Grief on the run


My return to running this spring has been similar to the critical stages of grief: denial, pain, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Shock and denial

This is typically where emotions are the most profound. It is during this stage that denying the loss of cardiovascular fitness is at an all-time high. Denial quickly turns into shock. Was 5K always this far?

Pain and guilt

Once the shock wears off, pain sets in. Searing lungs. Feet that are a bit overtired. Tight hip flexors. Self-reproach.

Anger and bargaining

During this stage, the grieving person generally begins to reflect on the loss. Reality begins to set in. Bargaining begins. This is a rough phase – best shared with people who are more fit than you are, to help you get through it.

Depression and reflection

Determined to set the terms for my return to running (and lacking any semblance of patience), I skipped the depression stage and moved directly from anger to acceptance.

Acceptance and hope

Accepting a loss does not mean you simply get over it. Rather, it represents an ability to accept what has happened, reflect upon the good times, put the loss in the rear-view mirror and set new goals. I am not as fit as I once was, nor as unfit as I was before that. I am at another starting place, and that’s where I’ll start from today. Today I will again slip into my favourite pair of Skechers running shoes. I will choose one of my well-trod routes on which to get lost. There is nothing like a beautiful spring run to help you work through the stages of fitness-grief.

Outside the zone

No matter how far, no matter how fast. Embrace the grief. Embrace the run. That’s where your soul will grow… outside your comfort zone.


More from this author by clicking on her photo below.

Cathy Bergman


Cathy Bergman76 Posts

Cathy Bergman est devenue athlète de façon inopinée à un âge relativement avancé. Elle nous montre qu’il n'est jamais trop tard pour retrouver la santé et la forme. Cathy Bergman is an accidental athlete who found health and fitness late in life. She shows us that is never too late to get healthy and fit.

A treetop trail trek

Get lost

Overcoming obstacles


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