Home>Training & Techniques>Tips For Restarting Your Running Routine After A Hiatus

Tips For Restarting Your Running Routine After A Hiatus Tips For Restarting Your Running Routine After A Hiatus

Training & Techniques

Tips For Restarting Your Running Routine After A Hiatus

Written by: Ailyn Garnica

Discover effective training and techniques to restart your running routine after a break. Get expert tips to ease back into running and avoid injury.

(Many of the links in this article redirect to a specific reviewed product. Your purchase of these products through affiliate links helps to generate commission for Therunningadvisor.com, at no extra cost. Learn more)

Table of Contents

Assessing your current fitness level

Before lacing up your running shoes and hitting the pavement, it's crucial to take a step back and assess your current fitness level. This initial evaluation sets the stage for a successful and sustainable return to running after a hiatus. By honestly appraising your physical condition, you can tailor your approach to match your current abilities and avoid potential setbacks.

Understanding Your Baseline

Begin by considering your previous running routine and the reasons for your hiatus. Reflect on the duration of your break and any changes in your overall fitness during this period. It's essential to acknowledge that your body may not be at the same level as when you last engaged in regular running. Factors such as muscle strength, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility may have fluctuated during your time away from the sport.

Physical Assessment

Conduct a basic physical assessment to gauge your current fitness level. This can involve simple exercises to evaluate your strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance. For instance, you can perform a few bodyweight exercises, such as squats, lunges, and planks, to assess your muscular strength and endurance. Additionally, a brisk walk or a short jog can help gauge your cardiovascular fitness and identify any initial challenges.

Listening to Your Body

Pay close attention to how your body responds during these initial assessments. Note any discomfort, fatigue, or limitations you encounter. This self-awareness will guide your approach to restarting your running routine. It's important to be mindful of any signs of overexertion or potential injury, as pushing too hard too soon can impede your progress and lead to setbacks.

Setting Realistic Expectations

Based on your assessment, set realistic expectations for your return to running. Understand that it's normal for your fitness level to have changed during your hiatus, and it may take time to regain your previous form. Embracing a patient and gradual approach will be instrumental in preventing frustration and reducing the risk of overtraining.

By thoroughly assessing your current fitness level, you can lay a solid foundation for your running comeback. This self-awareness will inform your training plan, allowing you to progress at a pace that aligns with your current abilities and minimizes the likelihood of injury. With this mindful approach, you can embark on your running journey with confidence and a clear understanding of your starting point.


Setting realistic goals

Setting realistic goals is a pivotal step in restarting your running routine after a hiatus. It serves as a compass, guiding your progress and shaping your overall experience as you reintegrate running into your life. Realistic goals not only provide direction but also foster a sense of achievement and motivation as you work towards them. Here's how you can approach this crucial aspect of your running comeback:

Reflect on Your Current Abilities

Begin by reflecting on your current physical capabilities and acknowledging any changes that may have occurred during your break from running. Consider factors such as muscle strength, cardiovascular endurance, and overall stamina. By understanding where you currently stand, you can set goals that align with your present fitness level, laying the groundwork for a sustainable and fulfilling running journey.

Embrace Incremental Progress

When setting goals, it's essential to embrace incremental progress. Instead of aiming for monumental achievements right from the start, focus on gradual improvements that reflect your current capacity. This could involve setting targets related to distance, pace, or frequency of runs that are challenging yet attainable based on your current fitness level. Incremental progress not only reduces the risk of overexertion but also instills a sense of accomplishment with each milestone reached.

Consider Both Short-Term and Long-Term Objectives

Incorporate a blend of short-term and long-term goals into your running plan. Short-term goals, such as completing a specific distance without stopping or maintaining a consistent running schedule for a week, provide immediate targets to strive for. Meanwhile, long-term goals, such as participating in a local race or achieving a certain pace over an extended distance, offer a sense of purpose and direction for your ongoing journey.

Factor in Adaptation Period

Recognize that your body needs time to adapt to the demands of running, especially after a hiatus. Setting realistic goals involves acknowledging this adaptation period and allowing for gradual adjustments. It's important to avoid placing undue pressure on yourself and instead focus on steady progress. By factoring in an adaptation period, you can approach your goals with patience and a mindset geared towards sustainable improvement.

Celebrate Achievements Along the Way

As you work towards your goals, take the time to celebrate your achievements along the way. Whether it's completing a challenging run, achieving a personal best, or consistently sticking to your running routine, acknowledging and celebrating these milestones reinforces your commitment and boosts your confidence. Celebrating achievements also serves as a reminder of the progress you've made, motivating you to continue striving towards your goals.

By setting realistic goals that align with your current abilities, embracing incremental progress, and celebrating achievements, you can chart a rewarding and sustainable path as you restart your running routine. These goals serve as beacons of motivation, guiding your efforts and shaping your running journey in a way that is both fulfilling and conducive to long-term success.


Gradually increasing your mileage

Gradually increasing your mileage is a fundamental principle when reintroducing running into your routine after a hiatus. This approach is rooted in the concept of progressive adaptation, allowing your body to acclimate to the physical demands of running while minimizing the risk of overuse injuries. By methodically and incrementally building up your mileage, you can lay a sturdy foundation for long-term progress and performance. Here's a detailed exploration of this essential aspect of restarting your running routine:

Understanding the Importance of Gradual Progression

The human body responds best to gradual changes, especially when it comes to physical activity. As you resume running after a break, it's crucial to respect your body's need for adaptation. Gradually increasing your mileage enables your muscles, tendons, and cardiovascular system to adjust to the increased workload, reducing the likelihood of strain or injury. This deliberate approach also allows for the development of endurance and resilience over time, setting the stage for sustained improvement.

Embracing the 10% Rule

A widely recognized guideline in the running community is the 10% rule, which advocates for increasing your weekly mileage by no more than 10% compared to the previous week. This conservative approach to mileage progression serves as a safeguard against overtraining and excessive strain on your body. By adhering to this rule, you can strike a balance between pushing your limits and providing adequate recovery time, fostering a sustainable and injury-resistant running routine.

Incorporating Recovery Periods

In addition to gradual mileage increments, it's essential to incorporate recovery periods into your training schedule. These periods allow your body to adapt to the increased mileage while minimizing the risk of overuse injuries. By interspersing challenging runs with lighter, recovery-focused sessions, you provide your body with the necessary time to repair and strengthen, optimizing your overall progress and reducing the likelihood of burnout.

Listening to Your Body's Signals

Throughout the process of increasing your mileage, it's imperative to listen to your body's signals and adjust your training accordingly. Pay attention to any signs of fatigue, discomfort, or persistent soreness, as these may indicate the need for a more gradual approach or additional recovery time. By staying attuned to your body's feedback, you can make informed decisions about the pace and intensity of your mileage progression, ultimately promoting a sustainable and injury-free running experience.

Monitoring Progress and Making Adjustments

As you gradually increase your mileage, it's beneficial to monitor your progress and make adjustments based on your body's response. Keep track of your runs, noting how your body feels during and after each session. If you encounter persistent fatigue or signs of overtraining, be prepared to scale back your mileage and reassess your approach. Flexibility and adaptability are key as you navigate the process of mileage progression, allowing you to fine-tune your training plan for optimal results.

By embracing the principle of gradual mileage progression, you can cultivate a sustainable and rewarding running routine. This approach prioritizes the long-term well-being of your body while fostering steady improvement and resilience. With patience, attentiveness, and a commitment to gradual progression, you can pave the way for a fulfilling and enduring return to running.


Incorporating strength training

Incorporating strength training into your running routine can significantly enhance your overall performance, reduce the risk of injuries, and promote long-term physical well-being. While running primarily engages the lower body muscles, strength training targets a broader range of muscle groups, including the core, upper body, and stabilizing muscles. This comprehensive approach contributes to improved running economy, enhanced muscular endurance, and a reduced likelihood of overuse injuries. Here's a detailed exploration of the benefits and strategies for integrating strength training into your running regimen.

Benefits of Strength Training for Runners

  1. Improved Running Economy: Engaging in strength training can enhance your running economy by promoting better muscle recruitment patterns and overall efficiency. Stronger muscles, particularly in the lower body and core, contribute to better posture, stability, and propulsion during running, ultimately leading to improved performance.

  2. Injury Prevention: Strengthening the muscles that support and stabilize your joints can help prevent common running-related injuries, such as IT band syndrome, patellofemoral pain syndrome, and Achilles tendonitis. By addressing muscular imbalances and weaknesses through targeted strength training, you can mitigate the risk of overuse injuries and enhance your resilience as a runner.

  3. Enhanced Power and Speed: Incorporating strength training exercises that focus on explosive power and speed, such as plyometrics and resistance training, can translate to improved sprinting ability and overall speed during runs. These dynamic movements contribute to greater muscle power and coordination, which are valuable assets for runners seeking to boost their performance.

  4. Muscular Endurance: Building muscular endurance through strength training can complement your cardiovascular endurance developed through running. This synergy between muscular and cardiovascular endurance can lead to sustained performance during longer runs and races, as well as improved recovery between training sessions.

Strategies for Effective Strength Training

  1. Targeted Muscle Groups: Focus on exercises that target the major muscle groups involved in running, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, core muscles, and upper body. Incorporate a variety of exercises such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, planks, push-ups, and rows to ensure comprehensive muscular development.

  2. Balanced Approach: Strive for a balanced approach to strength training, addressing both bilateral (two-limbed) and unilateral (single-limbed) exercises to promote symmetry and address potential muscle imbalances. This balanced approach contributes to overall stability and reduces the risk of overuse injuries stemming from muscular asymmetry.

  3. Periodization: Implement a periodized strength training program that aligns with your running schedule. This involves adjusting the intensity and volume of your strength training sessions to complement different phases of your running training, such as base building, speed work, and tapering periods leading up to races.

  4. Recovery and Adaptation: Allow for adequate recovery between strength training sessions to facilitate muscle repair and adaptation. This may involve scheduling strength training sessions on non-running days or strategically integrating them into your overall training plan to optimize recovery and minimize interference with running performance.

By incorporating targeted and purposeful strength training into your running routine, you can unlock a myriad of benefits that extend beyond the confines of running itself. This holistic approach to physical conditioning not only enhances your running performance but also fosters resilience, reduces the risk of injuries, and promotes overall well-being. With a thoughtful and integrated approach to strength training, you can elevate your running experience and lay the groundwork for sustained progress and fulfillment in your running journey.


Listening to your body

Listening to your body is a foundational principle that holds immense significance when restarting your running routine after a hiatus. This practice involves attuning yourself to the subtle cues and signals that your body communicates, allowing you to make informed decisions about your training and overall well-being. By prioritizing this mindful approach, you can navigate the reintroduction of running with heightened awareness, responsiveness, and self-care.

One of the key aspects of listening to your body is acknowledging the sensations and feedback it provides during physical activity. As you embark on your running journey, pay close attention to how your body responds to the demands of running. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, the cadence of your footsteps, and the sensations in your muscles and joints. By tuning into these physical cues, you can gauge your exertion levels and adjust your pace or intensity accordingly, ensuring that you remain within a comfortable and sustainable range.

In addition to physical sensations, listening to your body encompasses an awareness of your mental and emotional state during running. Take note of your mental focus, mood, and overall sense of well-being as you engage in running. Acknowledge any signs of mental fatigue, stress, or distraction, as these factors can influence your running experience and performance. By recognizing and addressing these mental and emotional cues, you can adapt your running approach to align with your holistic well-being, promoting a balanced and fulfilling experience.

Furthermore, listening to your body involves respecting its signals of discomfort or potential injury. If you experience persistent pain, unusual discomfort, or signs of overexertion during running, it's crucial to heed these warnings and take appropriate action. Ignoring such signals can lead to exacerbated injuries and setbacks. Instead, consider modifying your running intensity, duration, or terrain to alleviate strain on affected areas. Additionally, incorporating adequate rest and recovery periods into your training plan allows your body to recuperate and adapt, fostering a sustainable and injury-resistant running routine.

Ultimately, listening to your body empowers you to make informed decisions that prioritize your well-being and long-term progress. By cultivating this mindful awareness, you can tailor your running routine to align with your body's needs, optimize your performance, and reduce the risk of overuse injuries. This practice fosters a harmonious relationship between your physical, mental, and emotional aspects, nurturing a holistic approach to running that is grounded in self-care and responsiveness. As you listen to your body and honor its signals, you pave the way for a sustainable and fulfilling return to running, characterized by attentiveness, adaptability, and a deep connection to your own physical and emotional landscape.


Staying consistent with your routine

Consistency forms the bedrock of a successful and sustainable running routine, especially when reintroducing running after a hiatus. It is the steady and unwavering commitment to regular training that cultivates progress, resilience, and long-term benefits. Embracing consistency involves establishing a structured and manageable running routine that aligns with your lifestyle, goals, and physical capabilities. Here's a detailed exploration of the significance of staying consistent with your running routine and strategies to uphold this essential practice.

The Power of Habit Formation

Consistency in running is closely linked to the formation of habits. By adhering to a regular running schedule, you instill a sense of routine and familiarity that reinforces your commitment to the sport. Over time, this consistent practice becomes ingrained as a habit, making it easier to overcome resistance and maintain momentum in your running journey. Whether it's lacing up your running shoes at a specific time each day or designating set days for your runs, establishing habitual consistency sets the stage for sustained progress and adherence to your training plan.

Mitigating Performance Fluctuations

Consistency in training plays a pivotal role in mitigating performance fluctuations. By adhering to a regular running routine, you provide your body with consistent stimuli and adaptation, fostering incremental improvements in endurance, speed, and overall performance. This steadfast approach minimizes the risk of detraining effects that may occur during periods of inconsistency, ensuring that your progress remains steady and sustainable.

Strategies for Upholding Consistency

To maintain consistency in your running routine, it's essential to implement strategies that support adherence and motivation. These strategies may include:

  • Establishing a Realistic Schedule: Design a running schedule that aligns with your daily commitments and energy levels. Whether it's early morning runs, lunchtime jogs, or evening sessions, choose a time that suits your lifestyle and allows for consistent participation.

  • Setting Short-Term and Long-Term Goals: Define achievable yet challenging goals that provide a sense of purpose and direction in your running journey. These goals serve as motivational anchors, encouraging you to stay consistent in your training to work towards tangible milestones.

  • Accountability and Support: Engage with a running buddy, join a local running group, or seek support from online communities to foster accountability and camaraderie. The encouragement and shared experiences within a supportive network can bolster your commitment to consistent training.

  • Adapting to Life's Flux: Acknowledge that life may present unforeseen challenges and disruptions to your running routine. Embrace adaptability and resilience, allowing for flexibility in your training plan to accommodate unexpected changes while striving to maintain overall consistency.

Cultivating a Mindset of Commitment

Consistency in running is underpinned by a mindset of commitment and dedication. It involves embracing the inherent discipline required to show up for your runs, even on days when motivation wanes. By nurturing a steadfast commitment to your running routine, you reinforce your resilience, determination, and passion for the sport, laying the groundwork for enduring progress and fulfillment.

In essence, staying consistent with your running routine is a cornerstone of success, fostering habit formation, mitigating performance fluctuations, and nurturing a mindset of commitment. By integrating strategies that support consistency and embracing the inherent discipline of regular training, you can cultivate a sustainable and rewarding running routine that aligns with your goals and aspirations.


Finding a running buddy or group

Embarking on a running journey can often feel like a solitary pursuit, but the inclusion of a running buddy or group can significantly enhance the experience and outcomes. The presence of a supportive companion or community not only adds a social dimension to running but also fosters motivation, accountability, and camaraderie. Whether you're returning to running after a hiatus or seeking to invigorate your current routine, finding a running buddy or group can be a transformative decision.

Running alongside a buddy or within a group introduces a dynamic element of companionship and shared experience. The presence of a like-minded individual or a community of fellow runners can infuse your runs with a sense of camaraderie, making each outing a collaborative and uplifting endeavor. The mutual encouragement and shared milestones create a supportive environment that bolsters motivation and reinforces the joy of running as a collective pursuit.

Moreover, the accountability inherent in having a running buddy or group can be a powerful motivator. Knowing that you have committed to meeting a running partner or group at a designated time and place can serve as a compelling incentive to lace up your shoes and hit the pavement, even on days when motivation may wane. This shared commitment fosters a sense of responsibility and dedication, encouraging consistent participation and adherence to your running routine.

In addition to the social and motivational benefits, running with a buddy or group can also provide opportunities for skill development and knowledge exchange. Sharing running tips, training strategies, and experiences with fellow runners can broaden your understanding of the sport and introduce new perspectives that enrich your own running journey. Furthermore, running alongside individuals with varying abilities and experiences can inspire personal growth and foster a spirit of continuous improvement.

Finding a running buddy or group can be facilitated through various channels, including local running clubs, online communities, social media groups, or simply reaching out to friends or acquaintances who share an interest in running. The process of connecting with a running companion or community is an opportunity to expand your social network, forge meaningful connections, and cultivate a supportive environment that elevates your running experience.

In essence, the decision to find a running buddy or group holds the potential to transform your running routine into a vibrant and interconnected pursuit. The infusion of companionship, motivation, and shared experiences can reinvigorate your passion for running, foster consistent participation, and introduce a sense of community that enriches every step of your journey. Whether you're seeking encouragement, accountability, or simply the joy of shared runs, the presence of a running buddy or group can elevate your running experience and contribute to enduring fulfillment in the sport.


Rewarding yourself for progress

Acknowledging and celebrating your progress in restarting your running routine after a hiatus is a vital aspect of maintaining motivation and sustaining long-term commitment to the sport. By incorporating meaningful rewards into your running journey, you can reinforce positive behaviors, cultivate a sense of achievement, and infuse your training with a sense of joy and fulfillment.

Recognizing Milestones

As you progress in your running endeavors, it's essential to recognize and celebrate the milestones you achieve along the way. These milestones can take various forms, such as completing a challenging distance, achieving a personal best in terms of pace or endurance, or consistently adhering to your running schedule for a set period. By acknowledging these milestones, you validate your efforts and dedication, reinforcing the significance of your progress.

Personalized Rewards

When it comes to rewarding yourself for progress, consider personalized incentives that resonate with your interests and aspirations. These rewards can extend beyond material possessions and encompass experiences or activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Whether it's treating yourself to a relaxing massage, indulging in a favorite meal, or allocating time for a leisurely activity you enjoy, personalized rewards create a sense of anticipation and serve as tangible expressions of self-appreciation.

Cultivating Positive Associations

By associating your running progress with meaningful rewards, you cultivate positive associations with the sport and your achievements. This positive reinforcement strengthens your intrinsic motivation, making it more likely that you'll continue to engage in consistent and dedicated training. Over time, the anticipation of rewarding yourself for reaching milestones can become a source of inspiration, driving your ongoing commitment to your running routine.

Encouraging Balance and Well-Being

Incorporating rewards for progress also underscores the importance of balance and well-being in your running journey. By allowing yourself to savor the fruits of your labor, you promote a holistic approach to training that values both the physical and emotional dimensions of your progress. This emphasis on balance fosters a sustainable and fulfilling running routine, where achievements are celebrated and well-being is prioritized.

Fostering a Positive Mindset

The act of rewarding yourself for progress contributes to the cultivation of a positive and resilient mindset. It reinforces the notion that consistent effort and dedication yield meaningful outcomes, instilling a sense of optimism and self-belief. This positive mindset, nurtured through the acknowledgment of progress and the accompanying rewards, becomes a powerful driving force in your running journey, propelling you towards continued growth and accomplishment.

In essence, rewarding yourself for progress in your running routine serves as a catalyst for motivation, resilience, and enduring fulfillment. By recognizing milestones, embracing personalized rewards, and fostering positive associations with your achievements, you infuse your running journey with a sense of purpose and joy. This practice not only celebrates your progress but also reinforces your commitment to the sport, laying the groundwork for sustained enthusiasm and success in your ongoing running endeavors.


Seeking professional guidance if needed

In the pursuit of restarting a running routine after a hiatus, the option to seek professional guidance holds immense value, particularly for individuals navigating unique challenges or seeking to optimize their approach. Professional guidance can encompass the expertise of certified running coaches, sports medicine professionals, physical therapists, and other specialized practitioners who can offer tailored support and insights. The decision to seek professional guidance is rooted in the recognition of the multifaceted nature of running, encompassing physical, biomechanical, and training-related considerations that may benefit from expert input.

Professional guidance becomes especially pertinent when individuals encounter persistent challenges, such as recurring injuries, performance plateaus, or uncertainties about training methodologies. Certified running coaches possess a wealth of knowledge in designing personalized training plans, addressing biomechanical imbalances, and optimizing performance while mitigating the risk of injuries. Their expertise extends beyond prescribing generic training templates, as they can conduct comprehensive assessments, analyze running mechanics, and provide targeted recommendations to enhance an individual's running experience.

Furthermore, sports medicine professionals and physical therapists play a crucial role in addressing injury management, rehabilitation, and preventive strategies. Their specialized knowledge can aid in diagnosing and treating running-related injuries, offering tailored rehabilitation protocols, and imparting valuable insights into injury prevention techniques. By collaborating with these professionals, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of their body's specific needs, fostering a proactive and informed approach to their running routine.

The benefits of seeking professional guidance extend beyond injury management and performance optimization. For individuals returning to running after a prolonged hiatus, professional guidance can serve as a source of reassurance and structured support. Certified professionals can offer guidance on gradual reintegration into running, personalized strength and conditioning programs, and strategies to manage the psychological aspects of resuming a physical activity routine. This holistic approach addresses the multifaceted dimensions of restarting a running routine, encompassing physical, mental, and emotional considerations.

Ultimately, the decision to seek professional guidance reflects a commitment to holistic well-being, informed training practices, and the pursuit of long-term fulfillment in running. By leveraging the expertise of certified professionals, individuals can navigate their running journey with confidence, resilience, and a comprehensive understanding of their unique needs. This collaborative approach fosters a sense of empowerment, equipping individuals with the knowledge and support necessary to thrive in their running pursuits.

Was this page helpful?

Related Post