When I was sick earlier this summer, I had to take 6 weeks off from running–the longest break I’ve taken in years. I was concerned about how soon I could get back into shape, but happily, within two weeks I was back to running 60-70 minutes comfortably.
Runners often talk about building a base. By running a minimum distance every week, your body makes adaptations and the long distances eventually feel less long. When you take time off, it’s easier to get back to running long distances again than it would be for a new runner because you’ve already taught your body some important things about running. Things like: no, we’re not stopping, so quit grumbling and get on with it and yes, you can make it up that hill because you have before.
Each run makes the base a little stronger, a little deeper. Over the years, all those miles create a sort of long-term physical memory. Aerobic conditioning is a big part of being able to run for an hour or two or four, but the act of having done it before is the difference between this will be hard and this is impossible.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
I used to think this meant that surviving difficult things makes you tougher. Which it does. But tougher is not the only way to be stronger.
Surviving difficult things makes you fear less.
Not fearless, but less fearful. Continue reading Building a Base