How to Return to Running
Running breaks happen.
And they’re going to happen for a variety of reasons.
You may take a period of rest after a long training block + big race, you may get injured, or you may become ill.
Most important, you must know that breaks are ok. A break may be just what your mind needs to regain some running motivation. A break may be just what your body needs to stabilize its hormones after a period of very high training load.
Whatever the reason, you must be mindful when returning to training. Here’s how to safely do this.
There are a number of ways to return to running after a break, and this primarily depends on how long of a break you took.
A Break of Less than a Week
If this is the case, you can most likely start almost right back where you left off. It would be advisable to do 2-3 days of shorter and easier runs and then if you’re following a schedule, jump right back in.
A Short Break of 1-2 Weeks
Here you will find a rough running plan to return to training after a 1-2 week period of rest following a long strenuous running event. If you took a short break, this three week schedule can be a good resource to use as a guide.
2-4 Weeks Off
You won’t be able to jump right back into training, but you’ve not lost a great deal of fitness either. Taking 2-4 weeks to ease back into consistent running before jumping into more intense or long sessions will help.
A Longer Period of Non-Running
Look at your return as a fresh start. You basically cannot return to running too conservatively. It’s always best to error towards a conservative return. Start with 10 minutes and no GPS. Every week add a few more minutes, once in a while reduce your weekly volume 25%. Selecting a 5k training schedule to follow can be a nice conservative guide for most athletes.
- Always follow the time-off recommendation of your healthcare professional. Different injuries and illnesses require different break durations for good reason.
- Easy running and patience is the best method. Don’t push the pace or the return.
- Don’t try to make up training.
- Breaks will not ruin your running. There are plenty of examples of elite athletes taking breaks due to injury, pregnancy, or for other reasons, but they come back and surpass their previous level.
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