The Runner's Post-Holiday, Get-Back-in-Shape 2-Week Transition Plan

 iStockphoto.com

iStockphoto.com

If you're anything like us, this past month or so you've spent less time than usual running and more time than usual squirting whipped cream into your mouth directly from the can. 

Well, put down that can! It's January! Time to Get Back in Shape

Before we do that, though, we must prepare our minds and bodies. They have been relatively dormant for some time—just jumping right back into your pre-holiday routine could be jarring or even dangerous.

To make this transition as safe and smooth as possible, we recommend you follow this two-week Post-Holiday, Get-Back-in-Shape Training Plan. By the time you reach the end, you should be ready to resume your normal training.
 

WEEK 1

Day 1: Stop moping! Pull yourself together.   

Day 2: Ease into things with easy 2- or 3-mile run. Feel betrayed. Yell at legs. 

Day 3: Rest day. Google "How to tell if you're anemic." 

Day 4: Wonder why you're sore, because surely it can't be from that pathetic 2-mile run two days ago. Just a couple of months ago you were doing 2-mile warm-ups, for crying out loud. Head out defiantly for a 3-miler. Wonder if this is what it feels like for a fit person to run at altitude. Pretend you are running at altitude.

Day 5: Watch guy who clearly maintained his usual running routine throughout the holidays running sprightly past your house like some sort of big shot. See if he slips on ice.

Day 6: Easy 3-mile run followed by push-ups. TOTAL BODY FITNESS.

Day 7: Google "Chronic fatigue syndrome." Realize you're really feeling yesterday's push-ups. Nap.
 

WEEK 2

Day 1: Sign up for race three or four months away. That's what you need—a goal. Duh! Order new shoes while you're at it. 

2: Easy 3-mile run followed by frowning at naked self in mirror. VARIATION: Easy 3-mile run followed by Entenmann's Cherry Cheese Danish, which you have earned.

Day 3: Rest.

Day 4: Rest. Yeah, it's two days in a row. But what is two days, really, in the grand scheme of things? The universe is 13.8 billion years old. Billion!  

Day 5: Easy 4-mile run. In shower, think about doing regular "core work" this year, for real this time, like twice a week. Maybe Tuesdays and Fridays.

Day 6: I dunno, cross-train or something.

Day 7: Run 5 miles; gradually realize that you feel... not horrible. Huh. Not only that, but today marks three days in a row that you have exercised. "Pick it up" for the final mile or so. Feel triumphant.

Congratulations—you're back, baby! You may now resume your normal running regimen.