Wondering how to get back to running after suffering an injury, being sick, or taking a long break from training? If you are a runner and if you have trained for a marathon, you surely know how difficult it can be to follow your training plan 100%. Disruptions in the plan can be caused by your work schedule, traveling, problems at home, sickness, injuries and for many other reasons.
It is not something to beat yourself up about though. There are times when you must forgive yourself for missing a day or two of training.
But the question is – how to get back on track after missing your workouts and runs? And the other question is – what to avoid when getting back to your training.
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What To Avoid?
Adding additional workouts or more miles
First of all, don’t try to make up for the days or weeks you have missed your training sessions. So, don’t be tempted to add more workouts, add miles to your run and other activities which could easily lead you to yet another injury and overtraining. Follow your structured schedule, in which your workouts should be planned in accordance with the recovery time needed. If you try to add additional workouts, you will limit the recovery time, which at some point will lead to either overtraining or to an injury.
Make sure you do a proper warm up to prepare your body’s muscles for the upcoming workout. Also, recovery runs are crucial for the recuperation of the muscles, as they boost the oxygen supply and nutrients to the muscle fibers.
Don’t cry over the split milk
Don’t panic that you will lose your fitness and form if you miss out on several workouts. While obviously, you won’t be getting any better, it is likely that you won’t be losing much of your fitness while you are taking the time off for one reason or another. Even if you have missed 2 weeks of running and training, studies show that you will lose just about 3-4% of your fitness level, so don’t worry so much and don’t make this pause worry you too much.
In order to remain in good form, you can use the time off to work on other parts of outdoor running, such as working on your core, hips, lower legs, hamstrings, etc.
Remember to stick to your healthy diet when you are not training too. Eating properly will make returning to running easier, as your body will stay healthy during your time off from training.
How To Get Back To Training?
When it comes time to get back to training, it is important to return to the track carefully, especially if you have missed weeks or months of training.
Missed 1 to 5 days of training
If you have missed only 1 to 5 days of running, there is no problem to return to your normal running and training schedule after 2 or 3 days of easy running with some intervals of hill running and strides.
When coming back after an injury, you may want to add some more days of easy running before going back to regular training. After a sickness it may take your body more time to recuperate from all the symptoms of the sickness, so scale back your return to working out in accordance to how your body is recovering and how you are feeling.
Missed 6 to 10 days of training
In case you have gone 6 to 10 days without training, you may have lost a tiny amount of your fitness, so it is best to give yourself 3 days of easy running, and increase the mileage ever day with 10-15%. Again, you should add intervals with hill strides and paces. Before going back to your regular training program, you could try running a fartlek.
Missed 10 to 15 days of training
In case you have missed 10-15 days of running, it will probably take about two weeks to get back into your previous training form. It is recommended you start with 3 days of easy running, with a gradual increase of the mileage with 10-15% every day. Again, include hill sprints and strides. Then run a fartlek and continue with 2 days at an easy run mileage. You can try out a 3 mile workout including: 12 series of 400 meters at a quick pace followed by 100 meters of recovery jogging to help get your leg muscles and your endurance back into shape. After this, you should be able to go back to your regular training schedule.
If you have only 8-10 weeks before your marathon or other race, and you have missed workouts, it is a good idea to go back and complete them, because in many cases these workouts are specifically planned to help you achieve your race goals and is made to improve your performance and to keep you away from injuries.
Although missing out on workouts can be disheartening, don’t feel to down about it – if you take the abovementioned precautions and initial steps to get back to training, you should be able to get back into your optimal running form pretty soon!