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Top-tips for returning to running after a break

Getting back into running after a long break can be challenging, but we're here to help. Here are our top tips.

Ben avatar
Written by Ben
Updated over a week ago

The contents of our support articles, such as text, videos, images, are for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Check with a doctor in addition to using our support articles and before making any medical decisions.

There isn't a single definition of what a long break is. This is because it will vary from one runner to the next, based on all sorts of factors; ranging from fitness, experience, age, previous injuries and a bunch of other determinants. The general rule of thumb is that a long break is classified as six weeks or longer. Any break that lasts more than six weeks is considered a long break because that’s how long it takes to see a significant drop in fitness, strength, running technique and VO2max. Here are our top tips on how to approach getting back into running following a long break.

Start slow

It is important to ease into running after a long break to avoid injury and burnout. Start by walking for a few minutes, then gradually increase your running time over the course of several weeks. You have to walk before you can run. Once you are ready, you can jump back onto a running plan and start to push yourself. This will come with time. When you’ve been off running for more than six weeks, make sure you’re not increasing your distance or speed by more than 10% from one week to the next or you’ll actually stunt your recovery.

Set small, achievable goals

Setting small, achievable goals can help you stay motivated and on track. For example, you could start by aiming to run for 5 minutes, and then gradually increase your running time as you become more comfortable and fit.

Work on you strength

It's important to start working on your strength at least 2 weeks before you plan on running again. Focus on workouts that best mimic the core components of running. This includes exercises that will help improve your muscle coordination, timing and biomechanics. This will help you to avoid injury or burn out as it will build up strength required in running. (Extra tip: You can add strength workouts to your Runna Plan and focus on this before focusing on running again).

Hit the track or treadmill

If possible, hit the track or treadmill rather than the pavement. This will allow you to walk or run without the worry of being far from home if you struggle on your first outing and need to get back.

Incorporate cross training

Aim to add cross training into your routine, with 2 or 3 workouts a week. This is an effective way to build strength that will boost your performance as a runner.

Invest in comfortable shoes

Investing in a good pair of running shoes can help prevent injury and make running more comfortable. Make sure to choose shoes that fit well and provide the right level of support for your feet.

Find a running buddy

Having a running buddy can be a great way to stay motivated and on track. You can also benefit from the encouragement and support of a friend or family member who is also trying to get back into running.

Mix up your routine

To avoid boredom and burnout, try mixing up your running routine. You can run different routes, try interval training, or even try running in different terrains like trails or the beach.

Listen to your body

It's important to listen to your body and take rest days when you need them. If you're feeling tired or experiencing pain, take a break and let your body recover. Remember, it's important to be patient and persistent when getting back into running after a long break. It's not a race, it's a journey. With time, patience, and persistence, you can regain your fitness and reach your running goals.

Make a comeback with Runna

If you’re building back to running from injury make sure to check our ‘Post Injury Plan’ inside the Runna app and give it your best shot.

We hope these tips help you with your return to running. Don't push it, be patient and results will come.

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