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How to Return to Running

Updated: May 10, 2022

Written by: Dr. Carleigh Rosenberg, PT, DPT of The Green Room PT

Whether it feels like it or not, Spring is right around the corner! A lot of people find themselves being more active in the spring time when weather starts to improve, but often have questions about where to start. Getting back into running can be intimidating, and often can lead to some aches and pains if progressed too quickly. This can easily be prevented by incorporating some basic exercises and new routines. In this blog post I’m going to be outlining a return to running plan, as well as exercises that can help the transition go more smoothly.

One of the most important parts of going for a run, whether you’re running a marathon or a mile, is doing a warm up. Studies have shown that static stretching, or holding a stretch in one position for a sustained stretch, is not as effective before exercise and should be saved for post exercise. Dynamic warm ups take about 5 minutes and help get your muscles ready to exercise and increase your heart rate. It can include things like heel walks, toe walks, jumping jacks, high knees, butt kicks, and skipping. There are many free YouTube video examples of dynamic running warm-ups online that you can check out!

My favorite way to start running again after a long break is with intervals. Intervals can be whatever you want them to be, but include a period of going faster followed by a period of going slower.

Interval Examples:

  • 1 minute run, 1 minute walk, repeat until 20 minute mark.

  • 30 second run, 2 minute walk, repeat until 30 minute mark.

  • 20 second sprint at the end of every 5 minutes during a jog, repeat until the 25 minute mark.

I would recommend starting out running 2-3 times a week, and building from there. This gives your body time to recover between runs and prevents any major onset of soreness. On off days, it would be great to go for a longer walk, get on the bike or elliptical, or do some strengthening exercises.

To strengthen the major muscle groups used for running, I recommend the following exercises.

  • Side stepping with a resistance band at ankles

  • Bridges, single leg or regular

  • Squats to a box or chair

  • Walking lunges

These are just examples, most exercises work well! Remember that any exercise is better than none at all. If you are having trouble with starting a running routine or are having a nagging ache and pain, give us a call and we can help to get you through it! Or if you are someone thinking about getting into a running program again or for the first time, and feeling a little nervous and apprehensive, feel free to schedule a free consultation with one of our Therapists either by phone or in-person here:

Dr. Carleigh Rosenberg of The Green Room PT

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Clifton Park & Troy

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