First Post-Vacation Run? It Was Not Pretty.

I ran for the first time in two weeks last night.

Most of my recent runs left me feeling something like this:

Last night’s run, however, left me feeling like this: 

As you may or may not know, I was on vacation last week. Which meant the most strenuous physical activity I engaged in all week was one of the following: daily walks along the coast, wrestling chairs and bags from the condo to the beach and back, or, in the case of our last two days on the beach, fighting against the wind to keep as I attempted to fold up my chair (which is essentially a yoga mat with a bar attached to the back of it … aka the best beach chair EVER … except when it’s windy).

I’ve been back in town for a few days, and Tuesday was my third post-vacation workout, so I had high aspirations for my run, as I’ve been steadily knocking off a few seconds from my mile average time. Granted, I’m well aware that the first week back from vacation usually gravitates somewhere between mediocre and awful. It’s the nature of the body. The fact is, it only takes a week for your body to start moving backward. Muscles start to atrophy. Your cardiac capacity lowers. You may start to feel a little more “squishy.” And what felt good a week ago makes you feel like you’re going to die.

Still don’t think one week (okay, it was really 9 days) makes a huge difference? Here’s the proof. My last run before I left was just under 7 miles in 60 minutes, no walking until cooldown time, heart rate averaging in the 82-88% range. My run last night? Just under 6.25 miles in 60 minutes, with four one-minute walk breaks … which I forced myself to take upon finding my heart rate in the 92-94% range.

Recovery weeks are great. We all need one once in a while. But don’t expect to see the gains from the full recovery and time off right away – give it a week or two, and then you’ll start to see improvements upon where you were before your time off.

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10 thoughts on “First Post-Vacation Run? It Was Not Pretty.

    • It’s amazing how fast the time off catches up to you! Sad thing is it takes twice as long as you were off to get back to where you were before you left!

  1. Are you doing all your runs at such a high intensity? If so, you may benefit from easing back a little. Fast runs are best done in the handful of weeks leading up to an event when you work on speed. Up until then I think you will see greater benefits from doing a more aerobic workout below 80% of your HRR (heart rate reserve). I know it sounds counter-intuitive but you may be pleasantly surprised at the results. Kim*

    http://www.100days100ways.wordpress.com

    • Thanks for the comment! With my teaching schedule, I really only have time for one hard run like this one and one easy run or interval run a week – I don’t know that I could survive going that hard every day (the older I get, the more I feel how hard I push – and not in a good way)! I’m with you, though – I’ve found that the more I vary the intensity of my workouts throughout the week, the better results I tend to see.

  2. I have the next four days off and going to Chicago tomorrow. I crammed all the workouts I could get in the last handful of days! 🙂

    • I’m the same way – try to beat myself up and sort of pay it forward (and earn the time off) when I know the workouts are either not going to happen or going to be significantly shorter or easier than I’m accustomed to. Have a great trip!

    • Thanks – trust me, I felt like I took a month off, not a week! Hope you’re feeling better – poison ivy must be the thing this summer, because I know several people who have been plaged by it in the last month or so!

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