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How To Start Running Again After A Break
So you have convinced yourself you are ready to start running again. It might have been an injury, couldn’t find the motivation, bad weather, or work has just been killing you that caused you to stop. It can seem like a challenge to get back into the running saddle after being away for a while.
Almost everyone has experienced it at one point in time or another. Having to take time off from running is very common. Time to jump back in and start running again! Be safe and get back to the thing you used to love to do, RUNNING.
Your Body Changes When You Take Time Off From Running
While we wish we could just jump right back in where we left off, the fact is your body changes when you take time off from running. The good news is that if you’ve been training for a long time before your running break, your body will bounce back once you are back into a running routine. If you are a complete beginner, you will experience a much harder time going back to training than people who have been running for years.
Build a Habit Sets You in The Right Direction
Getting back into the groove of running on a regular basis requires habit. Focusing on consistency is the foundation of building a habit. In the beginning, don’t worry about how fast you can run or how far you can go. Instead, simply set small achievable goals that keep you running on a regular basis.
The first week or two back you might set a simple goal to complete two 10 minute runs at an easy pace. If you are more advanced, maybe set a goal of three, two-mile runs. Get a sense of how your body feels as you start running again. Don’t push it too hard the first week. Not to mention you’ll gain confidence and a sense of pride in reaching your new goals. This is a good way to reconnect with your love of running.
Some Tips To Keep In Mind
As you prepare to get moving again, keep this tip in mind; Running is a Journey.
So start small with goals that are easy and manageable. Enjoy the process to make it an adventure you’ll want to stick with.
How To Start Running Again
1. Get a friend to run with you
Planning a weekly run with a friend will help hold you accountable and incorporating running into your normal routine. Look for a partner who can encourage you and keep you going. It will make running less lonely and give you a connection. It is great to have someone to keep you accountable on those days you may not feel like going for your run.
2. Start running at a conversational pace
Keep your pace at a rate that allows you to hold a conversation during this rebuilding period. Think of it as a talk test. You should be able to hold a conversation without needing to pant as you breathe. Of course, this is easier to do if you have a friend to train with. Just a thought (see more below).
3. Write it down and track it
When it comes to goals and routines, it’s beneficial to track your results. It works the same way with Running. Tracking helps reinforce your running habit, especially when you are first getting back into it.
Be as general or meticulous as you want. Whatever fits your personality. Times, distance, warm-ups, stretches. If counting steps and measuring each one is your thing, go for it (just kidding, you may need a counselor).
4. Improve your eating habits
So while we are here, let’s get something out of the way. Since you are returning to running, it is a great time to be mindful of your diet. As you return to running, this can be a great time to give rid of some extra pounds you may have added during your break. Running can burn the fat that you may have put on when you weren’t running, but it’s also a perfect time to clean up your diet. Make good choices with plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in addition to healthy fats and enough protein.
5. Mindset is important
Here is a simple tip; stay positive. You can always find something good in getting started again. Give yourself some grace and keep your vibes positive. Don’t focus on the things that aren’t perfect. Listen to your body and take the time you need to recover.
During your break from running, muscle loss will occur. This is normal and nothing to freak out about. You will get your mojo back and the gains will come when you start working out again. Realize this is part of the process and be okay with it.
6. Pick a race to motivate yourself
One of the best ways to keep yourself running is to find a race to sign up for, pay for the race and put it on your calendar. Even better find a friend to run it with you.
Make sure you allow plenty of time to train for the race. Figure out what distance you want and map out a training plan. Pro-tip, don’t start with 26.2.
7. The run-walk method is great to get started
The Run-Walk Method is a great way for new runners to get started. It was pioneered by Jeff Galloway and consists of predefined intervals for running and walking times. You can pick whatever ratio of walking and run you want. It’s like shampooing your hair; run, walk and repeat. Listen to your body, but don’t forget to push forward to improve your intervals for time and total duration. Also, don’t forget to warm up with 5 minutes of walking before you start your walk-run intervals.
Training Intensity After A Break
- If it has been less than a week, then jump right back in
- If it has been 10 days or more, try to hit the 70% mark before you stopped
- If it has been 30 days, shoot for 60% of your mileage
- If it has been 3 months, 50% is a good target
- If it has been more than 3 months, it’s just like starting new
Don’t forget to schedule plenty of rest days and don’t try to overdo it in the first few weeks.
Cross-training on your off days (from running) can increase your endurance and build strength without risking overuse injury.
Some good cross-training activities for runners include swimming, cycling, walking, strength training, and yoga. You shouldn’t run two days in a row when you’re getting back into running. That doesn’t mean you need to stop completely through. Instead, take an active rest day or cross-train between runs.
Strength Training Is Good
If your running plan doesn’t include strength training, it should. It will make you a better runner and make a difference in your running form. You will be amazed at your overall running results by including some strength training.
Cross-training will not only improve your running, but it helps breaks up your run training. Mentally it can be difficult if feel like you are doing the same thing over and over every day. Strength training also helps with weight loss as an added bonus, so if one of your goals is to shed some pounds, consider strength training.
Final Thoughts When You Start Running Again
As you get back into running, consider joining a running group to help boost your motivation. There are a lot of benefits from running with others. You’ll meet new friends who have similar interests and can help hold you accountable for your running journey. We hope these tips will help you get going again.