The Boom Bust cycle – and how to avoid it.

Feeling great – getting back into training.

Ouch, pushed a bit hard… Back‘s hurting again.

Feeling great again! Let’s go – NO PAIN NO GAIN!

Damn, back’s gone again….

 Have you ever been there? You feel great, push 110% in the gym, only to find it was a bit much to start with. You need a bit of time off, wait until you feel great again so you can give 110%... And there we go again, pain is back. Your body’s just doomed to be in pain when you train right? No pain, no gain they say.

The boom-bust cycle is used to describe a very common phenomena. We overestimate what our bodies should be able to do, especially after a period of prolonged inactivity or rest. We remember those good old days when we used to run fast, lift heavy and be real-life cape wearing superheroes lifting cars and moving mountains. When we get back into the gym, it feels like that’s exactly what we should be able to do – so we go all in – not realising our bodies need to get some time to adjust back to the loading we are introducing it to.

What will eventually happen if you go all out from the start is the niggling pains, injuries and more time spent resting and feeling like you are falling apart. The truth is though, it doesn’t have to be like that. With a bit of careful planning and patience, you can get back into being the cape-wearing superhero who can run for miles and lift houses. These are my top tips for getting back into training:

  1. Begin small and plan for bigger

Feeling on top of the world, and feeling like you can run 10km no worries?

If you haven’t run for a long time, resist the temptation and begin small. Start with 3km – jog light for 100m, walk for 100m. Gradually build that up to jogging for 3km before increasing the distance further. Have small incremental goals leading to that 10km and feel the mastery of smashing those goals. Having a plan and a strategy here is important. Let’s say you feel like you should be able to run 10km – then this will be your first goal. Resist the temptation to run 10km the first time you run and plan to run 10km in 8-12 weeks down the track. Build yourself a weekly plan with incremental longer distances leading up to 10km.

  1. Enjoy mastering the small goals

Even though a 3km light jog seems like an “easy” goal, remember you are conquering a goal. You are one step further towards reaching that goal of 10km. Enjoy it, you did it! You went for a 3km jog, which is awesome. You are allowed to give yourself a pat on the back and be proud for getting back into it!

  1. Enjoy the training you do

 Don’t enjoy running? That’s fine, there are several other forms of exercise. Find the one you love doing, the one that makes you thrive and puts a smile on your face. Just because you loved running before doesn’t mean you have to love it now. Exercise shouldn’t be daunting, it should be something you look forward to.

Are you just getting back into training, or have you been going at it for a while? Let us know your goals in the comments below.


Photo credit to Brodie Vissers from Burst

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