When can I start training again?

When Can I Start Training Again?

It’s been just over 2 weeks since racing in Bozeman, which for some reason is a “timeline” that the running community puts out there as appropriate for everyone to start training again after a big race. I am here to bet a significant amount of money (that I definitely don’t have) that:

  1. 99% of runners do not wait that long to start running again and
  2. This timeline is arbitrary and does not apply to every (or almost any) situation.

Here are a few guidelines I like to use instead when resuming training:

  • ✅ Does running sound appealing to me? Might seem silly – we are runners, of course a run sounds good! But I can say with certainty that my sore legs were not interested in any form of exertion beyond walks with the dog until late the following week.
  • ✅ Do I pass the stair test? Ok so not an official “test”, but a really simple way to get an idea of if your legs are ready for something more. Find a flight of stairs and walk up then back down. If this was overly challenging as compared to a normal day, you likely need more recovery time or to modify your plan.
  • ✅ Have I been getting good sleep? I find that no matter how tired I am, sleep is tough the first few days after a big effort like the marathon. My legs are cramping, I am out of my normal routine, and sometimes it takes a while for adrenaline/emotion to normalize after something I have put so much time and effort into is over. Adding running back into that equation before I am sleeping well is asking for trouble.

There isn’t a hard/fast rule about when you should start running again. You have to be attentive and HONEST with how you are feeling to make that decision and transition successfully – if not, you are setting yourself up for failure. Making the call to start running again when your body is still trying to recover just because you feel like you “need to” or that you “should” be is a great way to end up injured. Feel it out, adjust as needed, and give your body the time it deserves to get back. After all, it did just carry you through that big race or objective you have been working at for months!