How do I get back into running after a long break?

How do I get back into running after a long break?

Getting back into running doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Whether it’s been weeks, years, children or an injury which has held you back, here are 10 steps to ensure a safe and easy return to running. 


1. Make a plan

Set a goal and have a plan of how you’ll get there. Your plan should be achievable and challenging, while making sure you’re finding ways to increase your overall running load in the process. In your first few runs after returning from a long break, give your body the time to re-adjust to the challenges of running. If you’re looking to make running a long term habit, the hardest step is the first! So get out there, put your shoes on and run. 


2. Staying motivated

Goal setting is a great way to restart your running journey, and motivators such as music, friends, an event, a running group or fitness apps all provide an extra boost to keep us moving. Running with others allows you to share experiences and accountability, while enjoying your shared achievement with others. Equally important, it allows us to connect and indulge in caffeine together after a run!


3. Warm up 

Start your runs with a warm up composed of at least a few minutes of dynamic stretching to help boost blood flow to our lungs and legs. Movements such as lunges, high knees, butt kicks, squats, leg swings, toe touches and hip circles are all great dynamic movements to get you ready for your run. These movements are especially enjoyable in winter when we’re warming up our bodies for a run! Try not to hold any position for more than 10-15 seconds (save these for after your run). 


4. Cool down

Try to find time after your runs for a cool down, and the longer your run, the longer your cool down. This is the time for static stretching, foam rolling and gentle massage to the quads, hamstrings, calves, shins and glutes. Experiment with stretching and see what makes you feel more mobile and ready for your next run. 


5. Change up your runs

Variety is the spice of life, and it’s the same with running! Getting back into running after a long break can include runs that are short and fast, up or down hills, long runs, sprints, or a mix of running and walking. A combination of different types of runs allows our bodies to adapt and accommodate to all the conditions of running, while keeping it interesting and challenging. 


6. Utilize your days off

While you’re challenging your body by getting back into running after a long break, it’s important to allow our bodies to rest and recover. Running back-to-back days can often lead to overloading our bodies because we don’t give ourselves time to rest. A day off from training during the week, coupled with 1-2 days of resistance/strength training sessions important to continuing to improve your running performance. Your ability to recover from runs and strength sessions will determine your conditioning and help to reduce the risk of injury. 


7. Fuel your body

The foods and liquids we consume are fuel for our body and its muscles before, during and after our run. A well balanced healthy diet is vital in order to optimize our running performance and allows us to recover better!


8. Gear up 

A new pair of high-quality running shoes can help to improve our running performance, as well as reduce the risk of injuries and niggles. Consider a pair of comfortable socks, shorts, hat or shirt to complement your running (for fashion or for performance). Fitness watches or heart rate monitors are also great tools to help track our running performance when returning from a long break of running. 


9. Listen to your body

Although some aches and pains are normal after a run, any pain higher than a 4/10 that persists for more than 48 hours after your run may warrant a visit to the physio. These pains are often a sign that the body is not coping with what it is being asked to do and is not something to ignore. 


10. Keep positive!

When returning to running after a long break, looking back at some of your past runs and PB’s can feel deflating or frustrating. Don’t be too harsh on yourself, focus on where you’re at now and what your goals are. Celebrate your little wins and enjoy the process as you reach your goals and improve your running slowly and safely. 

running physio glenelg

How do I get back into running after a long break?


How do I get back into running after a few years?

 As you’ve now read, you can get back into running after a long break, although it’s important to be patient, and allow your body the time to adjust. 



Physiotherapy Services for Runners

Did you know we offer a range of Physiotherapy Services to support runners?

Are you having trouble with getting back into running after a long break?

Book in to see one of our Physios at Aspire to be fully assessed, so we can guide you on how to overcome the hurdles you’re facing. If you’re experiencing pain, we can commence treatment immediately to ease your pain. Find out what you specifically need to do to overcome your symptoms. You can book online here.

Read more posts about Running related injuries here