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How to Start Running Again

5 Tips for Getting Back to Running After a Long Break

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Updated May 16, 2014

Are you ready to start running again after a long break? Whether you've taken an extended break from running because of an injury, a busy schedule, or lack of motivation, here are some tips on how to ease back into running.

If you've only been sidelined from running for a short period of time, such as a week or two, and don't feel like you should be completely starting over, check out these tips for coming back from a running break.

Join a running group.

Group of friends at evening run, sunset
Uwe Krejci/Digital Vision/Getty Images

If you've typically run alone in the past, try to increase your motivation (and get lots of other great benefits) by running with others. Check with local running clubs or running shops to see when they offer group runs. Or, find a charity training group – you'll find lots of people to run with and help a worthy cause.

Follow a training schedule.

Training schedule
Christine Luff

When you first started running, you may have followed a beginner training schedule to learn how to run and help you stay motivated. Although they have previous running experience, many runners who’ve taken a long break from running find it helpful to follow a beginner schedule so they can establish a regular running habit and avoid getting injured. Here are some beginner schedules you might want to try:

4 Weeks to Run One Mile - for those brand-new to running.
3 Weeks to a 30-Minute Running Habit - for beginners who can run for a minute.
4 Weeks to Run Two Miles - for beginners who can run at least a half mile.
5K Run/Walk Training Schedule - for beginners who can run for 5 minutes at a time.
5K Beginner Runner Training Schedule – if you can run at least one mile.

Cross train to build fitness.

exercisebike.jpg
Blend Images - Dave and Les Jacobs

Cross training in between your running days is a way to increase your endurance and strength without running too much and risking injury. Examples of good cross training activities for runners include swimming, aqua jogging, cycling, strength training, yoga, and Pilates. Choose activities that you enjoy so that you know you'll keep at it.

Avoid doing too much too soon.

Man and Woman walking

If you're not following a schedule, track your mileage so you don't overdo it and get injured. During your first several weeks, don't run two days in a row. Don't increase your overall weekly mileage by more than 10 percent per week. Keep all your runs at an easy, conversational pace for at least 6-8 weeks, until you have a good running base established.

Don't get discouraged.

It can be frustrating to think about your past running accomplishments and how they’re out of reach at this point. Don't beat yourself up and put pressure on yourself to get to your previous level. Set new, smaller goals for yourself so that you feel good about reaching milestones and build more confidence as you continue running. They'll be plenty of time to train and work on beating your PRs. Just try to enjoy running as you work on building up your fitness level gradually and safely.
 

More Running Advice:

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