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Falling Back in Love with Running

I’m currently on a mission to fall back in love with running. I don’t think I’ve truly ENJOYED running in a long time. I’ve continued to still run throughout the past 5 years but have not been able to get close to the positive relationship I used to have with the activity. Running used to be therapeutic to me and my outlet for stress but, since I’ve gotten out of the groove it has been a struggle for me to feel this way again. I have finally decided I need to do something about this and figuring out a plan to get me back into my old passion. 

As a physical therapist at Rose, clients are often telling me about their marathon training and I always envy their love for running. Mostly because I know I felt like that at one point in my life, and it feels like everyone in DC is training for something. Just because I am great at helping people through their struggles during their own race training, doesn’t mean I’m the best at helping myself. 

I know for me my hatred, dramatic I know, for running is because I’m not good at it right now. Running was easy and fun when I felt like I was good at it, when I was fast and had endless endurance. I also know that 95% of my lack of endurance is mental. I can push myself when others force me to run more, I know I can physically do it, it’s my brain that’s stopping me. I have prepared for most of my battle to be psychological and having to tell myself I can do it. 

My action plan to fall back in love with running:

1.     Sign up for a race/set a goal

2.     Pick a training plan that works for me

3.     Do Cross training to prevent injuries and maintain a fun approach

4.     Take care of myself with a good diet, sleep, and hydration

5.     Get help from a physical therapist -- even therapists consult each other about their activity goals because we know how important physical therapy is to our health and well being. A perk of working at Rose is that we can see our fellow therapists for treatment, on the house!

I’ve decided to sign up for a half marathon, which is much longer than I’ve run before. Setting a goal and a reason to train is what I’ve decided I need to hold myself accountable and set goals. I’ve also convinced friends to sign up with me so I have even more reason to hold myself accountable. 

Next step, find the perfect training plan. I know because I feel like most of my obstacle is mental I need a longer training plan to get my head in the game. Starting small with a gradual increase is definitely what I need psychologically and physically! I’ve first hand seen the damage ramping up too quick can do to a body that’s not ready. Choosing a plan that has set days for resistance training and of course rest is key. As a physical therapist I know the importance of cross training and taking good care of your body during training. Making sure to strengthen hips, core and in other planes of motion is key for avoiding injuries. The plan I found also has days for stretching and foam rolling which are must haves in any training plan. 

Last step, taking care of myself. I plan on paying more attention to my diet and holding myself more accountable when it comes to staying hydrated and sleeping properly. There’s no way you can expect your body to perform when you’re not taking care of it or under a lot of stress. Managing life and training is often the hardest part of not burning out. A stressed body is much more prone to injury and will not recover as well during training which can lead to injury. 

I am also very grateful that I happen to work with some of the best physical therapists in the District who are always there to help me. Having friends to be able to work on me and dry needle me when things get tight or painful is always helpful when trying to train safely and maintain fitness. You have to take care of any aches and pains before they become a bigger issue when training for anything. Figuring out why things are hurting or tightening up is key to preventing poor movement patterns. I also plan on getting a running assessment from one of my co workers before I start increasing mileage to make sure I’m not doing anything unusual that could set me up for injury. 

Now that I have a plan, I’m more excited to try to regain my love for running. I am optimistic that I have the tools and knowledge and definitely a great support system at Rose to help me have a more positive training experience.