Many of us are spending more time at home than ever before. With the gyms closed, kids home from school, and remote work, our homes have turned into the place we do everything. Besides monotonous, this can also become draining on our mental state.
If you’ve been on a break from running, now is possibly the best time ever to incorporate regular running back into your routine. Running gives you a break from your house (and any people you live with), it relieves stress, it adds structure to your day, and it helps you sleep better, which will give your immune system a boost.
Are you feeling ready to start running again? We’ve got four essential steps for you on how to make a running comeback. First though, we want to point out some important tips on how to keep yourself and others safe while running during social distancing.
With social distancing rules, you might feel uncertain getting out there and staying the proper distance away from people. In some cities, public pathways and parks have been temporarily closed, making it harder to find places to run. There are also lots of new runners out on the paths nowadays, making the competition for running space in some cities even harder. For more guidance on where you can run, go to your local community’s park department website for information on pedestrian areas that have closed.
To keep you and others safe, follow these guidelines when running outside to adhere to social-distancing rules.
1. Keep Six Feet Away From Others
When you run outside, remember to continue to stay socially distant – six feet away – from other runners or pedestrians. If you need to pass someone or someone passes you, move to the side as best you can.
This also means no group or partner runs. However, feel free to run with people you live with!
Even if you only have a light cough or sniffle, it’s best to stay indoors, especially if you live in a densely populated area. Stay home and do some mobility drills or a runner’s yoga routine. The run will be there once your cold has gone away.
Refrain from touching anything or your face while you run. If you need to press a crosswalk button, use your elbow or foot. Carry your own water bottle rather than using a public drinking fountain and, if you can, also try to avoid public restrooms. And don’t even think about spitting or snot-rocketing into the open air!
To start running again during quarantine, we have four tips for how you can jump-start those runs and turn it into a long-lasting habit.
1. Create a Routine
With not many places to go these days, a running plan gives you a schedule and an excuse to get outside. Add the workouts from your training program to your calendar like any other meeting. Be sure to allow enough time for a warm-up and cool-down.
Not only will planning your runs like this help quarantine feel more normal, but it will also help you establish more routine for the rest of your day. Invite other members of your household to join you. If you have children, try to get them outside too, with older kids on a scooter or bike and a younger one in a stroller.
When making a comeback to running, it’s important to follow a training program from a running coach of some kind to reduce the risk of injury and risk of burning out after the first week. We have a 30-day beginner runner program that’s perfect for people looking to kickstart their return to running. Your training program, whether for a half-marathon or for weight loss, should build up your stamina over a set period of time to make you not only a better runner but a better athlete.
If you prefer the treadmill or have limited time to leave the house, check out our guide for beginner running: treadmill edition.
For anyone starting running again, your typical weekly training plan will have these elements:
Mobility and stretching are must-haves for new runners and comeback runners to increase running longevity. Follow this mobility and stretching routine for beginners after your runs:
Your weekly running schedule will look different depending on your current fitness level and how much time you took off from running. If you are coming back from a long break from running, you should start gradually, incorporating walk breaks when you need them. Pace your runs with regular walk breaks of equal length. For example, you could run for 3-5 minutes and walk for 30 seconds or 1 minute during the duration of a 25 minute period.
Here’s a full run/walk workout for someone starting to run again who is a beginner:
For a follow-along run, try this 10-minute beginner workout:
If you work out regularly but haven’t run in a while, your fitness level can probably handle greater intensity from the start. For stronger fitness levels, here’s an interval workout to try after you’ve completed a few days of easy runs:
If you prefer to follow along with a workout, try this 20-minute interval run with Coach Holly:
With regular socializing limited to video calls and chatting on the phone, finding a running group or community sounds a bit impossible at the moment. But thankfully we live in a world of social media, and there are thousands of runners online. Look for runners to follow on Instagram (we’re @therunexperience!) or download The Run Experience app and post a photo of yourself after each run in the community section. We’re all cheering for you!
4. Be Positive
When you start to run again, you’ll no doubt face some setbacks, whether it’s soreness, blisters, or a lack of motivation. Any physical aches and pains can’t always be avoided, but they can be handled well when approached with the right mindset.
A great way to build the right mindset for your runs is to approach them with gratitude. Unlike so much else going on right now, running allows us control over our bodies, our pace, our breathing, and our time.
Before you head out for a run, think of one reason you are grateful to be running. It could be any number of reasons. For example, maybe you are grateful for your healthy body that can move; that running allows you time to get outside; or that you can afford new running shoes.
Turning your runs into a time for gratitude about your health and appreciation for your body will make the activity that much more rewarding and help form the running habit.
For an extra dose of inspiration, listen to pro-runner Alexis Pappas dish some wisdom and running tips:
Get connected to The Run Experience community now by downloading the app. You’ll also have access to all our programs and single runs, as well as a GPS tracker that will log the mileage of all your runs.