There is nothing like a run outdoors to reduce stress and improve your mood. The combination of breathing in fresh air and getting your blood flowing and your heart pumping seems to cleanse your mind and body. No matter how hard it is to get out the door and get started, after you are done, don’t you always seem to feel much better? After a break from running, easing back into it is important. I have compiled some of my favorite tactics for getting back out running!
1. Mentally Prepare
Stop making excuses! Coming back from a break is tough, but rather than talking yourself out of it — talk yourself into it. Remind yourself how much better you will feel once you get out there, and how your body will thank you. You may even want to list the benefits in a place where you will easily be reminded to get running! I recommend writing some Post-It notes, and sticking them on your bathroom mirror and the door of your fridge.
2. Ease into It
If you’ve been parked on the couch over the last few months, begin your exercise routine slowly with a 30-minute brisk walk. Or alternate 1-2 minutes of running with 1-2 minutes of walking to avoid injury.
3. Schedule It
Like any other meeting or appointment, take a look at your calendar, and schedule your runs. It’s easy to let the days slip away and convince yourself you don’t have time or that you’ll do it tomorrow. Make running a priority, today.
4. Make It Fun
Plan to try a new route you want to explore, or revisit an old one you love. Map it out, and get psyched. Creating a great music playlist or inviting a running buddy along can help inspire you. Running with a friend is a great way to catch up rather than spending an hour sitting on a couch or bar stool!
5. Prepare Your Gear
Pick up a new article of running apparel that you are excited to wear, and lay out your clothing the night before so you don’t have to think about it. Also, make sure you have shoes with good stability to avoid injuries. If you skip the run, you will have to face your clothing and your awesome kicks staring you down.
6. Write and Record
Write down your goals, and take action. After each run, write down where you went, how you felt, the temperature. I even add a few notes on how I was dressed in certain temperatures, so I can reference in the future. There is nothing worse than being over or under-dressed – you want to be as comfortable as possible. Plus, recording your progress allows you to see your accomplishments which is a huge motivator.
7. Change Your Diet
Changing your diet will also make getting back into running easier. Natural, whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and whole grains, will give you all the fuel you need to get back into running. Fuel with a small snack like a banana half an hour before running, and don’t forget you hydrate. If you run in the mornings, here is an idea for great post-workout breakfast.