My friend & fellow running blogger Mark and I had a recent email exchange. As always, his comments are both encouraging and thought-provoking. We talked about...what else...running. But we also got into dealing with my inability to run and how to fill the void that it has left (and might continue to leave for some time).
There's an addiction component to endurance training, or there can be. In my case, there was/is. After more than 5 months of no running (until my recent run/walk sessions), I think I've mostly broken the addiction (and have made my way through the stages of grief, which I've posted about before). With that said, I still love running, and miss it.
What will I do about this (aside from putting on weight...yes, the abs are gone)? I think I have a contingency plan that's simple. And it might work, for the time being, anyway.
I recently started swimming again, after about a 16 year layoff. I swam for awhile during a period of no running back in 1995. Today was my second swim. I'm not fast. I don't have much endurance yet. But I'm actually enjoying it. I like how refreshed I feel afterward.
I also started cycling outdoors again. Thanks to our colder and wetter-than-normal spring (and me being a fair-weather cyclist), I've only got one outdoor ride under my belt, with another coming this week. Those will increase.
I'm still lifting weights three days per week. Pretty heavy weights (for me), actually. I've bulked up considerably in the upper body. When I was running a lot of miles, that's where I'd drop it first. And I'd look pretty darn gaunt and underfed. Not that I want to balloon up now, but it's kind of nice to fill out my shirts for a change.
So, that's the plan in a nutshell. Swimming, cycling, weights...and a little running, when the heel allows, hopefully building back up GRADUALLY the rest of this year. The variety should keep me injury free and strong. When the time comes to shift the focus to running (fingers crossed), I'll at least have plenty of strength and some aerobic fitness to draw from.