If you’ve been out of running for a while, you may be wondering how to get back into it. This guide will give you some tips on how to get back into running and gradually increase your mileage. Let’s get started.
- 1 Tips On How To Get back Into Running After a Long Break
- 2 A 4-Week Introduction to Running
- 3 Strength Training for Runners
- 4 FAQs
Tips On How To Get back Into Running After a Long Break
Build A Habit
It can be difficult to get back on track after a long break. If you’re a runner you have high expectations for your pace and distance.
It’s important that you focus on consistency when you return to running. Do not worry about how fast you run or how far, just set small goals for running every day.
You might, for example, set a goal of running three miles at an easy pace on your first week back. These workouts will help you feel your body when you return to your sport.
Start out by walking slowly or doing short runs/walks. You are still rebuilding your running habits and reconditioning your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This process could take time, depending on how much you have been away from running. You’re still making progress as long as your physical activity is consistent, even if it’s only walking.
You can also take your first few runs to a track, or to a treadmill. This will allow you to stop easily if you feel too tired or in pain. These types of workouts may not be motivating for everyone.
No matter how you begin training again, you will feel proud and accomplished by returning to your sport. You’ll find a way to reconnect with your running passion by setting and achieving small goals.
Follow a Training Schedule
You may have used a beginner training program when you first started running. This was to help you learn the basics of running and keep you motivated. Many runners who have taken a break from running find it useful to stick with a beginner training schedule in order to reestablish their running habits and avoid injury.
Rebuilding Your Endurance
There is no way to know how much conditioning you have lost because everyone responds differently.
The length of the layoff, the reason (injury or vacation), and the rate will all affect the rate. Your conditioning level before the break.
These are some guidelines to help you determine how much maximal aerobic capacity is lost following a break.
- After two weeks, you can lose between 5 and 7 percent of your VO2max.
- After two months, you can lose as much as 20 percent of your VO2max.
- After three months, you can lose 30-50 percent of your VO2max.
Refresh Your Shoes
Get your running shoes on the road again. Karena Wu, the D.P.T. owner of ActiveCare Physical Therapy, says that many people still use their old shoes. This increases the impact force on your muscles and tendons and joints. This added impact can increase your chance of injury or re-injury. You can’t go wrong with a new pair of kicks to get you running.
Cross-training on days you’re not running can help you increase your endurance and strength, without straining your joints or increasing your chance of injury. Cross-training activities that are good for runners include aqua running, swimming, aqua jogging, and other sports. You will be more likely to keep your program consistent if you choose activities that you are passionate about.
Get Enough Rest
Your running schedule should be conservative. When you first start running, don’t run for more than one day. You can take a rest day, or cross-train between runs. A full day of rest is also beneficial for recovery.
For runners, resistance training on rest days is important for rehabilitation and injury prevention. You can strengthen your quads, glutes, and hamstrings to make your legs stronger. Core work and interval training can also help you run better.
You can also stretch on rest days. Perform stretches to release your hip flexors, stretch the quadriceps, and calves in preparation for your run.
You may need to cancel your run or walk if you are experiencing pain. You shouldn’t rely on pain relief to make it through a run.
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. When you first start running, don’t run for more than one day. Between runs, take a rest day, or cross-train.
You will build confidence, endurance, 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 doesn’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
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.
To find out if they offer group runs, check with your local running club or running shop. 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.
Consider a Race
After a few weeks of running, you might be ready to choose a race to run in. 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.
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.
If you are trying to lose weight, it is tempting to rush things. 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
To get back in running, you need to have a strong strength training program. 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:
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.
2. 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 full glass 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
3. 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.
How To Start Running After a Long Break?
It is important to slow down when you return to running after a break. You can rebuild your fitness and strength by running a gradual increase in time. This will not put too much strain on joints, muscles, ligaments, or tendons. To support your running muscles, pair your run-walk sessions up with strength training.
How To Get Back To Running After an Illness or Injury?
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 To Running After Pregnancy?
Get cleared by your doctor. Once your doctor gives you the green light, start a program that focuses primarily on strengthening your core. Once you feel ready, start a run/walk program to ease back into running shape. You should consult a physical therapist who is experienced in postpartum fitness. This is especially important if you are experiencing any abdominal pain, pelvic discomfort, or urinary incontinence (diastasis recti).