Running shoesPhoto: TierneyMJ (Shutterstock)

It’s spring again, and if you’re lamenting a snowy winter, the roads are likely to be beckoning. Why not dust off your running shoes and go jogging amid the spring flowers and fresh air that won’t hurt your face anymore? Oh right Because it’s been a while and you might not be quite sure where to start.

See yourself as a passing beginner

Just because you got a five-mile run every weekend last fall doesn’t mean you can kick one out today. Or even if you can, it might not be wise to get into the habit of doing it without a proper ramp-up.

The good news is that you will get through these early stages much faster than when you were a beginner. The shorter the break, the easier it will be. But even if your last run was years ago, your prospects are good.

That said, it’s important to remember that cardio fitness is not a running fitness. If you can do a 45-minute dance video or bike workout, your heart and lungs are likely up to a 45-minute jog. Great. But running puts unique strains on your bones, tendons, and foot muscles, and you need to limit your running to that Avoid Injury in the early stages of your comeback. If your runs feel too short, supplement them with other workouts for now.

G / O Media can receive a commission

Illustration for article titled How to Get Back to Running After Taking a Break

Schedule a course

Make a comeback plan. I’ve been in this situation many times and my favorite way to get through the first month or so is to grab a beginner plan and follow it until I feel like I’m running again. At this point I can switch to a different program if I think the rookie plan is not challenging me enough.

Here are some suggestions in order of (my) preference:

  • Work out intuitive walking for three short runs per week (20 minutes each is a good start).
  • Get one of the programs from like this Floor plan for beginners.
  • Or go with the classic Couch up to 5K. If you’ve already done this program, it can be comforting to repeat it.

Illustration for article titled How to Get Back to Running After Taking a Break

Check your gear

Do you still have your old running shoes? How old are you anyway? Unless Feel good on your feet during and after a runIt is probably time to replace them.

The same goes for your sports bra and any of your favorite pants, socks, etc. Take stock of what you have, what you need, and what should be repaired or replaced.

Think back to all of your best runs, the last time you were a regular runner. What did she do great? Take a minute to reproduce all of the factors that you control. Maybe you had a favorite playlist that you listened to. either dig it up now or remake it. Or maybe you’ve discovered that you love to run in nature. Check out the walking maps for your favorite park, especially if it’s been a while as there may have been changes.

Take it easy

Especially if you don’t always enjoy running, take some pressure off yourself. Instead of worrying about how fast you complete each training run, make sure that you are using each run for its intended purpose. Easy days should be easywithout time pressure. Long runs should be slow. On days when you do speedwork or tempo runs, this can benefit if you time yourself and make sure you hit the specific numbers in your program.

Illustration for article titled How to Get Back to Running After Taking a Break

But don’t worry too much about your numbers just yet, especially if they are not what they used to be. There is no benefit in running your simple runs too fast. You will just disappoint yourself for no reason. In fact, it’s okay to leave the phone or watch at home and not even tell the time. Try a targeted diary (on paper!) to keep track of things instead.