All set to make a comeback after a long break? How can you do that asks Deepthi Velkur
A significant number of runners are faced with this situation and in all likelihood, it has or could happen to you as well. You begin running, push yourself to train better and faster, set new PB’s with each run and you seemed to have gained the courage to dream of the impossible.
Then suddenly all breaks loose and one fine day you stop running. It could be due to an injury, major life changes, illness or just don’t feel up for it. All those years of consistent training, being fit, gains on your mileage and overall confidence just seem to have quickly vanished as they materialized. With no continuous activity, your body loses blood volume and your lactate threshold decreases after a point. It is always easier for runners who have been training long and hard to slip back into running as opposed to a novice runner.
The ease of getting back into running also depends on various aspects like the duration of your break, level of fitness before the break, severity of illness/injuries and some form of physical activity done during the break.
So, how do you get moving again after being sidelined for a while? Here are a few guidelines to follow that will help you ease back into running –
Start at your current level- Focus on not running too far and hard just yet as it might lead to injuries and pain. If you’re not going by any training schedule, ensure to track your mileage and keep your runs at a conservational pace for the initial 6-8 weeks. In the beginning, avoid running two days at a stretch and include a rest day or cross train in between runs and maintain your overall weekly mileage of 10% per week. Remember to run slower, reduce mileage, allowing rest and recovery days.
Here’s a brief about how you could get back to training and at what level of intensity –
1 week or less – Start from where you left off
Up to 10 days – Run at 70% of previous mileage
15 to 30 days – Run at 60% of previous mileage
30 days to 3 months – Run at 50% of previous mileage
3 months – Start from scratch
Build Endurance – There is no fool-proof formula to know of how much conditioning you lost as everyone responds differently to training stimulus. The maximum aerobic capacity that you might have lost post your break is –
- Up to 5 to 7 percent of VO2max after two weeks.
- Up to 20 percent of VO2max after two months.
- Up to 30 to 50 percent of VO2max after three months
Strength training will help you handle running longer distances if done properly and assists in building strength in your glutes and lower ab area. Include sitting and lying down exercises, add drills that mimic components of running such as Glute push-off drill, Midfoot strike with forward lean, and cadence drill. These drills help in building your overall endurance.
Identify and resolve your running glitches – Getting back to training is probably your best time to re-evaluate your previous training sessions and make the required amendments. Most importantly listen to your body and if you notice anything different, act on it immediately to get back on track.
Cross Train: Runners must incorporate activities like cycling, swimming, weight training, jogging, walking, Pilates, and yoga into their training schedule. It builds cardiovascular strength, fitness, promotes recovery and reduces wear and tear of the body.
Set small realistic goals: We must come to terms with the fact that it will take us time to get back to the performance level we were at. By putting pressure on yourself, you’re causing more harm to your body than good. By setting smaller goals and meeting them will only boost your confidence. It becomes easier if you have a goal like training for a specific event, else start off running a distance of 5k. As you go, you build endurance, speed, and intensity of running thereby making it more fun again.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Deepthi Velkur is a former sprinter who is trying her hand at various sports today. A tennis fanatic, who believes that sleep should never be compromised.