Hid your running shoes away and now you’re nowhere but would really like to start again? Getting back into the running groove doesn’t always happen as quickly or easily as you’d like it to. Here are some tips to get back out there…
When you start running again, your first run should be an evaluation. Stay relatively close to home on a familiar route, remember to do plenty of stretching before and after your run, and don’t be afraid to walk, stop, or take it slow. Your body needs to adapt to running again – picking up where you left off isn’t going to be immediate, even if you left off at the finish line of a marathon or half-marathon
If you’re transitioning from running on the treadmill to running outside, it’s going to feel more difficult and can be especially hard on your knees. Plan your route to avoid big uphills or downhills when starting up again. If your body isn’t accustomed to it, running at a steep decline can cause micro-tears in your quad muscles, and your knees will stiffen up. Try to balance the uphills and downhills, or pick a relatively flat route to begin.
Check Your Shoes
One of the first steps in resuming your running routine is to check your running shoes. For those who haven’t been running for a while, putting on your old running can actually be detrimental to your body. With time, the cushioning breaks down, stiffens and hardens, and your shoes will no longer provide the support your body needs.
Those who run regularly should aim to replace their shoes every six months. Running outside also speeds the wear and tear on your shoes compared to running on the treadmill. Your old shoes don’t need to go right to the trash; you can save them for shorter runs during messy conditions.
As you begin running again, it’s common to start sweating more than usual. To prevent dehydration, it’s important to hydrate both before and after running and it’s smart to have the option to hydrate during your run. Even if you wouldn’t normally bring a drink for a 45-minute run, it’s recommended to bring a handheld bottle – or a few rand to stop for a drink along the way.
Set a Goal
Having a goal is crucial to getting back into your running routine. Picking a race to train for or joining a running club or a relay team are great ways to get motivated. Whether it’s a 5K, 10K, half-marathon or even a marathon in your future, make a running calendar to help plan these goals and stay on track. It’s important to give yourself enough time to train so you don’t feel rushed, but don’t plan too far ahead so you lose sight of what you’re working toward.