Thoughts During Your First Run After 3 Months Off

Running after a hiatus is a mixed bag of emotions

Photo by Emma Simpson on Unsplash

In 2020, I ran my first half-marathon (virtually, of course). Then, I took some well-deserved and much needed time off from running.

This week, thanks to the go-ahead from my doctor after some routine tests for my chronic illness, I set out on my first run in around three months.

As excited as I was to get back out there, I knew it would be difficult to face the loss of fitness I’d incurred over the last several months of walks and yoga only.

I know I’m not the only one who’s had to hustle and struggle through a running comeback, so I thought I’d document a few of the thoughts I had during my inaugural return to the pavement.

Pre-Run Prep

Okay, here we go.

Haven’t done this in a while, but damn it, I ran a half-marathon last year. This shouldn’t be that bad.

Hmm where did I put my knee brace… and why do I feel like it’s in the basement?

These shoes are a little tighter than I remember, but didn’t the guy at the running store say that was a good thing?

Let’s see, just a quick stretch this time, I think.

Where are my headphones?

Has anyone seen my headphones?

Okay, here’s the app I use… and my running playlist… let’s see what I can do.

On The Run

Oh god, I can do nothing.

Why does everything hurt?

Is this how legs work? This cannot be how legs work.

Surely I’ve gone at least half a mile by now, right?

-checks watch- Nope.

Okay, focus on the breathing. It’s all about the breath.

How do you breathe, again?

Stop checking your pace. It’s day one. It’s okay.

Is that my pace? Oh god, I’m so slow!

How much further?

-checks watch again- Is this thing broken?

Ugh, why did I agree to do a 5K to set the baseline, again?

Come on, now, back to the breath. In, out — okay, fine, I’ve got to walk for a sec.

Ugh, why do we live somewhere with this many hills?

Okay, almost there… keep pushing… whew, finally!

Time for a selfie.

Photo by the author, of the author


After the run, my fiancé asked me how I was feeling — if the endorphins had kicked in yet, if I was excited to be back out there.

“It sucked, I suck, everything sucks,” I gasped at him between deep breaths, bemoaning my loss of fitness as I sucked down water and prepared for my post-run stretching routine. Which, admittedly, didn’t feel so routine anymore after such a gap.

An hour or so later, though, the feeling of defeat and sorrow over my lost fitness faded away. I felt energized, thrilled, excited about the start of a new training cycle.

As hard as it is to get back into the groove after a hiatus from running, I am always, always I did. I know that some runs are hard, and it can take some time before one of those magical spurts where everything clicks in to place and running just feels good again. But that run will come, I know it will.

So yes, I’m glad to be back.

Pittsburgh-based writer & wearer of many metaphorical hats. Making words about self, health, books, travel, and more! She/her.

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