How to kick-start your running after taking a break

Struggling to get back into the groove of running? Whether you took a break over the summer holidays (we all deserve a break), you’ve been nursing an injury or work has been crazy with the start of the new year, it’s not as easy to get back into running (or any fitness) as it seems. A lot of people end up feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to start and then put off doing anything. Excuses take far less effort than hitting the routes but don’t worry, we have all been there. We share some guidelines on how to ease back into your running with minimal frustration.

Just Start

Sometimes this is the hardest part and all it takes is making the decision to get into your fitness gear and get going. We have this annoying habit of overthinking things and working them up into big problems that cause anxiety and fear. The only way you can kick start your fitness lifestyle again is by pushing all those silly thoughts away and starting.

Walk before you Run

Once you have made the decision to ‘just start’, remember to take it slow. You aren’t expected to spontaneously transform into an athlete overnight. Be kind to yourself and begin by walking around the neighbourhood- remember to enjoy yourself while you are doing it. Many people try to go all out from the get go and ruin the experience which usually leads to quitting.

Set Realistic Goals

If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. Say that a few times over. It’s important to have some running goals to keep you motivated but keep it relative to your level of fitness. If you are just getting into it, then look for some 5km running events to train towards. You won’t be doing yourself any favours by signing up for a marathon if you are still in the beginner phase. The idea is to create an incentive and keep yourself motivated while also enjoying the journey back to running.

Create a Routine

Life is busy and it’s easy to get caught up with work, kids, commitments and so on but you are more likely to stick to your fitness goals if you create a routine. Find times in the week that are consistently ‘free (if possible)’; some people love training in the early hours of the morning while others are night owls. It’s tough to rearrange an existing routine but if you stick it out, it gets easier and your body will come to expect doing exercise at those times.

Join a Club

Another great way to ensure accountability and instil some routine is to find a running club and sign up. It’s also a way to meet new people, run different routes and it’s safer. It takes some courage to join a new club, but you won’t be the ‘new’ person for long and you’ll be glad you did it.

Mix it Up

Moderation is key. If you get bored of doing the same thing too often then you’re likely to feel less motivated to run every day and may find reasons not to do it. That’s why cross training is a good idea. Mix up your fitness; go to gym classes, play a sport, jump on a bike, swim some laps in the pool, take up Pilates; there are many options to keep your fitness journey interesting.

It’s tough to get back into fitness if you have taken a break and can be daunting. As you can see, these guidelines encourage you to ‘just start’ and work on it slowly but surely. Stay positive because it will take time, consistency and persistence but we know you have what it takes!

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