How to Get Back into Running

It’s not easy to get back into running. I speak directly from experience; after the Houston Marathon, I struggled to run more than two or three miles without needing a walk break. Then, just as I started feeling strong again, I had a medication mix-up that caused my heart to race. I thought I’d never run more than a mile or two at a time ever again.

But I did get back into running – slowly, by meeting myself where I was at that moment. Namely, I could run two miles without stopping, so I wanted to build up from there to six, then start training for a fall half marathon. Here’s what I did to start running longer distances again, and some tips if you’re getting back into running (or starting from scratch.)

It was hard to get back into running. In this post, I'll tell you how I did it - and how you can, too!

Set a Goal for Getting Back into Running

As I mentioned, I chose six miles, or 10K, as my goal. I knew I could build up from there to a half marathon distance. Your goal might be a 5K, or 45 minutes without stopping, or a half marathon. Choose a running goal that works for you, but make it measurable, either in time or distance.

One thing I didn’t do when I set my running goal is choose a pace. This helped me immensely; instead of focusing on how fast I was going, I focused on the mechanics of running, how I felt, and what my heart rate was. Your goal will be different from mine, but I knew that, starting where I was, I couldn’t focus on pace. I trained for months to run a long, slow distance. And it will likely be months before I can run a shorter, faster distance.

Choose a Plan

I’m not even going to list out the plethora of Couch to X programs available for free, because you have your pick. For me, because I wanted six miles to be my goal, I sought out a Couch to 10K plan. This is what made sense for me, but a Couch to 5K plan may work better for you, if that’s your goal. I also met myself where I was; since I could run two miles without stopping, I knew I didn’t have to completely start from scratch. So I didn’t.  I started somewhere in the middle so I could re-adjust to distance.

Start Running

Sorry; I don’t have any amazing wisdom here. You might choose a race and sign up as motivation. But for me, my only motivation was the feeling of my muscles and tendons working together. That’s what got me moving again. I decided what days I would run, then ran, whether it was on the treadmill or outside.


3 thoughts on “How to Get Back into Running

  1. Setting a goal is a huge help for me! Knowing that I have something I’m working toward is much better because then I can be held accountable. And getting out there is the hardest step but it’s worth it! Glad you’re doing better now and you’re able to get some miles in!

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