If you’ve taken some prolonged time off your running fitness routine, either due to an injury, a busy schedule, or simply because you lost steam and motivation, learning how to get back on track successfully is a must.

By making sure you ease into the process and take a few additional measures, you can ensure you get back as easily as possible, feeling your best as you do.

Let’s go over some quick techniques and tips to use as you move back to your fitness regime and get those runs going.

Find A Good Training Plan

First, you should begin by looking into using a proper planned training program. While you could just start slow and add a little day by day, it’s a very unorganized approach.

Instead, consider a running trainer such as Zen Lab’s, C25K Free 5K trainer application. This will insure that you are adding distance and speed at an appropriate pace and not overwhelming your body. These plans will walk you through, start to finish, ensuring you are fully prepared for each training week ahead.

Start Slow

Speaking of using a proper training protocol, this brings us to our next tip: start slow. Far too many beginner runners who are very enthusiastic to get started make the mistake of doing too much, too soon.

They head out onto the open roads, putting in 110% each and every workout. In theory this is what you want, but in reality, doing this if you’re not properly watching yourself, could quickly lead to overworking your body.

Remember that you need to give your muscles, joints, and central nervous system a chance to get used to the exercise stress you’re placing on the body.

By going slowly – slightly slower than you think you could, you’ll actually pace yourself just right.

Consider Cross Training

It’s also an excellent idea to consider some cross training as well as you get started. Strength training is an especially excellent form of training to do and will only boost your running performance. Try an app such as the 200 Squats Challenge and you’ll quickly see improvements in your leg strength.

If weight lifting isn’t your thing, consider doing a few sessions on the elliptical trainer or bike instead.

The main thing is that you want to be doing something that will help to boost your fitness level without causing you to place your body at risk for overuse injuries. If you’re running four to six days a week after you just get back into it, you may find yourself experiencing a significant dose of knee, back, or ankle pain.

Fuel Your Body Right

The next step in getting back into your running and fitness program after taking a layoff is to make sure that you are fueling your body properly. This means taking in a good mixture of protein and carbohydrates before and after your run so you’re energized for it and recovery quickly after it.

Since you will be burning up more total calories as you do your run compared to before, you’ll also need to boost your daily calorie intake as well. A good guideline to follow for this is to add about 100 calories additional for each mile you run.

So someone who’s doing a two miler run that day should fuel up with an extra banana before and after for example. The choice of food you eat is yours, but generally you’ll do best adding these extra calories from carbohydrate sources since this is the preferred source of energy for exercise.

Focus On Quality Sleep

Finally, the last quick tip to remember as you get back into things is to make sure you are also focusing on your sleep quality as well. Sleep will be the primary time you recover from each workout session you do, so you want to get in a little more than you normally do to give your body that extra dose of recovery it needs.

Aim for at least 8 hours, if not nine on the days you do more intense or longer duration runs.

If you aren’t sleeping well as you begin your fitness journey again, you will quickly find your motivation starts to decline, as does performance.

So there you have some quick points to know and remember as you get back into things. Always remember to go at your own pace. Fitness is not a race to be won – it’s a journey to be had. If you go at your own pace, you’ll enjoy the process and be hooked on running for years to come.

What other tips and tricks have you tried to help you quickly get refocused? Share them in the comments!