Cape Town, South Africa
Getting back into running after a break

If you are getting running again after a substantial break, you might be a bit unsure as to how far and how often to run. The most difficult part will be being honest with where your fitness currently is at and patient with the process of getting back into your running again. Here are a steps to follow to help you get back to enjoying your running again!:

1. Start where you are, not where you were

You can only build from the floor up. Be honest with where your current fitness level is and then start slightly below that. For example: If what you can currently comfortably manage is running for 20 minutes, then start with 15 minutes and build from there. The reason for this is that you want to build not crash. By taking a small step back you are able to confidently complete the workout without risking injury and you will much sooner be recovered enough to be able to do another workout. What you are after is being able to do another workout, and another and another...until you have built back to where you were. 

2. Rebuild frequency first

Our natural response will be to get back to our previous mileage and pace. However, the fitness improvements required to get there are only possible with consistent training. Your first goal therefore is to get back into a regular routine of injury and illness free running. Running must become a lifestyle again. Once you are back to your old pre-break frequency, from there gradually increase volume and pace. 

3. Five minutes a week 

In the early stages, the five minute rule is a simple practical way to increase the amount you are running. How it works is that you simply add 5 minutes to each workout each week. For example: if this week you did three workouts of 15 minutes each, next week do three workouts of 20 minutes each. I do not specify whether the extra 5 minutes is running, walking or some strength exercises. In the beginning, simply increase the amount of time time you are exercising. Adding exercise time instead of miles allows you to do as much as your body can do for that day in 5 minutes and keeps you progressing at your body's pace not your Strava ego. 

4. Allow your body to dictate the pace of progression

This again comes down to consistency trumping all. If you rush things, you will be risking overtraining, injuries, illness or burnout, all of which will put the brakes on your comeback and send you back to where you started. This again comes down to putting out of mind what you used to be able to do, and building from where you are (and with what your body is currently willing to offer!) 

5. Celebrate now

Instead of constantly trying to "get back to where you were" , focus on celebrating where you are now. You are running again! That in itself is reason to celebrate. And celebrate every step of progress you are making now. Live in the moment, celebrate running, celebrate life, comeback strong!

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