How to get back into running

Tell me if this has happened to you. Something comes up, so you can’t get out to run. You’re under a deadline at work that cuts out your five-mile training run, or you wake up to an unexpected snowfall and that cancels your plans for a solid run.  After a while, these unexpected events squash all your plans and you lose motivation altogether. Sucks, huh? I know how it is.  

Weather, family and work obligations, and anything else that can get in the way of my marathon training did and will continue to happen. The good news is that you have the power to choose to start back up.  It starts today, but the good news is that it starts gradually. As you complete each workout, you’ll feel energized and will get the motivation to get back into a solid training routine. Here are a few recommendations on how to safely return to where you left off.

Take it slow

Make a plan to at least walk every day and run and walk if you feel up to it.  Listen to your body, don’t do too much too soon, you do not want to risk injury. Your muscles and joints need about two weeks to sync back into the groove of running motion. Getting in too soon too fast may set you back and make it even harder to get back into a solid running routine.

get back into running

Gradual increase

The key to getting back to where you once were is to push yourself just a little bit each week. Not enough to cause lasting pain, but a little pain lets you know you’re getting out of your “comfort zone.”  Try to add 5 minutes to your walk or run/walk a few times a week.  Keep adding the time until you get to 30 minutes of walking or run/walking. Once you get to this point, you can change up your run/walk ratio, taper off the walks and lengthen your run portions, or focus on increasing your run time.

More walking, less running

If your downtime lasted two weeks or more, stretch out your walk portions. For example, if you had been using a run/walk ratio of 3 to 5  minutes running with 1-minute walking, drop it down to a 1:1 ratio, or 1-minute run: 1-minute walk.

Goal setting

A goal is instrumental to get your motivation back.  Make sure that it is a stretch, but also achievable. Start with, “I will run every day for 1 week,”  or something simple along those lines.  Your ultimate goal should be to get your mind back in sync with your body.  Once you’ve got that, there’s no goal you can’t achieve over time.