I am a firm believer in taking a solid break around every two or three months when training. Apart from a much needed rest day in a normal week, I feel that taking a 3-5 day break every now and then really benefits me in more ways than one.
For starters, I tend to get bored pretty easily. Whether it is running or BBG or gymming or whatever, after a couple of weeks, exercising seems mundane and I lose my motivation. When I feel like this, I know that it is time to take a quick break. When I wake up on the first day of this break I am so excited. I take my time with my coffee, wash and straighten my hair knowing that I will be able to keep it that way for a couple of days (all of you girls know the struggle of having perfect hair in the morning, only to sweat it up that afternoon). I love having that little bit of extra time in my day that I usually spent training.
I savour these days… and to be honest, I sometimes take them a little bit too seriously. Bread seems to creep into my diet more frequently and I sometimes make the 3-5 day break a 7-day break, which is obviously not the best thing, but I’m only human and bread is delicious. It is very important, though, for these short breaks not to turn into long breaks.
I took one of these breaks while I was in New York at the beginning of April. I ran a half marathon in Brooklyn on the 1st and then felt the need to take a break. I initially planned to take 3 days off, my body really needed the rest physically, but after those 3 days were over I realised that I not only needed to rest my body, but I needed to give myself a break from the routine. So, my 3 day break turned into a 8-day break thanks to travelling for 2 days straight as well. This was a bit to long for my comfort, but I was so ready to start again as soon as I got home.
The only problem with taking a break is getting started again. The hardest part for me is knowing where I was before the break, expecting to be able to run the same distance with ease and then being disappointed that I can barely manage half of the distance the day I start again. I then take a step back and approach this “starting again” differently. Over the years I have learned a few things that helped me get back into my routine as quickly and effectively as possible.
My tips for getting back at it:
1. Forget everything you did or didn’t do when you were taking a break.
If you feel guilty about not training or having a couple of treats, don’t.
2. Start your first day with a walk
The hardest part of getting back at is, is putting on your trainers for the first time. I usually trick myself to get moving by convincing myself that I just have to go for a walk, that’s all. Sometimes I just walk and that’s fine and sometimes my walk turns into a run, which is great.
3. Don’t be too hard on yourself the first week (i.t.o your diet as well as your training)
A start is a start. Rather focus on just getting your body moving instead of trying to perfect your routine.
4. Set new goals
It’s important to set goals beyond just trying to get back to where you were. You need to find something that drives you to train harder than before, that’s part of the beauty of taking a break.
5. Find some kind of motivation that really resonates with you
We all train and exercise for different reasons. Don’t just look at “fitspo” on Instagram, find something deeper, better. Find the inspiration that works for YOU.
6. Find the joy again
Remember that you love this. You love looking after your body. You love feeling free and strong and healthy. I know that I am a completely different person after a run/workout than I was before. I always forget how much I love training, taking a break like this is always needed, but it’s the getting back at it that always makes me remember.
I had to apply these tips to myself 2 weeks ago. Although not being 100% on top of my training just yet, I am getting there.
I am definitely not the perfect health-person or whatever. But, although not being perfect, I actually learned from experience how to get started after stopping (for whatever reason it may have been).
Just start, guys. However small or insignificant the step that you are taking may feel. It’s a step in the right direction.
I started with Kayla Itsines’ BBG program again last week. I decided that I missed it after rereading the post I wrote after finishing the program last year (read the post here).
I guess I was my own inspiration this time haha