Running Fitness: How long till you lose it?

If you haven’t noticed, there hasn’t been a whole lot of running around these parts since I finished the Phoenix Marathon. I’ve been letting my body rest and recuperate, since I put it through quite a bit of training and the toughest race I’ve run to date.

I had a friend ask me recently about running fitness. She’s new to the running scene and was worried that taking a week off because she was sick, dealing with some stress…you know, life, that she’d be screwing herself in terms of her running. I told her not to fret, take the time for her and running will still be there when she’s ready to get back and she’ll be surprised by how little she lost.

But, it got me thinking about my own fitness. If I had to, could I go out and run a marathon this weekend? Probably…if I had to. I just so happened to see this article pop up on my news feed a few days after talking to my friend and thought it was kismet. According to this article, if you’re doing a steady cross-training routine, or substitution to running (such as pool running), you can maintain your running fitness for up to six weeks (based, of course, on your fitness before hand, and how long you’ve been running).

The last time I took serious time off from running was for a hurt foot about 9 months ago. I took six weeks off and coming back was hard. I tried to do some cross-training, but since it was hard to be on my foot, that was pretty limited. It took me about 2-3 weeks before running felt easy and comfortable, and I was able to start upping mileage again.

Anyway, what I guess I’m saying is, don’t fret. If you need to rest, or take some time off, do it. I’ve stressed the importance of rest before, and I’ll do it again. Listen to your body. If your coughing up a lung, don’t go running. It will be there when you get back (running that is, not so sure about your lung if you’re body is hacking it up and you go running anyway…..) That’s the greatest thing to me about running: It will always be there for you when you want/need it.

Taken: during Monday's 6 miler. Beautiful weather and it felt great to be back out there again.

Taken: during Monday’s 6 miler. Beautiful weather and it felt great to be back out there again.

What’s the longest break you’ve taken from running? How was it getting back into it? 


4 thoughts on “Running Fitness: How long till you lose it?

  1. I think I’ve had similar experiences as you have had with time off running. I don’t really notice anything if I take a week off to deal with being sick or busy with life stuff or even being on vacation. I took about 10 weeks off when I had really bad ITBS. I was in physical therapy and swam and rode my bike, but it wasn’t the same. It was rough getting back into things. Between feeling very out of shape and being concerned about causing problems with my leg again, I actually used a modified couch to 5k routine to get back into things. I felt really silly about it, but it was what I needed at the time.


  2. I read that article too. Makes me feel better about random life moments when I have to take the day off or whatever. and weirdly enough, when I came back from my running felt easier and better. It wasn’t hard.
    I didn’t run for like 2 years while I was pregnant and after I had my daughter.but at the time I wasn’t really into running, well not as much as I am now.
    Great post 🙂


  3. I’ve had two injuries that have caused me to take breaks. The first one was a torn ligament in my ankle, and I was off running for 6 months. I got back to it feeling pretty out of shape and frustrated. I later had some bouts of ITBS, where I took off 3 weeks, and I got back to things without too much trouble.


  4. That’s a fantastic picture! The longest I’ve gone without running since I can remember was a six month stint while hospitalized at the age of 25/26. It was rough getting back into it, but I think my craving for a run, and lack of burnout, made it easier.


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