Coming back to running after a break can be tough, both physically and emotionally. But with a gradual build-up, positivity and patience you can regain your running fitness. In this guide, inov-8 ambassador and running coach, Katerina Townshend, gives you her top tips on starting running again after a long break. Whether you’re returning to running after pregnancy, injury, illness or another reason, Katerina’s tips will help start you off in the right direction.
KATERINA’S 10 TOP TIPS TO GET BACK INTO RUNNING 1. FOLLOW MEDICAL ADVICE If your break was caused by an injury or illness, get clearance from your doctor or physiotherapist that it’s ok to start running again. 2. EASY DOES IT Stick to steady and easy running to begin with. Avoid back-to-back running days until your body has adapted to regular running again. 3. GRADUALLY INCREASE YOUR DISTANCE OVER SEVERAL WEEKS AND MONTHS It might be a good idea to start with a run-walking programme first, this could be discussed with your running coach or a physiotherapist. In any scenario you must start slowly, gradually increasing the distance and the intensity over several weeks or even months. Do not rush this build up time, too much too soon will cause you setbacks. 4. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY AND BE PATIENT Think of realistic short and long-term goals and work towards them. Be kind to yourself. Things may not go to plan - be flexible and adaptive. Also remember we all can give you “the best” advice on what to do, but in the long run it comes down to what your body will allow. 5. DON’T MAKE COMPARISONS TO THE RUNNER YOU WERE BEFORE Look forward and not back – accept that you are a little different for a time being. Concentrate on your perceived effort (RPE). Don’t focus too much on your pacing or heart rate as this can be disheartening if you compare it to where you were before you had a break. 6. INCLUDE CROSS TRAINING Include some cross training in your programme. For example, strength and conditioning, cycling, walking, aqua jogging, swimming, yoga, or Pilates.
7. NO SPEED WORK UNTIL YOU ARE PAIN FREE AND HAVE BUILT A SOLID BASE Make sure you have spent enough time building a base of aerobic fitness with easy running before attempting any speed work. This is because your muscles and connective tissues need time to adapt to a training load again. 8. EVERY WORKOUT IS A VICTORY Celebrate each milestone with a treat (new running shoes are my favourite treat!). 9. TRUST THE PROCESS Focus on the positive steps and celebrate each milestone. Be patient and as consistent as you can. With a sustainable build in training load you will be able to get back to where you were, or even push beyond that! 10. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, STAY POSITIVE! After all this, remember the main thing...you are running again! Enjoy the process of rebuilding your fitness. In my opinion, it’s one of the most rewarding times in your running journey.
*Photos by Dave MacFarlane