With Stress Like Moving, How Much Should I Run?

A big transition can be a huge challenge. Here’s how to deal.


Andrea asks: I began running a few months ago and was progressing well. Then, I moved to another city. This change has created some setbacks. Moving was disruptive, but even more difficult is the fact that I’m now living in a very hilly area. Runs now make me feel weak and discouraged. Should I change up my training plan or do I just struggle through the miles?


Life is never static, so your training plan shouldn’t be either. A running routine can, and should, be adapted to fit your lifestyle and changing needs. So yes, change up your training plan to better meet your current needs.


Moving to a new city is a huge transition and is usually very stressful. Running should not be yet another stressor – it should serve as a stress reliever, not a stress producer.


I suggest cutting back your weekly mileage by about 30 per cent. This is the perfect time to run by “feel” rather than trying to adhere to a set pace and distance. Mileage reduction can be accomplished simply by doing shorter runs or by reducing the number of days per week you run.


For example, run three or four days per week rather than five or six days a week if that’s your current schedule. Running every other day gives you more recovery time between workouts, and this should help you adapt to the tougher terrain, too. It’s not just one or the other – you can opt to cut both distance and frequency if that will help you out.


Consider adding some walk breaks in to your runs, too, as they can help you adapt to your new surroundings. For example, try running for 10 minutes, then walk for 30 to 60 seconds, and then run again.


As you feel yourself adapting to your new situation, gradually increase your weekly volume by adding 10 to 20 per cent to your mileage each week or every other week. Again, you can increase your mileage by running longer or by adding in a run day (or both). The good news is that, in the long “run” (pun intended), this new terrain will make you a stronger runner.


And, be sure to check out running groups in your new locale. Running can be a great way to meet new people, and training partners always help the miles go by faster.



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