Those of you that know me know that I started running to help me cope with the loss of my brother. Over a period of 5 years I trained hard, my first marathon time was a steady 5.15 and my last one, 3.45. Luckily I avoided typical running injuries so I didn't have any reason to stop for long other than the occasional sore Achilles' tendon or winter cold. However an innocuous fall on a skiing holiday changed everything and subsequent surgery to repair my Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in my right knee meant that I would have some considerable time away from doing what I love.
Fantastic support from my physios at Manor Clinic in Sevenoaks High Street enabled me to start running very slowly again after 6 months. I was terrified that I would have lost everything I had worked so hard for and found that this helped me truly understand the fear that those who join SLJ or Oaks Blokes as beginners feel.
However, once I started I found that I was actually able to increase both my speed and distances fairly easily. I was not expecting this given that it took 5 long years when I first started running to get faster but now, following surgery with its inevitable loss of strength and muscle wasting, I was progressing much quicker.
It turns out that I'm not alone. A recent article written by a 1500m runner in Runners World not a similar return to speed after 2 years away from running.
The fact is, this time round I had a much better understanding of what I was trying to achieve, I knew how it felt to push myself hard and what's more important, I understood the difference between needing to stop and wanting to stop, something I regularly talk about when I am coaching on our Complete Beginner course.
My muscles had developed and adapted to running and so even though I'd taken a break from it, they knew what to do when I started again. When we train our muscles to carry out a task they make adaptations to that task and if that task is not performed for a period of time, they adapt more quickly when that task is restarted.
Research done by Norwegian scientists shows that muscle cells have more than one nucleus, strength training means the cells get bigger and more nuclei are added but once you stop training, the nuclei remain, ready to stimulate muscle protein synthesis when you start again.
So the point of all is is to reassure you -
It's not too late to get back to running.
You've done the hard bit once already, you know how to keep warm on a run, you understand that the coaches will look after you and most importantly you know how good it felt when you were fit and strong before?January is a great time to get back out so whether you want to start again as a complete beginner or if Rusty Runners is more your level, why not reserve your space now and let us support you back to fitness in 2016.