Coffee & Coaching Episode 6: 12 Tips to Get you Back into Running

Episode 6

Title: 12 Tips to Get you Back into Running

Episode Length: 17 min (Can watch the episode or read the blog below)

About the Episode: 

Have you had a break from running recently but you're thinking about making a comeback? You may have been injured, decided to take a break.... or just spent a little too much time on the couch! In this episode we share 12 tips to help you make your return to running.

Watch the Replay 

Or if you don't have time to watch the replay, you can read our summary of what's covered below! 

1. Start slow

  • As much as we would like to be back to our former glory after one training sessions you can’t jump straight back to where you left off…
  • Need to exercise patience and gradually increase the volume and distance over time, you can supplement aerobically challenged sessions with cross training. 

2. Exercises

  • Have you ever been injured, gone to the physio, did your exercises for a few weeks then slack off once you have resumed training again? If you’re returning from an injury don’t start to slack off on your rehab exercises, it's important to continue these to prevent getting injured again. 
  • Handy tip is to incorporate them into your running routine so you do them immediately prior to going out for your run. This also ensures your muscles are active and working before you hit the pavement. 
  • E.G. Before I run (or ride) I do some glute activation exercises that include crab walks and bridges that help to engage my core + glutes. Not only does it help me run better in my session, it helps to prevent any re-injury.

3. Follow a program

  • A program takes the guesswork out of your training and ensures you don't start too hard too soon, you also have more chance of success getting to your goal. 
  • If you’re returning from injury you may have been provided with a program by your health professional - Physio, podiatrist, EP etc. They generally give a basic program out as part of your treatment
  • TriChicks have an 8 week return to running program available that will gradually build up your running if you’re returning from a break. Available now for $47 down from $67. 

4. Comparisons

  • I am obsessed with quotes, one of them is Comparison is the thief of joy. Don’t compare yourself to others and don’t compare yourself to the "old" you. 
  • It can be frustrating seeing people run at paces or run distances you want to be doing, but constantly comparing yourself to where others are at is only going to make you more likely to injure yourself due to increasing your load too quickly. 
  • If comparison is something you struggle with, try temporarily removing yourself from the platforms that allow you to do it, e.g. deleting Strava off you phone for a little bit so it’s harder to see what your training mates are up to. 
  • Another Quote for you: “Don’t compare your chapter one to someone else's chapter 20”
  • This is a time to be totally focused on you. It’s unfair to compare yourself to the old you or to your mates that have been training consistently and haven’t had the break you have. 

5. Muscle memory 

  • It will feel hard AF* to start with but if you have a history in the sport you will snap back into things faster than you did the first time
  • Your body remembers how to run
  • Allow 4 - 6 weeks to really start to feel good again. 

6. Positivity and perspective

  • It’s totally ok to be frustrated at times
  • Remember to celebrate the little wins! E.g. The first time you run 1km, 5km, 10km consistently, the first time you can hold a certain pace for a period of time, the first time running feels comfortable again. 
  • Celebrating the little wins is the fun part of making a comeback to running
  • Be grateful - if you’re coming back from an injury you know what it’s like to not be able to run. So be grateful that you can do it now, even if you’re not quite where you want to be… YET. 

7. Goals

  • Set one major goal and map out milestones along the way you need to achieve to hit that goal
  • At the moment it’s hard to set specific race goals, but the beauty of running is that you can complete a set distance without a scheduled event. 
  • E.g. a good goal to start with might be a 5km run at a specific pace.
  • Given the current climate look for a virtual event or do it yourself. 

8. Walk before you can run  

  • Walking is great preparation for running
  • It is full weight bearing and similar bio-mechanically compared to any other cross training activity 
  • You can start going for some longer distance walks etc before starting running to prepare your body. 

9. Mixing walking with running 

  • Embrace the good old walk/run strategy. 
  • This is how a lot of ‘return to running’ programs are structured
  • Intervals of running mixed with walking recovery 
  • E.g. 30 sec run or 30 sec walk. 

10. Initial goal of returning to running is strengthening your musculoskeletal system, not developing aerobically 

  • This can be frustrating 
  • If you’re not running at a high enough intensity or for long enough to really shoot your heart rate up it can feel like you’re not working out. 
  • Initial runs are about strengthening the musculoskeletal system so it can absorb your training and stay injury free
  • To get that real aerobic workout during this period you need to look to other non weight bearing activities like swimming, cycling etc. 

11. Listen to your body

  • Particularly important if you’re coming back from injury
  • Going any harder than what your program permits is not recommended but if you need to do LESS that’s totally ok!
  • You may need to repeat one of the weeks of your program a few times before progressing again. 
  • Only you can feel how your body is responding so it’s so important to listen to it. 
  • If you skip sessions in your program do not just go and start the next week. Really important when doing injury prevention and return to sport. 

12. A good time to get a running assessment

  • Returning to running can be a good time to focus on adjusting your technique if you need to
  • If you’ve always been told your arms move inefficiently, your posture is a bit odd etc. it’s much easier to change a habit when you’re taking things slowly. 
  • Your return to running is going to involve sessions much shorter than what you used to do… so it’s much easier to try to change some bad habits now while you can focus on it for short periods of time. 
  • I did this when returning from a significant break due to injury last year. At first I was only running for 15 seconds at a time, and I used the gradual build up to try to fix my arms. I hadn’t been able to change them much in the past. 
  • Look for virtual running assessments

Running is a fantastic focus at the moment as it requires no equipment and can be done individually - so it's the perfect isolation activity! 

I hope these 12 tips have inspired you to return to running! 

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