How To Start Running Again After A Long Break

Looking to start running again after a long break?

Then you come to the right place.

Life Is a Cruel Mistress!

Consistent running is critical if you want to improve your fitness and health for the long haul.

But, work demands, family commitments, vacations, injury, you name it, can derail even the most motivated runners.

In fact, everyone who’s been on the running path for longer than a year has had to stop running for a while for one reason or the other.

In short, it happens to the best of us.

What matters the most is what you choose to do afterward.

How To Start Running Again After A Long Break

Regardless of what stopped you from running, getting back into it from a an extended hiatus is no walk in the park, I daresay.

But fret no more.

In today’s post, I’ve outlined a guide to help ease back into running without risking injury or losing motivation, regardless of how long you’ve been away.


1. Start with Where You’re At

Whether you have taken an extended layoff from running because of a busy life, lack of motivation, or severe injury, getting back to running can be quite challenging.

So, to ensure a smooth transition, start where you are.

Do not just head out the door and run a 5K—that’s how people get injured and discouraged.

Even if you’ve been cross training—cycling, swimming, weightlifting, or doing other cross training exercises—to maintain your cardiovascular endurance, remember that running is a high impact sport.

In fact, it can take up to weeks, even months, for your muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments to grow strong enough to handle running again.

Action Step

Start with two to three short easy “sessions” per week so that you’re “training” every other day.

Once your first session is over, ask yourself the following:

  • Was it hard?
  • Were you breathing easily and effortlessly?
  • Did you feel any lingering pain?
  • Did it hurt?
  • Did you walk during the session?
  • Etc.

2. Rebuild Your Endurance—The Retraining Phase

As for how much conditioning you lost, there isn’t a fool-proof formula that will tell you the exact number because everyone is different and responds differently to a training stimulus.

This rate, in general, depends on the length of the break, the reason for the layoff (injury, work, vacation, etc.), and your conditioning level before the break.

Here are the general guidelines on how much maximal aerobic capacity is lost after a given break.

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