Bouncing Back

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I was over the moon when the doctor gave me the green light to start training again, having not been able to run for almost a year because of my hip surgery and then pregnancy. What I missed most during my pregnancy was… well, you guessed it…. running! Even more than I missed sushi, or a glass of wine. And I really love my sushi and wine! – BY RENÉ KALMER

At the time of writing, I have been training for three weeks, and that is all thanks to my friend Karen. A month ago she sent me the following message: “Time to get fit again! When are we jogging?” I ignored her at first, but a week later she sent me another message: “Are you up for a jog or two this week, my friend? No pressure, though!” I realised this was the perfect way to start getting back into a routine and make a comeback, as having a training buddy is a great form of motivation. It is much harder to skip a workout when you know you have a ‘ date.’

Luckily, Andre is more than happy to baby-sit at 5:30 in the morning, as he went into early hibernation after he “forgot” to train for Comrades this year. Most mornings father and daughter are still fast asleep when I get back from my run, with Karli’ s bottle still on the bedside table.

Mixing it Up
Even though Karen and I are highly motivated, we don’ t want to overdo it and risk injury. We jog every second day, and in between we mix up our training with sessions on the ElliptiGO, Wattbike or in the pool. This way the training stays fun and interesting. We are also very cautious not to increase pace and distance dramatically, and this is where a training logbook comes in handy. Keeping a journal/logbook of your runs is a great training tool. That way, whenever your motivation is a bit down, you can look back and be encouraged by how far you’ve come.

I’ m relieved that there is no big event on the near horizon, like an Olympic Games, that I need to rush my comeback for. Instead I can do it on my own terms… or Karli’ s terms. If she keeps us awake at night, I will reschedule my run, while grandma is babysitting. I always wondered who trains at midday, but now I know. And if I feel a niggle, I cut my workout short and walk back home. Even though this is frustrating, there is no use running through a niggle and potentially making it worse. Unfortunately, I had to learn this the hard way with my hip.

Going for Goals
Whatever your fitness level, setting a realistic goal is useful to stay motivated. At the recent launch of the Pretoria leg of the Spar Ladies’ Series, I committed myself to be in shape to race competitively again, which gives me three months to get rid of the preggy-belly and into my racing shoes again. So bring on the 5th of August!

For now, it is just really great being back on the road again, and sometimes you just have to stop for a minute and appreciate the small things that you have accomplished in your training. My small victories for now are being back on the road, and earning Vitality Active Rewards again, so I don’ t have to pay for my Kauai smoothies! And even though it is winter, I really look forward to the next steps of my journey back to competitive running. The struggle is real, but it hurts so good!

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