Tips & Tricks: How To Get Back Into Running After A Long Break?

How To Get Back Into Running After A Long Break 2023
  • BSX Insight

If you haven’t been running for a while, you might wonder how to get back into running. BSXInsight will give you all tips on how to start running again and gradually increase your mileage in this blog. Let’s get started!

What Exactly Is a Long Break?

The definition of a “long break” can vary from one runner to the next, but in general, any break that spans more than six weeks is considered long. Six weeks is how long it takes to see a significant drop in fitness, strength, and running technique, according to Pete Colagiuri, a sports physiotherapist in Sydney, Australia.

The good news is you can regain fitness fairly quickly once you start running again. However, it may take a bit longer if you are a beginner when you take a break. Experienced runners often find that they can recover more quickly from setbacks than when they first started out.

This is because they have built up a strong fitness base and are better able to handle the physical and mental challenges of running. Even if an experienced runner has a bad race or training session, they will usually be able to bounce back quickly and get back on track.

How To Get Back Into Running After A Long Break?

How to Start Running Again After a Break

Create a Running Plan

If you’re looking to start running again after a break, the key is to ease back into it gradually. You don’t want to jump into things too quickly and risk injuring yourself or getting burned out. 

Instead, create a running plan that gradually builds up your mileage and intensity over time. Start with a few short runs during the week, and then work your way up to longer runs on the weekends. If you stick to this plan, you’ll be back to running regularly in no time.

Start with a Warm-up

Assuming you have taken a break from running, it is important to ease your way back into it. You don’t want to start running again at the same pace and distance as before because you will likely get injured or become very discouraged. 

A good way to ease back into running is by starting with a warm-up. This can be a light jog or even just a walk. Once you have warmed up, you can start running at a slower pace and gradually increase your speed and distance.

Go for Short, Easy Runs

Go for short, easy runs

Go for short, easy runs at first. Gradually increase the distance and intensity of your runs as you start to feel more comfortable. 

Don’t try to do too much too soon – it’ll only set you back. Remember to listen to your body and take things at your own pace. With a little patience and dedication, you’ll be back to running like you never took a break at all.

Try Guided Running

This can help you ease back into the activity and avoid any injuries. There are plenty of apps and websites that offer guided running programs. Just make sure to start slow and listen to your body. If you start to feel pain, stop and rest.

Cross-train on Rest Days

Cross-train on rest days

Cross-training on your rest days is a great way to stay active without putting too much stress on your body. By mixing up your workouts, you can help avoid injury and keep your motivation high. 

Start with some light cardio on your cross-training days, such as biking or swimming, and gradually increase the intensity as you feel ready. Before you know it, you’ll be back to running every day!

Don’t Skip the Cooldown

One of the most important things to do when starting up again is not to skip the cooldown. This is the period of time after your run when your body is cooling down and recovering.

It’s important to give your body this time to recover, as skipping it can lead to injuries. So take it slow at first, and be sure to cool down properly after each run.

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Tips for Restarting Running

Tips for Restarting Running

Invest in Good Running Gear

If you’re looking to restart your running routine, there are a few things you should invest in. First and foremost, make sure you have good quality running shoes. 

They don’t have to be the most expensive ones on the market, but they should provide support and comfort. Additionally, invest in some comfortable running clothes. 

Again, they don’t have to be flashy or expensive, but they should be functional. Finally, consider investing in accessories like a water bottle or a fitness tracker. These can help to make your running experience more enjoyable and motivating.

Try the Run-walk Method

If you’re trying to restart running after a break, the run-walk method can be a helpful way to ease back into it. Alternate walking and running for short periods of time, and gradually increase the amount of time you’re running until you’re able to run for the entire duration of your workout. 

Be sure to listen to your body and take breaks as needed – overdoing it can lead to injuries.

Run With a Partner or Group

Run with a partner or group

If you’re looking for tips on restarting your running routine, one of the best things you can do is to run with a partner or group. Having someone to run with will help keep you motivated and on track and make the whole experience more enjoyable. 

Though, there are a few things to keep in mind when running with a partner or group. First, ensure everyone is on the same page regarding pace and distance. 

It’s also important to be respectful of everyone’s personal space and to not push anyone beyond their comfort level. With these things in mind, running with a partner or group can be a great way to get back into the swing of things.

Focus on Your Running Form

Focus on your running form

To help you restart your running routine in a way that minimizes your risk of injury, focus on your form. First, make sure that you’re striking the ground with your midfoot or forefoot rather than your heel. Second, keep your knees slightly bent as you run, and avoid letting your feet cross over the centerline of your body. 

Finally, be sure to swing your arms back and forth in a relaxed manner, keeping them close to your sides. By following these tips, you’ll help ensure that you have a safe and successful return to running.

Limit Mileage

Many runners who return after injury to running find that they are re-injured by increasing their mileage too fast. This can lead to serious injuries.

Begin slowly. Start with a shorter route you are familiar with. Your running schedule should be conservative. Don’t run for more than one day when you first start running. Between runs, take a rest day, or cross-train.

You will build confidence, endurance, and strength and keep your joints and muscles healthy. Keep your first runs at a conversational pace for 6-8 weeks to establish a solid running foundation. Next, increase your pace slowly, and don’t increase your mileage by more than 10% each week.

If you ran seven miles the day before your break, don’t attempt to run seven more miles immediately after your return. Your muscles may not be ready, and your joints may not be strong enough to handle the effort. You may feel frustrated, defeated, and even hurt.

Join a Running Group

Join a Running Group

Running with friends can help you boost your motivation and provide other great benefits. As you build your running program, you’ll make new friends and find it easier to keep track of your progress. Your runs will be more enjoyable if you have friendly conversations.

Check with your local running club or running shop to find out if they offer group runs. Many local races offer group runs that lead up to the race. A charity training group is also available. You’ll be able to find many people to run with and support a worthy cause all at once.

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Consider a Race

After a few weeks of running, you might be ready to choose a race for easy runs. Before you sign up for a longer race, start with a shorter event, such as a 5K.

A race on your calendar can help you stay motivated as you train. For motivation and fun, you might even consider inviting a friend or family member along to help you run the race.

You might consider setting a different goal if you are simply running for the enjoyment of it. Maybe there’s an off-road trail you want to explore. Perhaps you want to go on a day trip and explore a running trail in a nearby city. Any goal you find inspiring can help you stay motivated and keep you on track.

Accountability

It is a great way to motivate yourself by asking others to hold you accountable for a commitment. Find a partner to help you stay accountable. It will be easier to run if you have a buddy, a running group, or a personal trainer. Sharing your accomplishments with them will make it more fun. Your accountability partners are a support system and not someone who will slap you.

A 4-Week Introduction to Running

Do not allow yourself to get on the treadmill or road if you are desperate. This four-week program of run-walking by Jessica McManus (P.T. ), owner of Full Circle Physical Therapy and Wellness Coaching, will help you rebuild your fitness slowly.

Walking for a few minutes between runs will increase your endurance and reduce the repetitive impact of running. What is the result? Lower chances of injury due to overloading muscles, joints, and tendons.

Three sessions of running/walking per week are the goal. Between each run-walk session, take a break or do cross-training.

Every workout should start with a 10-minute walk or a dynamic warm-up. McManus recommends moving through bodyweight exercises like air squats and walking lunges for a dynamic warm-up.

  • Week 1: Walk 4 minutes, jog 2 minutes; 5 cycles
  • Week 2: Walk 3 minutes, jog 3 minutes; 5 cycles
  • Week 3: Walk 2 minutes, jog 4 minutes; 5 cycles
  • Week 4: Walk 1 minute, jog 5 minutes; 5 cycles

McManus states that the goal is to increase endurance for a complete 30-minute jog within the fourth week. McManus says that you can spend more time accelerating your walk-jog training if necessary.

These few weeks are a time to pay attention to how your body feels. If you feel new pains or an injury, stop running or turn off your running.

It is tempting to rush things if you are trying to lose weight. Jumping ahead with the program will not do any good for your waistline. It may actually do the contrary, increasing your chance of being injured.

Running can be a great way to lose weight, but your time could be better spent on your nutrition, sleep, and recovery. If these big rocks are not in place, all the running you do won’t make it easier to lose weight.

Strength Training for Runners

Strength Training for Runners

You need to have a strong strength training program to get back in the running. This will allow you to run injury-free over the long haul.

Running after a leg injury can be difficult, so strength training is crucial. Even if you have worked with a physical therapist to heal your injury, there is a chance that you have lost significant strength.

At least two days a week, focus on strengthening your strength. Your strength training should be done on days when you are not running.

McManus’ top strength exercises for runners are:

Step-Ups

This single-leg exercise targets both the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius. The Glute max is a powerful, large muscle located in the buttocks and plays an important role in locomotion. The glute med is located on the outside of each hip. It stabilizes your pelvis and allows you to shift your weight from one side to the other.

  • Place one foot on a box or bench. Make sure your knee is on top of your ankle.
  • To straighten your leg, lean forward slightly with your torso and push your planted foot. As you step up, keep your hips straight. Your other foot should be in the air.
  • Slowly and carefully lower your non-working foot to a level that you can control.
  • You can do eight to fifteen reps before switching sides. You should do three sets for each leg.
  • Hold a weight in your hand, opposite your stepping foot, to really work your glutes.
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Lateral Banded Walkings

Another great way to warm up your glutes is with exercise bands

  • Place a small resistance band just above your knees around both legs.
  • Standing with your feet hip-width apart, place your knees in a quarter squat position.
  • Imagine that you are balancing a full glass of water on your head. Step one foot to the side without spilling your imaginary glass of water.
  • After you have planted one foot, move on to the next foot until your feet are again hip-width apart.
  • Before switching directions, take eight to fifteen steps. Three sets are total

Side Planks

Side planks strengthen the abdominal muscles. The rectus abdominis is located in the middle of your torso, and the obliques are on each side. Side planks can also be used to strengthen your glute med.

  • Place your hips and hips on the side of your bed.
  • To draw your legs behind, bend both knees. Your elbow should be pointing down. Make sure your elbow aligns with your shoulder.
  • Keep your hips lifted off the ground and keep it there for between 10-30 seconds.
  • While you hold, keep your body straight from the head to the knees. Do not allow your trunk or shoulders to tilt in either direction.
  • After your time is up, lower yourself to the ground. Repeat the process on the other side. You should do three sets.

FAQs

How to get back into running after covid?

It doesn’t matter if you were injured by COVID-19, an injury to your ankle, or a knee injury. Before you can run again, make sure to see your doctor. Next, spend a few weeks strengthening your muscles.

Then, you can return to running with a run/walk program. You might consider working with a personal trainer or running coach one-on-one. Running can be dangerous, and you should seek out an expert to help you.

How to get back into running after a band injury?

Follow a training schedule that helps you create a new habit and gradually builds to your optimal mileage.

How to get back into running after gaining weight?

It can be daunting to get back into running after taking time off, but returning to running is achievable. Plan your return carefully to avoid overtraining, which can lead to injury and set you back from your goals.

How about getting back into running at 40?

Getting back into running is exciting. The thrill of tying up your laces and heading out the door can be quite intoxicating. Think of the comeback though, as not so much a comeback to how you were five, ten, twenty, or more years ago, but more a comeback into enjoying running.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to restart your running routine, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, invest in good quality running gear. Second, try the run-walk method. And third, focus on your running form. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to a successful return to running.

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