Too often runners jump back in at the level they were during the peak of the training cycle then a few weeks down the road find themselves foot up icing an Achilles, calf or knee injury. When you can start running again, especially after the festive period, plan to start it slowly and gradually build up.
Written by a physio and a trainer this program is designed to get you running to your full potential after a period of rest.
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After an extended time away from running and training, you will find that it takes a few weeks or even months to run comfortably again, it all depends on your level of fitness before your period of rest. When you start running again after a three-week break, you may need to drop some of your "typical pace" and / or mileage. So be realistic about planning your running distances.
When you get back to running after a long break, it's important to work your way back and make sure you don't get injured. get used to running shorter or hold back for a few weeks.
Start small, just a mile or two in a row, take regular walks and gradually increase your mileage as your fitness returns. Listen to your body and slow down when it feels hard, try to spend the first few weeks running without checking your pace. If you feel tired, slow down and walk for a few seconds to catch your breath and recover. For something more structured then you can follow a walk run program. Download yours at the end of this article.
By the end of the third or fourth week, you should be able to run at a pace that matches your typical pace and mileage
Listen to your body not your head.
This is important, especially for those of you, me included, who are competitive by nature. The temptation will be to try and hit a new PB time because our mind has been well rested and wants the euphoric feeling after hard session.
We want to use these early sessions to establish where our fitness level is in order to build on that. It is of more benefit to run 4-5 moderate sessions in a week than smash out one heavy session and spend the next 5 days trying to recover from it.
Find a training partner.
Getting back into running again can be achieved by developing a new habit and this is considerably easier with a training partner as it ensures that things remain varied and interesting. I have always said that the best way to improve your running is to run with others and some of the best friends I have are my running buddies.
When it comes to your recovery, timing is everything, and it starts the moment you “cross the finish line”. You have asked your body to work hard for hours, stopping suddenly, is a literal shock to the system. It will cause the muscles to seize up as the sudden reduction in activity and heart rate will hinder the removal of lactic acid and other waste products. In simple terms, it will lead to really, bad DOMS over the next 48-72hrs. To understand more on how to improve your recovery program and maximise your training read about the golden hour of performance recovery.
Read about the importance of having a good recovery plan.