woman getting back to running after a break, jogging along a beach in compression sleeves

The advantages of running are obvious: you need almost no equipment, can do it on your schedule, and can spend some time outside in nature. Through the release of serotonin and dopamine, running has an antidepressant effect and strengthens the body and soul at the same time.

But no matter how well you run or how much you love it, if you are returning to running after a long break, it's essential to take a few extra precautions to avoid injury. Below are some valuable tips for a safe (and sustainable) return.

 

EASE BACK INTO IT

If you've decided to run again after a break of several weeks or even months, congratulations! You have already made the most crucial step! Now it’s time to put on those running shoes and do your first few careful laps.

The most important thing to remember is to start slowly. Your cardiovascular system will adapt to increased physical strain quite quickly. However, your body’s support system of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments will take much longer to adjust. This means that the risk of injuries is particularly high at first.

The first few runs after a break are the hardest. The challenge here is to keep it up and gradually work your speed and distance to what it was.

The best strategy is not to work out too intensely but regularly. If you run every two or three days, you will return to the “flow” quickly and see significant progress in just a few weeks! 

 

Start with walking

The first few running sessions after an extended break don't involve running. Instead, you should walk briskly for 20 to 30 minutes. This applies even to experienced runners since the rule of thumb is that getting your body back to its old performance level will take at least as long as the time you took off.

The advantage of walking is that it puts much less strain on your joints than running since you always have one foot on the ground. But you are still burning calories and getting your cardiovascular system going.

 

Run and walk using the Galloway Method

 After four or five sessions, you can alternate between walking and running. The principle of alternating between stretches of running and walking goes back to the former world-class runner Jeff Galloway from the US, which is known as the “Galloway” or “Run and walk" method.

The method's inventor ran more than 100 marathons this way and achieved quite remarkable times. The method's main advantages include a reduced risk of injury, a better running pace and quicker recovery. Hence, the method is ideal not only for beginners but also for experienced runners.

Depending on your experience and physical condition, walking may even take up the lion's share at first. Galloway's books specify a particular ratio between running and walking for various running speeds. For a brisk speed of 4:20 minutes per kilometre, he suggests six minutes of running and 30 seconds of walking. For a relaxed speed of 8 minutes per kilometre, you may even choose a balanced ratio: one minute of running followed by one minute of walking.

 

TIPS TO KEEP YOU GOING IN THE FIRST FEW WEEKS

1. Friends

Seek support if you know that making it through the first few weeks of training will be a struggle. A runner friend can be a real lifesaver here. You can motivate and support each other, helping one another improve and reach your running goals.

 

2. Measure with a running watch

Set yourself measurable goals for self-motivation. Your goal may be a particularly good time, a new personal distance record, or even just running a few minutes more without taking a break. A running watch will also help you monitor your heart rate and reduce the risk of pushing yourself beyond your physical limits.

 

3. Listen to music

Listening to music while running is a controversial issue. While some runners swear by a “pure” running experience and find music distracting, others are inspired by the sound of their favourite songs and may perform a little better than they could in silence. There are even certain scientific indications that music improves physical endurance.

If you are among those who love exercising with music, you can use a smartphone, MP3 player, or even the running watch itself as a motivational aid to playing your favourite songs when you need them the most to give you that extra boost. Or, if you prefer, you could try listening to a podcast or audiobook. 

 

4. Stick to a routine

We are creatures of habit. We love to set rituals that we can cling to in our hectic everyday lives. With your running training, you can use this effect to stay on the ball. Run on fixed days and at fixed times.

 

5. Rewards

Running sessions are often challenging and can feel like “work” (which they are for your body, after all). So, running toward something nice and rewarding can prove beneficial, just like you would anticipate a vacation from work. A reward could be a tasty smoothie or a piece of chocolate after the running session.

Remember that you should reward yourself as soon as possible after a workout so your brain will link running with the reward and increase your motivation in the future.

 

6. RECOVERY IS KEY

Progress happens between workouts, not during them. Although thorough recovery is a must, especially if you are a beginner (or getting back in the swing of things). Factor in at least one day of rest between your workouts. After one month, you can also take off an entire week for recovery.

All the “classics” regarding recovery also apply, of course: drink enough, eat a healthy diet, and get plenty of sleep. These steps will allow your body to replenish its energy reserves and gradually improve your performance.

Learn more: Why Sports Recovery is So Important (bauerfeind.com.au)

 

THE PERFECT GEAR FOR YOUR RUNNING RE-START

Having the right gear to aid your return to running can help prevent injury and speed up recovery.

 

Run Performance Insoles 

Person slipping Bauerfeind Run Performance Insoles into their sports shoes

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These insoles will cushion your footstrikes and support the natural roll of your foot to protect it from damage. The sensorimotor spots, meanwhile, will stimulate the foot muscles and improve proprioception.

 

Calf Compression Sleeves

Woman running in Bauerfeind Sports Compression Calf Sleeves

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Compression knit has a ton of benefits for runners. Its muscle-activating and circulation-boosting properties fight muscle fatigue, reduce oscillations (these being the uncomfortable vibrations shooting up the leg when your foot hits the ground), and even speed up the recovery process.

 

To sum up

Returning to running is great! However, you should take some precautions to ensure you’re safe and motivated. Keep in mind it will take the same amount of time to get to where you were as you took off, wear running supports to give your joints extra protection (and give yourself a performance boost), and find ways to make your runs more fun. 

 

MORE INFORMATION

If you require assistance selecting the right product for your needs or wearing the brace, call us on 1300 668 466 or contact us via live chat.

Do you have private health? Most private health extras will cover Bauerfeind Products. Check to see if yours is included. Bauerfeind Private Health Insurance Inquiry. 
 
Bauerfeind was founded in 1929, and since then, we've worked tirelessly to develop and improve our extensive range of braces, insoles, and compression products. Our mission is to provide you with top-of-the-line supports so you can reach your fitness goals or live life without pain.

Every product is produced entirely in our facilities in Germany with the guidance of doctors, clinics, and orthopaedic technicians.

 

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