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Ask the Penguin: Taking a Break

Dear Penguin,

I am looking for some insight…is it unusual to take long breaks from running?? Say 4 weeks or more?? I have been feeling guilty for not running like I usually have been for the past 5 years and I am beating myself up for taking an extended break from running.

I am just wondering, since you are a veteran runner…have you taken time off from running for rest and rejuvenation?? Please Help!

Kerrie

It’s not unusual for runners – and all athletes – to take breaks. Think of professional athletes. They have seasons and off-seasons. Both are important. The same is true for us as amateurs.

There’s also a big difference, in my mind, between training and running. Most of us have a tough time training for more than 12 to 18 weeks. Every now and then you might get into a marathon training program that runs 20 weeks or more, but it shouldn’t be often.

When you’re not training it’s the perfect time to just run for fun, or cycle, or swim, or cross-country ski. It doesn’t matter. The key is to do something that keeps your aerobic fitness.

But it may also be that for YOU, taking a specific time off is what you need. I’d have a very specific date on which I was going to start running again. And keep in mind it will take a while for your body to get back into the shape it was in when you quit.

Waddle on,
John

John “the Penguin” Bingham, Competitor Magazine columnist
Author, The Courage to Start, No Need for Speed, Marathoning for Mortals and Running for Mortals.

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Have a question for John? E-mail it to thepenguin@johnbingham.com.