Get Rolling with the Run

Get Rolling with the Run

What workouts to do after taking some time off

By USAT Level I Coach, Amy Kuitse

Let us assume you have taken 2 months off from running. In this article we will make an assumption that you are new to the sport and have ended your season on a good note and without injury. You simply took time off because you needed to and are now ready to get rolling again.

The first week back finds you excited to get back into things, motivated by goals and a new racing schedule. You know you need to work your way gradually back into the run to avoid injury by not over doing it. One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to create a plan that includes detailed structure on how to proceed with our running.

Let us assume you have taken 2 months off from running. In this article we will make an assumption that you are new to the sport and have ended your season on a good note and without injury. You simply took time off because you needed to and are now ready to get rolling again.

The first week back finds you excited to get back into things, motivated by goals and a new racing schedule. You know you need to work your way gradually back into the run to avoid injury by not over doing it. One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to create a plan that includes detailed structure on how to proceed with our running.

As a coach I believe in a conservative approach so that through your first 3 weeks you are running every other day with a gradual progression in time from week to week. I would recommend going by minutes versus miles, as our body knows time, not distance. The first week would include 3 days of running that consists of a 5 minute warm-up of walking, 10 minutes of running, 2 minutes of walking, 10 minutes of running, and and easy 5 minutes of walking to cool down and right into stretching. This workout could be followed for each of the 3 runs during the first week.

As you head into the second week, keep the minutes of the run the same, but eliminate the 2 minutes of walking between and continue with the 5 minutes of walking to warm-up and cool-down. Always follow each run by good a good stretching routine. In this week, run every other day again so that you run a total of 3 days again. In the third day of running this week add 5 minutes to your run for a total of 25 minutes.

In the third week continue with an every other day pattern, but set the week so you will run 4 days. For the first two runs continue with 25 minutes of running followed by stretching and then add 5 minutes to the next two runs for a total of 30 minutes. At the finish of these two runs add 4 by 20 second pick-ups running up to 75% of your max effort.

Week 1
Monday Run: w/u: 5? walk. Then run 10?, walk 2?, run 10?. c/d: 5? walk. Stretch following
Wednesday Run: Repeat Monday?s workout. Stretch following run.
Friday Run: Repeat Monday?s workout. Stretch following run.

Week 2
Monday Run: w/u: 5? walk. Then 20? run. c/d: 5? walk. Stretch following run.
Wednesday Run: Repeat Monday?s workout. Stretch following run.
Friday Run: Repeat Monday?s workout, plus add 5? to the run. Stretch following run.

Week 3
Monday Run: w/u: 5? walk. Then run 25?. c/d: 5? walk. Stretch following run.
Wednesday Run: Repeat Monday?s workout. Stretch following run.
Friday Run: Repeat Monday?s workout and add 5? to run. Stretch following run.
Sunday Run: Repeat Friday?s run workout.

As I mentioned early on, I believe in being conservative in the first few weeks of your return to running for a number of reasons. First, your tendons and ligaments may have become lax; your muscles will have lost some of their tone; and your joints have lost their tolerance to the pounding they take on the run. This in itself can create changes in your gait pattern, cadence, strength and for that matter, all the aspects of the run. A gradual and more conservative return can save you from unwanted time off due to injuries.

Remember, this article is the opinion of the author, not something that is written in stone. The fact however is, our body physiologically accommodates and gets used to stresses we place on the bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints. After taking time off your body loses its tolerance for those stresses so when we start again, we have to rebuild our body?s ability to handle the stress inherent in running. This is why a gradual return is called for after a period of rest.

All the best for your return. Happy trails to you!

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