Thursday, October 18, 2018

How to Get Back Into Running

Over the past 9 years, I have found a true love and passion for running. I ran my first half marathon while in my last semester of college in November 2009. Something about the way I felt during the race and the high I felt as I crossed the finish line had me completely hooked. I continued running and by the end of 2011, I completed 6 half marathons. In 2014, I finished my first full marathon. Today I have countless 5Ks and 10Ks, 24 half marathons, 2 30Ks and 2 full marathons under my belt. Since having children, I've definitely reeled in the number of races I do each year, and I stick to shorter distances mostly with a half marathon or two a year. Having children means taking running breaks and getting back into running shape again after having a baby. I've done it once and I'm in the process of getting back on my running game now! I thought I would share what works for me and let you in on my secrets. (Okay they aren't really secrets, but I'll let you in anyway.)


one. Start slow
I've said this before and I'll say it again and again, listen to your body and start slow. Jumping back into things and expecting too much of yourself before you're ready is a recipe for disaster. You're bound to be slower and will need to take more walk breaks, but that's okay! Give yourself grace and know that with dedication and determination, you'll be back at it in time.

two. Begin with run walk intervals
Assuming you already have some walking mile under your belt, when you're ready to introduce running again, start with intervals. I started with more walking than running and worked up to the opposite. For example, walk 0.25 miles then run 0.1 miles and continue that pattern for the duration of your run/walk. Or if you prefer time walk for 3 minutes, run for 1 minute. This is where I started once I was able to do more than just walking after having my baby. 

three. Gradually increase your running interval
Check out the charts below to see different ways that you can gradually increase your running distance or time. These are just two simple examples on how to start easy and work your way back into running. You can edit these so many different ways. If you have any questions on how to modify these to fit your needs, don't hesitate to reach out!

Intervals by Distance

Intervals by Time

The idea is that with each run, you increase your run time. After a few runs, you decrease your walk time. Eventually this will get you to non-stop running. If you prefer interval running, I highly recommend looking into the Galloway Method. You can learn more here to start figuring out what walk/run ratio is ideal for you!

four. Find your ideal training plan
Speaking of Galloway, finding a training plan that fits your needs will help you get back to running. Or maybe you're just starting? There are plans for every type of runner. Here are just a few that I'm familiar with:
If you're interested in a customized training plan, I'd be happy to work with you! I've trained several runners for all distances from 5K to full marathons. {Just shoot me an e-mail: acgougler@gmail.com}

five. Keep up the habit
Creating healthy habits is super important! Keep a schedule for your runs and don't break it. It will take a little while for running to seem natural and a part of your schedule again, so be sure to stick to it. If you need a little motivation, find a race to sign up for! Even a 5K on the calendar will give you a reason to hit the pavement.

six. Forget the past
Don't compare where you are now to where your were before. You will be slower and your form may be off, but that's okay. You'll get to your goal by finding a plan and keeping the habit! It's easy to get down on yourself for not being good enough or not being your best. Just remember that if you want to get back to your running best then you will. It just will take a little hard work and determination.

The biggest thing to remember is that it takes time to get back into running. Hal Higdon says, "Expect to spend at least two days getting back in shape for every day lost." If you've been gone for a few months, it's going to take twice as long to get back in the game. If you didn't run throughout your entire pregnancy, it could take a year and a half to get to where you want to be, especially since you're also dealing with healing time postpartum. No matter what just know that you CAN do it. Set your mind to it and you'll find your new happy pace.


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