Getting Back Into Running After Years Off: A New Lifestyle
starting to run

Getting Back Into Running After Years Off: A New Lifestyle

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So, you’ve decided that you want to get serious about about getting back into running after years off.

Now what?

Here are some tips to help you get started once again but more importantly to keep going.

The net is you're trying to get into a habit of a new happy and healthy lifestyle. 

getting back into running after years off

How to Get Back or Into Running Shape Fast

New runners and experienced runners who want to improve their times can benefit from something called the Walk-Run Method.

It was developed by Olympic athlete Jeff Galloway, and it doesn’t mean walking it off when you get tired.

It’s about taking walk breaks when you’re not tired, based on your fitness level.

Beginners should run for 10 to 30 seconds, then walk for 1 to 2 minutes for the entire duration of their run. Intermediate runners should run 1 to 5 minutes, then walk for 1 to 2 minutes for the entire run.

Experienced runners should run for 6 to 8 minutes, then walk for 30 seconds to 1 minute for the whole duration of the run.

This method helps to increase endurance and makes you more resistant to injury.

The theory is that the method gives the muscles regular recovery time during as you start to 're-train' your body how to get back into running shape fast.

Picture the End Result

Pick out a race to compete in. Sign up, pay the entry fee and put it on your calendar.

You’ll have a target date that will keep you on task.

This will force you to properly train.  

Just give your pick any race and give yourself enough time to properly train.

Runner’s World has a race finder that can help you narrow down the event you want to enter.

Once you’ve made the commitment and paid your money, it’s hard to back out.

Getting Back Into a Running Plan 

getting back into running plan

Create a training plan and stick to it. This is a good, basic plan, but if you want something more complicated, there are many options on the internet.

  • Trainining three times a week.
  • starting to run and walk for 20 to 30 minutes, two days a week.
  • Take longer runs or walks on the weekend.
  • check
    Rest or cross-train on non-running days.
  • check
    Run at talking speed. 

With this plan, it will take about three to seven weeks to train for a 5K race, depending on how out of shape you are when you start.

Gearing Up Could Be The Most Important

gear up when running

Probably the most important item you should consider is getting a good quality pair of ​running shoes.  

Make sure first and foremost that they are comfortable. It doesn’t matter what the sales brochures say – your feet know best.

Choose the shoes that feel best. That’s the only thing that matters.

Socks are just as important as shoes. If socks bunch up inside your shoes, they can cause painful blisters or chafing.

Pick moisture-wicking socks that are snug without being too tight. It’s important to let your feet breathe.

Don’t wear socks with seams and try to get some that are long enough to cover the backs of your ankles where your shoes might rub. 

Listen Up for Motivation

Playlists are important.

Listening to music or podcasts while you run can give your mind something to do while your body’s hard at work.

Nothing kills a run like boredom, and the right playlist can be a reward.

Data Is the Key: Make Sure You Measure

Now this is easier than ever to do because not only are our phones smart, watches are too.

Using a fitness watch will not only track your miles, but also monitor your speed and heart rate.

The reason this is so important is data can tell you if you're making progress.  

While you can definitely feel a change over time the easier way to measure things is by tracking data.  

In the end the data will allow you to see progress much easier than just 'feeling it'. 

Fill the Tank

You can’t run adequately if you don’t give your body enough fuel to keep going.

Eat an appetizer with carbs and some protein, like half of a peanut butter sandwich, about one hour before your run.

Eat the other half when you’re done.

There are a lot of recipes online for good pre-run foods. Experiment and find the ones that work for you.

Timing It, Part Two

When you eat is just as important as what you eat.

If you eat an hour before you are starting to run, you’ll have the energy on board without having a full stomach.

Make sure you eat within 15 minutes of ending your run, because this helps the body recover and rebuild glycogen in the muscles, which both powers you up and might prevent muscle soreness later on.

There are also  post-run recovery supplement can help immensely with your recovery time.  

While every person's body is unique, a good plan for a runner getting back into training should include proper fueling before and after each run.

Keep Your Form

Some people run heel-first. Some people lead with their toes.

While the professionals will run toe first, they also have a stride that is much longer.

So if you're getting back into running after years off do what comes naturally.

Maintain your natural form and don’t try to alter it into something that your body isn’t built for.

You’ll have a comfortable stride and your body will be more efficient.

It makes it easier to start running if you’re not fighting your own body all the way.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Rule of thumb: Drink when you’re thirsty. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It is.

The trick is deciding what to drink.

Water is always a good and possibly your best option.  

However, if you mix is some electrolytes replacement tablets, this will not only help hydrate but replace important minerals lost when sweating.

While you'll see a lot of advertisements for sports drinks be careful as they contain a lot of sugar.  

Even though you're not training for the Olympics it does not matter because you need to make sure you are hydrated each and every day.  

It will help you get back into running after years off and allow you to do it faster.

Avoid Runners’ Weight Gain

Running is a big calorie burner, which means you’ll be hungry and might start overeating.


Instead of working out until you’re ravenous, keep your workouts short (30 minutes instead of 60, for example).

You’ll still lose weight and tone up for your race, but you won’t feel driven to eat everything in the pantry.

Try to eat balanced meals with “clean” foods, and you’ll stay on track.

stretch before running


One of the best ways to avoid injury is to stretch.

Static stretching (stretches where you hold one position for a long time) can cause muscle strains and weakness.

Dynamic stretching, like lunges and squats, will warm up your muscles before starting to run.

Ultimately, though, some experts say that it’s not necessary to stretch before a run.

If you like the way a stretch feels, then by all means, stretch away.

Just don’t think that it’s the law.

Pay Attention to Side Stitches

A side stitch is a cramp in the abdominal muscles, usually over the hip or sometimes all the way up to the shoulder.

These annoying pains should resolve on their own after you slow down for a few minutes.

If they don’t, see a doctor – it could be a symptom of a heart attack.

How To Ward Off Cramps

Leg cramps are usually the result of fatigue, and if you’ve been subject to cramps in the past, you’re more likely to have them in the future.

Here’s where stretching actually helps.

Cramps are the result of your nerves misfiring and stretching seems to calm those nerves down.

Allegedly, taking a couple of swallows of pickle juice can also do the trick. Some runners swear by it.

If that doesn't appeal to you, then getting at least 400 mg of a magnesium supplement and adding salt to your water will definitely help.

Be Kind to Your Feet

It’s going to happen. Blisters, calluses, bruises, lost toenails… if you are starting to run for long distances, these injuries are really hard to avoid.

The best you can do is to get shoes and socks that fit well and don’t chafe.

One kind of foot injury that those starting to run often fall prey to is plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the muscles and tendons on the bottoms of the feet.

Stretches can help this condition, too.

Also, using a massage ball is shown to really provide great relief from this condition.

Momemtum is Everything

The hardest part of getting back into running after years off is gaining momentum.  

Once you get that traction, it's much easier to keep going.  

Then you'll get to the point where if you miss a run, you'll actually regret it.

That is the spot you want to get too because by then you'll have experienced positive results.  

So once you make that decision, try to imagine what you'll feel like 3-6 months down the road.  

You'll be happy that you did because you'll now have a new healthy lifestyle that makes you happy.