As athletes, we have all been sidelined from an injury and then taken it easy when getting back into our sport. But what if you weren’t injured? What if you were on a break, and perhaps it lasted a few years?
As competitive athletes, we have a hard time taking it easy. The comparison of the glory days and what you are capable of plays into every workout. The frustration, the pain, the feeling of staring eyes as you gasp for breath, or are walking instead of running. All the while, you are screaming in your head,
“You don’t know what I have done.” or,
“I am better than I look right now.” Maybe it is just me, but
“Don’t even get me started on carrying around the weight gain!”
My dear friend, Kathey, has a saying (and don’t quote me), “I am thankful and lucky enough to be able to do the sport that I love,” or something close to that.
As someone that is awaiting a knee replacement and barred from running, I would love to be that lucky. This pending surgery was the beginning of the derailment of my triathlon training. Why would I continue to train in a sport when I can only compete in two-thirds of it?
It wasn’t until a few years later that Swim/Bike events gained popularity and even reached more extended events. By then, I was already out of swim shape and doing other sports and loving it, which made it easier to move on and not dwell on what I was missing in my athletic life.
Returning to Your Sport After a Break
So, you’ve decided to end your chlorine-free skin streak and evenly tanned quads, but where on earth do you start? It is such a daunting task. But remember that you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.
Start by leaving the Garmin at home. Yes, I said it, so get over it. It would help if you did this for a month or two to find a rhythm of training again and to get enough recovery time.
Please go easy, slow, and don’t kick your ass for letting it all go and having to start again. Its time to take the pressure off and enjoy the feeling of moving.
I had taken a couple of years off from biking for a million lame excuses, which I didn’t think would ever happen. I moved around a lot, and my new town is full of miles of trails that were screaming for some cyclocross bike adventures.
It’s hard to find words to describe the feeling of riding a bike again. The best part was the newness of a different kind of ride and the lack of previous experience and feelings associated with an old bike. It made the low miles I was riding seem okay somehow. It gave me forgiveness for not riding 60 miles out of the gate.
Time to put the excuses away, my friend, and get at it. We are in this together, and I will be your accountability partner. Take time, don’t rush the mileage, and be consistent. Now is the time to take advantage of the pandemic and lack of races to start training. Fall in love with the sport again.