.  We actually have friends who live 10 minutes from the start so we'll spend at least a couple of nights there. But my wife and I will be making a trip of it as I've never been to Boston.

Can't wait.
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:38 pm

Welcome to my home town!!
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  Tim C on Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:52 pm

Michele \"1L" Keane wrote:Welcome to my home town!!

Thanks!  Hoping we can meet up so I can buy you a Sam Adams!
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:03 am

@Tim C wrote:
Michele \"1L" Keane wrote:Welcome to my home town!!

Thanks!  Hoping we can meet up so I can buy you a Sam Adams!
That sounds like a plan!
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  nkrichards on Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:52 pm

@Tim C wrote:I'm in...

Gulp...


Congrats Tim.  You deserve it.  Enjoy it.
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Re: Coming back after an extended layoff

Post  Tim C on Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:19 pm

Quick update: Last Saturday was a planned easy 8 mile trail run.  Longest run since surgery was 6 but I felt good.  5 miles in my left calf cramped / spasmed / whatever and it was so bad I had to hitch a ride back to my car.  Stretched and rolled the calf all week and no improvement.  Tried to run twice this week and was able to log a total of 1 mile - yes 1 mile running this week and 1 mile walking back to the house...

So I'm 21 weeks out from Boston and my highest mileage week since my surgery in March was 2 weeks ago and that was a whopping 16 miles.  12 last week and 1 this week  Geez...

I'm thinking the calf is acting up because I'm favoring the knee when I run.  Whatever, I'm nearing the point where I'll have to write running Boston off.  I don't care about a PR as that is completely out the window.  I just want to be able to run the damn thing and just don't know if there's enough time left to build any kind of base at this point.

I'm still hopeful but at some point I may have to be realistic and accept it's just not in the cards.

Getting old and being injured just sucks...
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