As a running coach, I work with a lot of runners who want to start running again after a long break.
Does this sound like you?
…used to run but you took a long break because of a big life change.
…had a baby.
…got really busy at your job.
…had other priorities.
…got busy and life just got in the way.
No matter what the reason is, I’m glad that you are interested in coming back to running again.
Making a return to running isn’t always easy but it is surely worth it!
Be Realistic About What You Can Do
A common myth that I have heard in the running community is after returning to running from a long break, you an pick up right where you left off.
This is a myth!
Here is the fact: After returning to running from a long break, you should ease back into your running routine slowly and carefully to avoid injury.
If you only took a running break for less than 10 days, it is safe to assume that you can pick up where you left off.
After you stop running for 10-14 days you slowly begin to lose cardiorespiratory fitness, conditioning of your muscles and ligaments, and your musculoskelatal system weakens.
The longer you take off, the more fitness you will lose.
Pushing yourself to pick up right where you left off can lead to injury and frustration.
If you take off 3 months or more from running, you should start from scratch when it comes to your training.
Rebuild Your Endurance Slowly Over Time
Depending on how long your running break was, it is highly likely that you lost at least some level of fitness.
It is important that you start back up where you are now rather than where you were before.
Once you determine your current level of fitness, you want to slowly and gradually build your training back up over time.
You want to follow the 10% rule when it comes to adding additional mileage to your training to help prevent injury.
Although it can be tempting, don’t push yourself to take on too much too fast.
Focus On Effort Instead of Pace
When you first return to running after a long break, it can be easy to have your old PR’s in mind and compare your new paces to your old ones.
Maybe you were running marathons years ago and now you can barely run a 5k.
When you first return to running, your easy pace and distance will probably be different than it used to be.
And that is completely normal.
My advice is to focus on effort rather than pace.
Don’t go into it with a certain expectation when it comes to pace.
Try to listen to your body and let your level of effort drive your workout rather than your pace.
After you spend some time building up your consistency, you will have a better idea of what the right pace is for you.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Returning to running after a long break can be hard.
It can be easy to get discouraged.
Depending on how long of a break you took, running can feel a lot harder this time around.
Don’t compare your old times and distances to your new ones.
You’re not the same person you were then and things have changed.
Your level of fitness has changed and that’s okay.
Focus on the stage that you’re at now, not the stage that you used to be at.
With continued discipline and consistency, you can improve your fitness to get back to the place where you were.
Stay focused on the big picture and don’t get discouraged!
How To Start Running Again After A Long Break
You May Also Be Interested In: