Taking a break from running has become the norm – an injury, lockdown, or daily responsibilities can force you to abandon your running routine. But since running has proven to bring about benefits for both your body and your mind, it’s essential to bounce back quickly.
Now that the world is getting back to normal, you may be feeling the itch to grab your shoes and go for a run. But how do you do that when you feel rusty and entirely out of shape?
Getting back into running after a layoff or even to start running for beginners can be challenging if you don’t sit down and plan your comeback. Your body feels weak, everything aches, and you feel unmotivated to keep jogging. But don’t give up just yet.
First, review the 3 simple steps from ultramarathon runner Aleksandr Sorokin.
Sorokin currently holds 4 world records, including completing the Centurion Running Track 100, where he broke the 100K run record this year. He also holds the world’s record of completing a 100-mile run in 10 hours 51 minutes, and covering the most distance in 12-hour and 24-hour runs.
Today, he will present strategies that will make your running comeback much easier.
1. Reflect on the reasons why you gave up running
If you wish to get back in shape and start running again, first, you need to be honest with yourself about why you stopped.
Maybe you started running to lose weight but did not see any results and got discouraged. Perhaps what kept you on the sideline was an injury, which is one of the main reasons why runners quit (runners’ knee, anyone?).
Or maybe you stopped because the truth is, running is hard. Everything hurts, especially when you are just getting started. When you run, your body burns around 100 calories per mile, as you’re continuously moving your whole body weight, and this comes with a cost: exhaustion.
Whatever your reasons for stopping running, now it’s time to address them and lace up your shoes. An injury does not have to be the end of your running passion. Instead, as Aleksandr Sorokin claims, “after a simple injury, you can go back to a toned-down version of your running plan after only 1–2 weeks of easy runs.”
2. Don’t be too hard on yourself
We often fail because we set our standards too high right off the bat. Getting back on track can be time-consuming, meaning it may take you a couple of weeks to run as much as you did before (or with the same amount of effort). That’s only natural.
So, keeping your running objectives in tune with your current fitness level is important. Try to be honest with yourself about how much time you’re ready to commit, how high your current energy levels are, and how much endurance you have.
This may be hard if you’re eager to increase your resistance and get back into shape, but you need to do this progressively and smartly. Baby steps are better than no steps.
“A quick but regular jog is better than a longer, more challenging one that leaves you completely exhausted. If you’re returning from a long injury, you may try to walk fast for 20 minutes, 3–4 times a day. Then, you can increase the time you walk until you feel your body is ready to start running again.” – explains Sorokin.
Another way to get back to running smoothly is to increase your mileage every other week, considering the number of days you run. For example, if you decide to run twice a week, you can increase your mileage by two miles every other week.
Remember, you’re not running to break a world record, so don’t push yourself too hard! Instead, use these milestones as a way to stay motivated and inspired. Using an app like Joggo can help you stay focused by giving you daily tips and advice to avoid common mistakes based on behavioral science.
3. Make it impossible not to run
When life gets tough, the first activities we typically abandon are the “unnecessary” ones (which many times are the things we love to do!). Been there, run that.
But if you’re ready to get back into running and you’re not sure how to find the time or the energy to do it, then it’s time to sit down and plan. To build up your running habits, decide when and how you’re going to run… and show up, even if it’s freezing or raining.
And there are other small things you can do to create a new habit.
Leave your shoes by the door to remind yourself this is your running day. Have your outfit always clean and ready to be used (so you don’t have an excuse not to get out of the house!). Also, you can buy a nice water bottle to keep yourself hydrated and healthy while running.
Adding your running sessions to a calendar is also a great idea to remind yourself you need to go training. Joggo provides you with a personalized training plan based on your needs and objectives.
Returning to running can be tough, especially if you feel out of shape after an injury.
Remember to be honest with yourself, take baby steps, and fit jogging into your routine as smoothly as possible. Soon, you’ll be running as if you had never stopped!