Even if running is a huge part of your life, it’s easy to get off track when life gets busy. We’ve all been there. Maybe you’ve been working long hours or just couldn’t find the motivation to go outside and start running. What’s worse, the holidays are around the corner, so there’s a good chance your schedule won’t be back to normal until the beginning of the New Year.
So what if you miss going on your runs? How do you get started again? Here are 9 ways to recover your motivation and get back to running after a long break.
1. Get back to your habits
During the holidays, our schedules are usually set aside - which is part of the reason why we love the holidays so much. Sometimes it’s good to break our routine, sleep, eat and train (or take a nap instead) whenever we want.
However, if you want to take up running again, creating healthy habits is really important. Your training will benefit from having a fixed eating, sleeping and training schedule. You’ll be more focused and disciplined and it will allow you to muster up some motivation to go and chase your goals even when you don’t feel like running at all.
Commit to a balanced diet, with an adequate amount of calories and the right combination of macronutrients to reap the benefits of your training. Have a filling breakfast with a good balance of high-quality protein, slow-digesting carbs and healthy fats, and set yourself up for success in the morning. Make sure what you’re eating throughout the day supports your goals - you’re going to need lots of energy if you want to get back into running!
2. Set realistic goals
After weeks or months of playing couch potato, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to run a marathon right away. Set realistic goals that you know you can reach, depending on your fitness levels and how fast you can get back to performing at your best.
Only you know yourself well enough to be able to set a realistic goal. But for most people, running a 10K after about 6-8 weeks of training is a reasonable goal to strive for.
3. Mix it up
A bit of variety never hurts. Pick one or two other sports or forms of exercise that are complementary to running and add them to your training routine. You can walk, cycle, swim or do yoga.
Swimming helps to raise your basal metabolic rate and improve your posture. Yoga helps to tone muscles and achieve psychophysical balance, which can be very beneficial in times of change and stress.
If you have the opportunity, you should also try an activity that comes from Sweden called plogging. We’ll tell you more about it later on our blog!
4. Spend more time warming up and stretching
Depending on how much time has passed without you exercising, your muscles are going to be tighter than usual. Ease into training gradually and spend more time warming up before each training session to avoid injuries. Never skip stretching at the end of your workouts: if you don’t want muscle soreness to ruin your next workout, stretch for at least 5-10 minutes before calling it a day.
5. Be patient
Getting back into running after a long hiatus can be frustrating because you won’t be able to perform as well ad you did before you took a break. But remember, it’s all a question of patience and consistency.
Start slow with shorter distances, and work your way up through a period of adaptation. You’re going to need a few weeks to recover the aerobic capacity you may have lost. Give yourself time and don’t be too hard on yourself if your progress is slower than expected.
6. Train with friends
Getting back to a routine can quickly become boring if you have no-one to share it with. Get a friend on board and encourage each other to stick to your plan and reach your goals.
7. Don’t forget to rest
Recovery is just as important as training. Make sure you get enough sleep between sessions and don’t exhaust yourself. Overtraining can lead to injury and sabotaging your own goals. Take a few rest days here and there, and trust the process!
8. Freshen up your closet
Purchasing new running clothes and gear can add some extra motivation. If you’re in need of some new sportswear, why not choose a brand that stands for a good cause? At The Running Republic, we create high-quality sustainable running clothes made entirely of recycled ocean plastic. Check out our new collection here.
9. Enjoy yourself
Running shouldn’t be a chore. It should be a joyful time that allows you to focus on yourself, your health and the sport you love the most. It’s great to have goals and work towards them, but don’t forget to enjoy the process!