How to get your running stamina back after over a year indoors

After more than a year of orders to shelter in place, lockdowns, and other changes to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are itching to get back to their outdoor sports routines. As conditions ease, perhaps you’ve found yourself ready to start running again. However, getting back out there is often easier said than done.

It can be a rough thing, trying to get running stamina back when you’ve been stuck inside for over a year. Still, with a bit of patience and the right plan, you can achieve a relatively quick return to former performance levels. If you’re wondering how to get stamina back, don’t worry. We’ve outlined five ways you can get your training schedule back on track.

Man Running On Road
Photo by Pixabay/Pexels

Form a habit

After a significant amount of time being kept from everyday activities, it may seem a bit difficult to get your groove back. You probably demand a lot from yourself when it comes to how far you run and at what pace. However, keep in mind that distance and speed aren’t the primary factors about which you should be concerned — at least not when you’re just easing back into running.

Instead, head out at an easy pace. Pay attention to how your body feels. You may discover that it’s better if you ease into light jogging by walking briskly. You might also need to walk/run in short intervals. Running like you used to could be a bit more intense than you might expect.

The fact of the matter is that you’ve got to rebuild and recondition your leg muscles and your lung capacity. Therefore, consistency is what’s crucial here. The idea is to recommit to running without beating yourself up if you’re not immediately able to run as you did before.

Schedule your runs

As previously suggested, consistency is vital. To ensure that you’re running regularly to build your stamina back up, you should schedule your runs. Put down the days and times in your calendar. Also, make a list of your goals. For instance, maybe you want to go a distance of 3 miles the way you used to.

That’s totally fine. Go that distance, but don’t write how you’ll accomplish it just yet. When training yourself how to run again and in order to keep yourself motivated, it doesn’t matter if you actually run or walk those three miles.

Just start at point “A” and then continue until your reach point “B.” Think about reestablishing your old running habits by following a beginner’s schedule, and slowly build on that until you’ve got your stamina back.

Make sure you rest

It might sound ridiculous to say that you need to ensure proper rest when you may have spent way too much time on the couch or in bed over the past year already. However, getting enough rest is essential if you want to start running again. In fact, a best practice for those just getting back into the game is alternating running days with rest days. Run one day, then rest the next, and so on.

The reason for ensuring you rest is that your body needs to have time to recover. In the same way that a bodybuilder exercises a particular muscle group and then rests those muscles for at least a day before working that same group out again, you need to allow your leg muscles to recover.

Remember that your muscles don’t build themselves when you’re working out but rather when they’re resting. They repair and rebuild stronger than before. The entire recovery process also helps to prevent future injuries.

Go running with a group

Running by yourself can be peaceful. However, when rebuilding your routine and your body’s muscles, it could be beneficial to join a running group. Not only could it help boost your overall motivation, but you can meet people who are in the same boat you are. When you run with others, you can help each other meet specific goals, hold one another accountable, and enjoy good conversation.

There are many ways to find running groups near you. One of the easiest is to use a search engine. Another is to call up running shops or clubs to get information on running meetups.

Remain positive

When you first get back into running, it can sometimes be a bit of a downer. Feelings of frustration and annoyance may arise because your body has fallen out of shape and can’t perform precisely as it once did. However, it’s essential to keep your mind on the prize.

Keep yourself focused on your goals and take baby steps to get there if you must. As long as you’re consistent in your runs, you’ll eventually regain the stamina you once had.

Woman Running By Concrete Wall
Photo by RF._.studio/Pexels

Stay safe

While you definitely should set milestones and strive to meet them, it’s vital to be patient as you start running again. Remember that the only person you’re in competition with is yourself, and there is no rule that says you must accomplish a particular goal in a specific amount of time.

Focus on enjoying your runs, and allow your fitness levels to increase safely and naturally. Remember that it’s normal sometimes to feel frustration, but those feelings will pass. Many people are in the same situation, and it may be helpful to talk about similar experiences.

Finally, be grateful that you’re able to get back outside and run!

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