Story by: Kim Huston on January 7, 2022
If you are getting back into running after a hiatus during the pandemic, getting to the starting line after a long pause may seem challenging. Here are some ways to get back into the habit.
It’s important to acknowledge that many of us have been unable to stay active during the COVID-19 pandemic for a multitude of reasons. If you’re a seasoned runner who hasn’t been able to keep up with your runs, it’s OK. Starting slow is going to help you get back to where you want to be.
It may seem counterintuitive to sign up for the race before you’ve trained for it. However, selecting an event, paying the entry fee and putting it on your calendar gives you a goal. It’s important to give yourself enough time to train for the distance you want to run. If you’re a beginner or returning to running, you can run any race as long as you have an adequate training time.
Whether you’re getting back out there or just getting started, you may want to start with a 5K. At just 3.1 miles, it can be less intimidating than a longer race. That’s not to say you can’t start with a big goal like a half-marathon or marathon — you just may want to consider shorter-distance races to build up to your ultimate race goal.
A good pair of running shoes is key to staying injury-free. If you haven’t laced up your running shoes in a while, check to see if your shoes still feel comfortable. Our feet can change with time, so jog around your house in them. If they’re not comfortable, consider buying a new pair.
In addition to shoes, socks are essential to comfort while running. Breathable, snug socks can help prevent bacteria from building up in your shoes. Make sure your socks fit properly — bunched-up socks can cause blisters and other issues that sideline runners.
Knowing how you run can help you stay aware and avoid injury. Some people naturally heel-strike, and others lead with their toes. Neither form is better than the other. Knowing your stride and making modifications as needed can help you prevent injuries.
There are many running apps and training plans available online. Some are elaborate, while some are simple and others are in between. Choose a training plan that honors where you are in your running journey and one that can keep you motivated. If you’re getting back into running, increasing your mileage or pace too fast may cause an overuse injury. If you’re a seasoned runner, there’s nothing wrong with choosing a plan that eases you into longer runs, as most training plans do.
Norton Sports Health offers a free Kentucky Derby Festival mini & Marathon training program. The 15-week program features organized group runs, training tips and preparation. The Norton Sports Health training program gives you tools to help you meet your personal goals:
Don’t be afraid to adapt your training plan to what your body is telling you — avoid the temptation to push yourself too far as you’re getting back into running. Adapting can help you continue with your running schedule and avoid injury. If something is causing you to shift the mechanics of your stride, you may need to see a doctor.
Reviewed by Stephanie Fish, training program coordinator, Norton Sports Health.[templatera id=”798563″]
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