Would you like to get back into training after a break? There are many reasons for a break. There are time outs due to injuries, e.g. after a meniscus tear, fatigue fracture, inflammation of the plantar tendon, injuries to the foot or knee joint, the Achilles heel, after a herniated disc or the like. Time-outs due to illness, e.g. due to influenza, pneumonia or angina pectoris.
Sometimes, however, overload or simply a lack of time or desire can be the reason for a longer break in sports.
It is good if you have regained motivation and want to get started, because that is usually the beginning. However, to ensure that your return to work goes smoothly, we will help you with a sensible approach.
You won’t believe it, but getting back into running is not that easy. Depending on how long your break was, you will probably be completely at the beginning again and have to slowly get back into it. At first you will feel a lot more clumsy and your condition just isn’t the same anymore. We promise you that with the right training tips and a little determination you will be fit again quickly and have fun.
It is important that you adapt your training and, during the first few runs after the break, find out how your body reacts and whether you can dare to go back to work. You should choose a short route and concentrate on yourself. A soft and joint-friendly surface would be ideal, e.g. forest floor, meadow or tartan track. Start with 200-500 meters and run it easily and preferably without distracting music or running partner. Try alternating between running and walking for this first test. If the test round went smoothly and you did not have any pain or difficulty breathing, you can go back to work. However, if pain occurs again, the training should be stopped immediately and tried again after a while.
As already mentioned, there are different reasons for a forced running or sports break. It is easier to get started after a cold/flu than after a break due to injury.
Start slowly and plan the scale sensibly
It would be wrong to start off with the same scale that you did before your break. The body has to slowly get back to the usual workload be introduced, i.e. depending on the length of the break you should set the following values.
From a 2-week break, start at 70-80%, up to 4 weeks limit yourself to 60-70% and up to three months approx. 30-50% of the usual running scope. Those who have paused for a longer time start again from zero and first try to run again in one go.
Moments of happiness are rare, but with every small success and step try to be patient with them and not to overexert. Try to structure your training and include enough alternative training. Especially with long-term injuries it is important to take breaks from running due to one-sided movements, to counteract the mistakes and to focus more on strength, mobility and stretching.
Don’t make up for missed training sessions
After a long sports break due to illness or injury, many hobby runners want to start at full throttle and even catch up on missed units. Unfortunately, this can end with a follow-up forced break. Just forget what was before and stick to the points mentioned above: start slowly and be patient. If you’ve been down for just a few weeks, you will quickly find your way back to your old shape. If you take longer breaks, it will take longer, but after a few weeks you will be back to what you were before the break. It is important that you pay attention to pain and signals from your body and also react.
Try to bring the fun back
In all honesty, the first few runs may be less fun for you. Try not to let that stop you and find the fun of running again. Enjoy the nature, the fresh air, the free time, the feeling of the comeback and the freedom. After initial difficulties, your run will become rounder, better and smoother over time. You like to shift down a gear every now and then and focus on your strengths. This will help you stay optimistic. It makes sense to set new training stimuli again and again so that there is no boredom.
It is very important that you approach the matter in a positive way. Fears and negative thoughts won’t get you very far. Stay tuned and work on your mindset and change the approach to your training if necessary.
Reduce your ambition
Especially after a break, many runners want to run better, faster and further than before. You should act cautiously here, because this can end in overload and further injuries. If you have been absent for months, you should alternate between running and walking, choose shorter distances and not start straight away with the intensive training units. The rule is a maximum of 10% increase in distance per week and every 4th week plan a recovery week with reduced distance, in which muscles, joints and ligaments can regenerate and strengthen.
Find like-minded people
A suffering shared is a suffering halved and in the group you will find distraction, tips and regularity. Those who run with others do it more regularly and have the chance to exchange ideas. Often uncertainties can be addressed and this can have a positive effect on your further training.
Try other types of sports
In the transition period or also during the injury break (non-illness-related break), stamina can be maintained through another sport. Cycling or swimming are gentle alternatives that you should try. However, you should briefly consult your doctor or orthopedic surgeon.
Don’t make the same mistakes again
Often an injury occurs because we train very one-sided. In the future, you will also focus on alternative and strength training. For endurance, you can also go for Nordic walking or skating, for example, and thus replace one or the other running units. Feel free to try functional training with your own body weight, especially in a group you will be motivated and have fun. Stabilization exercises for the back and knees (e.g. plank and one-legged squats) help you to improve your running technique. A stable middle is an important building block so that legs, torso and arms work together optimally.
Take setbacks calmly
Should you experience one setback or another, stay positive and don’t bury your head in the sand right away. Instead, try to research the causes and learn from them. It will make you stronger.
Be proud of yourself
Forget about the non-running time and time of suffering. Now you should celebrate and enjoy every meter. You should acknowledge not only the big, but also the small successes. Every little step takes you further.
Set smaller and realistic goals for yourself
If you’ve mastered the restart nd are thinking about the next competitions and/or runs, you shouldn’t aim too high. It is better to run successfully over a short distance than to think about the next marathon. But maybe you want to lose weight by running, then be realistic here as well. Finding a healthy balance is critical.
Conclusion on restart
If you follow the tips and rules mentioned above after a forced break, you will soon run the old distances and paces again and get back to your old form.
Keep your patience, do not rush into anything and see the re-entry as an “ongoing” process. If you find that it is good for you and you are making the right decisions for a healthy return to training, you are well on your way. A good training plan can help you with this.