27 Jul Starting To Run Again After A Long Break
Alright ladies, fess up… who has fallen off the wagon on their running journey? I bet I am not the only one here. It can be really hard to keep up your exercise habits once you finish a structured programme and there is no one ‘keeping an eye on you’ any more. Life happens. The cold weather rolls in, babies arrive, things get busy. It doesn’t matter what the reason is, you can get back into it. But, you have to do it the right way.
This is my story. I hope I can stop you making some of the same mistakes that I did when I was starting to run again.
I was on a high from completing my Shape Up programme. I had lost about 10kg and seriously improved my fitness. But… it was going into winter. During the Shape Up, I had got into the habit of running when hubby got home from work so that he could watch our daughter. Now, by the time he got home from work, it was starting to get dark. I didn’t really fancy the idea of running in the dark by myself, so I vowed I would get up early and run in the morning instead.
The morning rolled around and it was cold. I’d been up in the night with my daughter, so I was tired. Would it really matter if I missed just one run?
But then it was two and then it was three runs I’d missed. Before I knew it, I had missed a fortnight. Then I had missed a month, and then a few months.
Life continued on, as it tends to do. My daughter started kindy. It was a beautiful facility down a really long driveway. All the kids loved to run the length of the driveway. One morning, my daughter asked me to run with her into kindy. I did, and I was so puffed when we got to the end.
In the space of a few months I had gone from being able to run 5km, to getting puffed by running 100m.
It was time to make a change.
Starting To Run Again
I was determined to get back to running 5km again. I was so proud of myself when I could do that, and in such a short space of time, I had let it all go.
So I laced up my running shoes, re-awoke the running app on my phone and updated my Spotify playlist. I am not sure if I thought the power of my mind alone, or fairies would give me the magical power to run long distances again just because I wanted to. But of course it didn’t happen. I had lost my fitness from my long break, and because I pushed too hard too fast, I injured my knee.
You see, in the time since I had bought my running shoes, I had run countless kilometres in them. Then after I stopped running, I had walked around the shops, done the groceries, been in the garden, and played with my toddler while wearing the same shoes.
When I went to start running again, I naturally wore those same worn-out shoes. And I pushed myself hard, thinking that I used to be able to run 5km, so why couldn’t I now? Hence, knee injury.
My technique for starting to run again was rubbish. This is what I should have done…
Tips For Starting To Run Again Without Keeling Over and Injuring Yourself…
Have the right equipment:
Make sure that you have the right shoes that will support your feet, otherwise you will end up with injuries. Ensure they are properly fitted and the right kind of support for your running style. You might choose to visit a store where they can assess your running gait, or a specialist medical professional if needed.
If you haven’t run in a long time, then you will have lost some of your fitness as well as muscles. Don’t expect to be able to run the distance you did when you were at the peak of your fitness. Gradually build up to those longer distances by starting small and increasing your distance a little bit at a time.
Get The Basics Right:
If you stopped running due to an injury, you need to make sure that your injury has completely healed before you dive back in fully. Make sure that you can walk a decent distance without pain before attempting to run, otherwise you are likely to re-injure yourself.
Have a Goal:
Don’t just say that you are going to run, otherwise life might simply get in the way again. And make sure that your goal extends beyond just one race. Have a lifestyle goal of wanting to run 10km a week, or complete a set circuit so many times a month.
Keep Up Your Nutrition:
Give your body the fuel it needs to exercise regularly again. Eat right and drink plenty of water.
Where Am I Now?
I am never going to be a marathon runner, I will always be a recreational runner… but that’s alright. I am a busy Mum running my own business, so there are not a lot of free hours in the day. But a couple of times a week I get out for a run. It clears my head, gets me some much needed fresh air, and keeps up my fitness.
It is a fantastic feeling to know that if I am running late for school pick-up, I can easily run the 2km to school without worry. While 2km is not a huge distance run, I know that I wouldn’t be able to do it if I hadn’t got back into my fitness!
Starting to run again is possible, and you might even find that you build your fitness up faster than when you were a complete beginner. Don’t be shy to give it a try!
I am Gemma Knight, just a regular Mum from Auckland, and I am now part of the YummyMummy Fitness Alumni. I promise that you will not regret taking the YummyMummy journey.