>Health and Nutrition>Mental Approach
Looking for some advice...
I've been running consistently for 23 years. I ran a season of track in high school, but I've been a runner since I graduated from college. I've done races from 1 mile up to marathons, in the desert and in the bayou, on the road, track, and trails. 5 years ago I branched out into sprint triathlons. I don't really like swimming and was bored with long distance riding, so I dedicated 2020 to see how low I could take my mile time (5:43 which isn't too bad for a dude in his mid-40's.) Shortly after that mile, I had a minor surgery which kept me from running for about 3 months. Ever since running has been a total struggle. Initially I chalked it up to being out of shape while recovering from the surgery, but months after I started running again, routes that had always been my easy routes required walking. I've forced myself to struggle thru my runs for the last few years, taking very little joy from my running. In the last few months, I've had the realization that I no longer get into "the zone" while running. I've always been able to lace up my shoes and be in the zone within a few blocks of leaving my house. I think I now understand what non-runners feel when they struggle to get into running - I'm constantly uncomfortable, have to stop to walk a lot, and never get to the point where it is fun anymore. I've tried working around this by keeping the runs short and trying to make them more social, which helps, but still every mile is a slog.
Has anyone else experienced this? If so what has helped?
Thanks in advance for any advice.
not bad for mile 25
Have you had your hemoglobin checked? Anemia could account for your struggle. Is your weight and your diet healthy?
Barring that, it seems like you're on the right track in making your runs social...keeping them short is maybe a good idea. I don't know what you mean by short, but I don't generally find the "zone" until mile 3 or 4.
It's also possible that your impressive 5:43 isn't in the cards for your body anymore. If you're too focused on speed, you may find your running disappointing, but 8, 8:30, 9+ minute miles are perfectly respectable for someone your age (the age I assume you are). Running in new and exceptionally pleasant routes can help a lot as well. And, be patient with yourself. Good luck.
Half Faster Runners 2023
LL makes some good points. Let me toss out a few more...
Are you trying to run at the same paces you were before your surgery or are you allowing yourself to run at a pace that feels comfortable with where you are right now? Have you tried doing some of your runs without your watch and relying entirely on how you feel? Running without a watch can be a challenge of its own. We all know where the miile markers are on our regular routes. We can figure out our distance.
Do you have a goal right now? After being so hyper focused on that mile time for a year, maybe you are a bit lost without something to focus on. I think it's easy to get caught up in the numbers and what we think we "should" be doing. You have to walk sometimes? So what. That's not a big deal and no one is going to take away your shoes because you walked a bit.
Lastly, did you get COVID in the last couple of years? A lot of people had it, some with few symptoms, and it took a beating on some runners' endurance.
Half Fanatic #9292.
Game Admin for RA Running Game 2023.
Trail running. Switch the goal from pace and time to destination, "the top of that hill and back", or "the loop that goes past those waterfalls". Totally makes running fun again.
Cool thing about trail running is that walking is part of it, and usually involves walking up steep hills, which also keeps your heart rate up. And the hills you run up, and down, build leg strength, which translates to speedwork.
60-64 age group - University of Oregon alumni - Irreverent and Annoying
I had a minor surgery which kept me from running for about 3 months. Ever since running has been a total struggle. Initially I chalked it up to being out of shape while recovering from the surgery, but months after I started running again, routes that had always been my easy routes required walking.
I have similar story (hope it helps). I'm now 71 and been running since I was in the Army, multiple marathons and any number of other distance. At age 55, I was training for a marathon and in the "Boston Q" zone, but was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, a fast moving type of cancer so I went in for surgery. Never got to run that marathon. I was out for about 5 months and to be honest, I never got my speed back. Very similar to you, a 5 mile circle I used to run daily and easily at a 9:00 pace, I struggled to run 11:30's.
Long story short, I never got my speed back, but I started training for long run (Ultra's) and found I had the endurance to keep on, but never as fast. MY ADVICE, slow down, take walk breaks and start training for a 50 or 100.... Ultras are more fun than marathons to begin with and the aid station have great food......
Champions are made when no one is watching