9 Ways To Start Running Again

How to Return to Running After a Long Break

Runners are known to go the extra mile. Even the most hardworking jogger requires a rest occasionally.

A break from running can be beneficial in some circumstances, such as treating an injury, getting over an ailment, or regaining the enthusiasm for running. Once you’re ready, it may not be obvious what you should do to start running again. Read on to find out.

What Exactly Is a Long Break

What one runner regards as a “long break” could be different from what another runner thinks of as a “long break.” For the most part, any recess that is longer than six weeks is thought of as a lengthy period.

It will take approximately six weeks for a considerable reduction in exercise capacity, strength, and running form, as stated by Pete Colagiuri, a sports physical therapist in Sydney, Australia. It is possible to get back into good shape quickly when you begin running again. It could take more time if you had just been starting out when you took a pause. Experienced runners tend to bounce back faster.

The 4-Week Reintroduction To a Running Program

It would be wise to refrain from throwing yourself fully into exercising again after a break. Instead of a sudden, drastic fitness revival, Jessica McManus, P.T., owner of Full Circle Physical Therapy and Wellness Coaching, recommends a slower, more gradual approach with a four-week running-walking program. Incorporating periods of walking into your runs will help improve your stamina while also allowing you to become more used to the continually impacting forces that come with running. The result? Decreasing the chances of being hurt due to straining muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments. Aim for three run-walk sessions per week. Take a rest or cross-training day in between each. Begin each exercise session with either 10 minutes of walking or an active warm-up drill or a mixture of the two. McManus proposes that one should use exercises like air squats, walking lunges, butt kicks, and carioca movements for activation of the body before exercising.

For the first week of the exercise regimen, alternate between walking for four minutes and jogging for two minutes five times.

Walk for three minutes, then jog for three minutes; repeat this cycle five times.

Walk for two minutes, and then jog for four minutes; repeat this sequence five times.

For Week 4 of the activity, walk for a minute, then jog for five minutes. Repeat this cycle five times.

McManus states that the target is to be able to jog for a full half hour by the conclusion of the fourth week. Go ahead and take as much time as is needed to work up to the walk-jog workouts. Be mindful of your emotions over the coming weeks. If you have had previous injuries or you start to feel new pain, it is best for you to either reduce your running or take a break from it completely. You may feel inclined to increase the intensity of your workout if you are trying to lose weight. Progressing too quickly through the program will not be beneficial to your waist size. It could actually turn out to have a reverse effect, raising the likelihood of you being injured and thus unable to participate. When it comes to losing weight, exercise such as running can be helpful, however, you may get better results if you focus on managing your eating habits, making sure that you get adequate rest and making sure you give your body time to rest between workouts. No matter how much you exercise, if these large rocks are not in the right spot, you won’t be able to lose any weight.

Strength Training for Runners

Constructing a well-defined strength training regimen is necessary to return to running and stay injury-free over the long term. Strength conditioning is incredibly crucial for runners that have just suffered from damage to their legs. Even though you may have had physiotherapy sessions to help you recover from an injury, you have likely lost a considerable amount of strength. Concentrate on reconditioning your strength at least twice every week. Do your strength workouts on non-running days. A few of McManus’ favourite strength exercises for runners include:

1. Step-Ups

This exercise works the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius on one side of the body. The gluteus maximus is a large, powerful muscle located in the buttocks, and it is key in the process of movement.

At the same time, the glute med travels up the outer side of each hip joint and provides stability while you change your body weight from one leg to the other.

Plant one foot on a sturdy bench or box. Make sure your knee is in line with your ankle.

Bend your trunk slightly forward and use your placed feet for leverage to extend your leg. Maintain your hip position even as you take a step higher. Allow your other foot to hover in the air.

Bring your non-functional leg to the ground gradually and with caution.

Do eight to 15 reps before switching legs. Do a total of three sets per leg.

Grab a weight with the hand on the same side as the leg you are stepping with to really target your glute med.

2. Lateral Banded Walks

This activity involving resistance bands is an excellent approach to warming up the gluteus medius.

Wrapping a thin resistance band around the legs slightly higher than the knees.

Position your feet so that they are shoulder-width apart and lower your body into a squat position so that your knees are at a ninety-degree angle.

Envision holding a filled cup of water atop your head. Move one foot away while keeping the pretend cup of water from spilling.

After placing your first foot in position, move the other foot so that your feet are shoulder-width apart.

Take eight to 15 steps before switching directions. Do three sets total.

3. Side Planks

Side planks work the abdominal muscles. The main abdominal muscles are located in the middle of the body – the rectus abdominis – and the obliques are found on either side of the torso. However, side planks will also strengthen your glute med.

Recline on your side with your feet outstretched and your upper and lower body in a straight line.

Bend both knees to draw your legs behind you. Raise the upper portion of your body on your lower arm, supporting it with both your forearm and hand flat on the ground. Ensure that your elbow is aligned with your lower shoulder.

Raise your hips away from the ground and keep them in that position for 10-30 seconds.

Maintain your body in an upright position from your head to your knees when grasping. Do not hunch your shoulders forward or arch your back backwards.

Once your allotted time is finished, bring your hips down to the ground. Repeat on the opposite side. Do three sets total.

Expert Tips for Returning To Running After a Long Break

1. Start with Strength Training

“It’s worth starting a running-focused strength program at least two weeks before returning to running whenever possible,” Colagiuri says.

Strength training
can help build up the muscles you need to run efficiently and injury-free. This can help both beginners and more experienced runners.

2. Rebuild Slowly
You won’t be able to hit your pre-break pace and mileage right away — and that’s okay. Just because you’re motivated for a triumphant return to the race schedule doesn’t mean your muscles, tendons and ligaments are.

“The key is not to get discouraged with the process because if you try to build back too quickly, an injury could occur,” says exercise physiologist Todd Buckingham, PhD. So, instead of jumping into a

half-marathon or marathon training
plan, you may want to start with a couch-to-5K.

3. Refresh Your Shoes
Kick off your return with a new pair of running shoes.
“Often, people use their old pair, and they don’t realize how worn down and little cushioning they offer, which increases the impact forces on your muscles, tendons, and joints,” says Karena Wu, D.P.T., owner of
 ActiveCare Physical Therapy. That added impact can increase your risk of injury or re-injury. Plus, there’s nothing like a fresh pair of kicks to motivate you to run.

4. Build a Habit

It can be difficult to become accustomed to running again after taking a lengthy pause. For the average runner, there are expectations of themselves regarding how quickly they can run, as well as how far they can go.

When beginning your running routine again, it is essential to prioritize steadiness over everything else. Don’t stress over how briskly or the amount you can cover in a single run, just establish modest objectives to make sure you’re running regularly.

An example would be in your initial week or two, you could aim to do two 3-mile runs at a controlled speed. These exercises will provide you with an idea of how your body responds as you come back to your sport.

You could begin with a brisk pace of walking or alternatively try alternate runs and walks. Take into account that you are in the process of reviving your custom of jogging and strengthening the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and interconnecting tissues in your legs.

It might take a while depending on the duration of your absence from your running regimen. As long as you are making time for physical activity, even if it is only a walk, you are still moving forward.

You could also try taking your first couple of jogs on a running track or a treadmill, so you will be able to stop more quickly in the event of any pain or if you become too out of breath. The effectiveness of this type of exercise routine varies; some individuals may find them inspiring, but others may not. Ultimately, it is all up to the individual in discovering what kind of workout works best.

No matter what way you choose to resume exercising, you will have a feeling of satisfaction and pride from recommitting to your chosen activity. As you accomplish smaller objectives, you’ll recover your enthusiasm for running without taking a chance on hurting yourself or becoming exhausted.


5. Follow a Training Schedule

When you began running, you likely utilized a starter program to help you understand the basics of running and to stay encouraged.

Those who are resuming running after an extended pause may find it beneficial to use a noob training regimen to aid in establishing the running habit again and to avoid injury. Consider these options:

  • 4 Weeks to Run One Mile
  • 3 Weeks to a 30-Minute Running Habit
  • 4 Weeks to Run Two Miles
  • 8 Weeks to Run a 5K


6. Cross Train

If you incorporate different types of exercise on days not devoted to running, you will be able to enhance your endurance and raise your strength with no danger of overworking your joints or setting yourself up for an injury.

Examples of beneficial exercises for runners are swimming, aqua jogging, biking, strolling, bodybuilding, yoga, and Pilates. Pick activities that you have fun doing so that your routine is constantly the same.

If you’ve done other kinds of exercise during your break from running, that should help you return to running; don’t quit. Set up your exercise plan so it includes both.


7. Get Enough Rest

Be conservative with your running schedule. Avoid exercising for consecutive days when beginning an exercise routine. Take an active rest day or cross-train between runs. Taking a whole day off can be advantageous for recovering.

Strength training on inactive days is important for healing as well as halting injury, mainly for joggers.

Focusing on your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves can ready your legs for a long run, and incorporating special exercises for your core into your routine can ensure that your form stays correct when you’re running.

Stretching can also be beneficial when taking a day off exercise—do stretches that target the muscles in the front of the hips, moving your legs to both get ready for and recover from your runs.

If the pain is bothering you on a day when you are planning to go jogging, you may need to skip the activity or just take a walk instead. It is usually not wise to count on taking painkillers to help you make it through a jog.


8. Limit Mileage

Runners who have gotten injured and are trying to come back can often be hurt again if they increase their mileage quickly. Even if there was no injury, it’s not a good idea to jump back into the exact same running patterns after taking a hiatus from the sport.

Start slowly. Start off with a short run that should be easy to complete. Be conservative with your running schedule. When beginning, do not attempt to go jogging on consecutive days. Take an active rest day or cross-train between runs.

Gain assurance, stamina, and muscle while sustaining the well-being of your muscles and joints.

Go out running at a moderate and comfortable speed that you can easily talk while doing it for six to eight weeks until you have built a solid foundation in running. Accelerate gradually, and only increase the total amount of miles you run per week by up to 10%.

For instance, don’t try to go straight back to running seven miles a day if you were doing that before taking a break.

Your muscles may be unprepared, in addition to your joints possibly not being able to handle the strain and your mental strength may be too weak to handle the task. This could lead to a feeling of discouragement and failure, and possibly even bodily harm.

9. Join a Running Group

As you reinitiate your running routine, running with other people may help to raise your enthusiasm and offer some nice extra advantages. You’ll make acquaintances who can assist you in staying on track as you build your regimen back up and your jogs may be more pleasurable with cheerful chats.

Find out from local running clubs or running stores what times they provide group runs. In certain areas, running clubs hold track events before a competition. You might want to look into a charitable running group—by joining, you will be able to gain some running companions and also aid a beneficial purpose.

Side notes

It is relatively simple to get back into running if you have only taken a brief pause, like a week or two. If you haven’t been running for a while, it’s important to get back into your exercise routine gradually to help prevent injuries and disappointment.

It is important to make sure you are free from pain before beginning to run again if you have taken a pause from it due to an injury.

Begin gradually and incorporate strength exercises into your routine – research demonstrates that weight training for runners can help aid in recovery and avoid further harm.

You may want to discuss with your medical professional or physical therapist how serious your injury is and if it is appropriate for you to begin running again. They should be able to give you tailored advice on how much and how often to jog.


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