How to start running again after taking a long time off.
Hey, runner. Yes, you’re still a runner even if you’ve taken an extended hiatus from the sport.
We understand that motivation ebbs and flows (especially when dealing with winter in southwestern Ontario). But don’t worry about that for now.
Whether you took a break after having kids, your job got in the way, you were injured, or you’re looking to start a completely new budding relationship with this fun sport, we’ve got you covered.
Here’s what to do if you’re searching for that magical running feeling again after taking an extended break from running.
1. Be patient with yourself
Memories of fun at races past won’t do you any good here. Just like dwelling on an old flame won’t go over very well with your new one, remembering all your past running performances can hinder your progress when returning to the sport.
Sure, remembering the time you accomplished your biggest running goal can be a warm fuzzy memory. Still, it can make where your fitness is at presently discouraging or make your goals seem unattainable for some of you.
It’s better to start with a clean slate and take it easy. You may have run an effortless 5k in the past but need to take some walk breaks now. It’s also how you stay injury-free.
Returning to running might not feel natural but take it one step and one day at a time.
2. Check your form
If something feels off about your run, get it checked out right away. Of course, there will be everyday aches and pains as you get back into it, but you need to learn to listen to what your body is telling you.
Expect some stiffness and some soreness. You’ll be extra tired for the first few weeks (after all, you’re working hard to improve your fitness). But if your feet, shins, knees, or anything else is constantly in pain or feels like it could become seriously injured, you need to stop and get it checked out.
A gait analysis is a great place to start your journey back to running since your form may have changed over the years.
3. Incorporate strength training and core work
“But I just want to run!” Yeah, we know. Trust us. We know.
If you were sidelined because of an injury, you should take this advice more than anyone. Working with a physical therapist or personal trainer specializing in running is a great way to ensure you don’t become injured on your journey back to running.
Strength training and core work are essential in repetitive sports like running. This is especially important because our core muscles are responsible for many of the movements associated with running.
A weak core can lead to overcompensation issues by other muscle groups and repetitive strain injuries like shin splints, plantar fasciitis, or IT band problems.
4. Make sure you have the right gear
We’re not saying you need to go out and buy an entirely new workout wardrobe, but if you haven’t run in a long time or are just starting, chances are your shoes are pretty old.
In general, running shoes should be replaced every 800 km (~500 miles). If you meet your 10,000 step goal (8 km or 5 miles) every day by walking, that means you should be getting new shoes every 100 days or so. This is because as shoes are worn, the foam decompresses, the glue weakens, and the shoe’s structural integrity will not be as strong as it once was.
Your shoes are meant to protect you by providing cushioning and sometimes correcting your form. Old shoes cannot effectively achieve these goals.
Considering the average cost of a pair of running shoes is around $160, this works out to just $1.60 a day for comfortable, injury-free feet!
Plus, there’s just some kind of feeling about a fresh pair of shoes 🤩
5. Use a coach or join a run club
If you have some big goals (or even if you don’t), a running coach/run club can be a great motivator to improve your running fitness.
Feeling alone or not sure where to start? These groups are also a great way to meet like-minded people who love the same sport as you!
It’s totally okay to ask for help, and most coaches and groups are full of charming people that all share the same passion and struggles. Misery loves company, after all. 😉
Are you ready to spark up a running romance this year?
If you’re already a runner and are looking to meet people, improve your performance, or learn more about the sport, we've got the club for you!
For many of our members, running has been a life-changing sport. Club members have met their partners, achieved goals they’d never thought possible, and have transformed their futures.
Let us know which of these tips resonated with you, and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.