I’m running at a comfortable pace. But there’s something off with my stride. The sleepy world around me sways gently in the warm wind, and I focus on the leafless trees, greedy for the usual equilibrium they bring. Yet I can’t seem to find my rhythm. I consult the disco throb in my chest with Garmin. Nope, we’re not doing an easy run. Even my breathing is haggard and uneven. And there’s one more thing: I want to stop.
The Mind Craves What the Body Doesn’t
While I appreciate the week-long break from running I took in October, I’m struggling to get back to pre-break shape. I was expecting a slight drop in performance, but I had no idea it would take so long for me to bounce back. There’s not even a faint glimmer of my former fitness on the horizon. Nada.
The questions as to what is causing this unnerving situation multiply after each lousy run. Right now there’s a thunderstorm of something like this in my head:
Is it the lack of a sufficiently strong stimulus?
Is the frequency of quality sessions too low?
Do I have some underlying cause, say, thyroid hormone imbalance?
Or maybe it’s the heart?
Can it be that it simply takes one this long to get back in shape?
Is my age the factor?
And so on. It’s not easy navigating this brain of mine these days 😉
Searching for the Culprit
It could also be a number of those things combined that’s causing the slow progress. Whatever it is, I’m getting really sad, and worried, about the state of my running.
I suspect that it’s simply the lack of appropriately strong stimuli—I sincerely hope that’s the case because, obviously, it has the easiest solution. I’ve only done three quality sessions so far, most with high-intensity reps. Tomorrow I’ll be hitting the gravel hard with 3x1mi@4:25/km, and on Sunday I have a long run with a 9mi@4:45/km portion. If this won’t budge my fitness at least a little bit, I’ll start to seriously worry.
So again, I’m back at being patient and persistent. While I’ve been down that road more than once, it’s so infuriatingly difficult when just two months ago, I could feel the gains in my fitness on a weekly basis. I mean, I know I’m a lousy runner and all, but give me back my running equilibrium!