Back in the Groove: How to Resume Running after a Move

Today’s Groover is Maggie Palmer, who you might recognize from her AMR column. She, her husband, three kids, one dog, and one cat made an international move three weeks ago, from Portland, Oregon, to the island of St. Maarten. 

*cue ominous music*

When we first approached Maggie about writing about how to resume running after a move, we had zero idea what Irma was about to do to that island paradise. This piece was written during the run-up to the hurricane. 

Maggie and her family are safe and currently in Chicago. She will be telling the full story of her adventure (and how she hopes to get her groove back again) on this Friday’s podcast.

Maggie after one of her first island runs. Her AfterShokz running headphones were one of the few things in the backpack she grabbed as she evacuated!

How did you lose your running groove?

I lost my running groove some time around April, although I got it back here and there. I was running 10 miles almost every Saturday and, during the week, getting in at least 3-5 miles on 4 days. I also was running more half marathons in Portland; I did two in the spring and one in July, which helped me to keep some sense of training when I was feeling overwhelmed with changes on the horizon.

The reason April was a turning point for me was my husband started interviewing for a large job that he really wanted in St Maarten, in the Caribbean. He flew back and forth for an interview. Plus he also happened to be traveling a lot for work in general, including a trip to Japan. With three young kids at home and my own business to run, I was putting myself on the back burner. I was trying to plan ahead for a potential international move, working through the scenarios, and I couldn’t talk to anyone about it because we didn’t want to say anything until he actually had the offer. So when I’d go out for a run, I’d be so distracted thinking about all of the variables: Should we move? Would the kids be happy? Would we have to sell our house in Oregon? What would happen to my consulting business? My mind was running faster than my feet, essentially.

On her balcony, the night before the storm.

How are you working on getting it back?

My husband’s new job has a gym, so I’ve been going there every day and doing the treadmill, because it’s so hot and humid here right now. I also connected with another spouse in the university’s community who moved here from the States and is a marathoner. He has given me a lot of advice about the trails to run and running groups. I have yet to reach out to anyone, however, because we’re all hunkered down for a major hurricane that’s approaching at the moment.

What are three pieces of advice you’d have for anyone in a similar situation?

  1. Be patient. Give yourself time to acclimate to a new environment and new people, new trails, new way of doing things. If you have to stick with the treadmill, that’s okay.
  2. Find your tribe. I think that’s what AMR is all about when you boil it down. Most of us only know one another virtually but that, to me, is still a tribe. I check in online with runners’ groups to feel like I’m part of things — and I am working on finding a running group here as well.
  3. Make it a priority. I try to schedule my runs as if they’re a meeting. So from 9-10 a.m., I’m busy. I try to keep that time for myself. I’ve canceled those meetings before — and I still do if something comes up I can’t get around (for example, the kids are off school for an entire week as we get ready for the hurricane) so I won’t get to the gym much this week most likely. In which case, refer to point 1, and repeat as needed.

If you’re looking to get your groove back with a group of like-minded runners, there’s still time to Stride into the School Year. This five-week program is all about forward motion, fitness, accountability and community, not about training for a specific race. The workouts are one-size-fits-all, whether you’re a walker, run/walker, or runner, and whether you’re just starting to run, coming back to it after a decade off, or just need a little push to get you jump started again.

3 responses to “Back in the Groove: How to Resume Running after a Move

  1. When Maggie is up for it, I’d love to read an update on her & her family. As soon as I listened to her part of the podcast, I came here (and to the FB group) to see if there were any updates. Sending her so much BAMR love!!!

  2. Maggie – I just listen to your Irma story on the podcast. My heart goes out to you and your family in this time of turmoil. I belong to all running women’s running group close to Chicago (Oak Park)- Best Foot Forward on Facebook. We would love to help you get in a run. Watch your kids so you can run or join you in a run. Tell us what you need – running shoes, shirts, bras. You name it. Hope you can find some calm after this hurricane.

  3. Thank you for this timely article! I relocated two months ago from temperate Seattle to hot hot Austin and it’s been an adjustment for sure. I hope the hurricane spared you and am happy to hear you were safely evacuated!

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