8 Tips for Re-building Your Training Base After a Break

How to Re-build Your Training Base After a Winter Break

Now that the weather is starting to get warmer and there's more hours of daylight in the evening, you may be itching to get outside and run. But if you took a bit of a running break during the winter, don't expect to be running at the same level as you did in the fall. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you head outside to take advantage of the nicer weather and ease back into running:

Make slow increases.

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If you haven't run consistently all winter, start your spring training with short, easy runs -- no more than 3 or 4 miles at a time. Don't run two days in a row. One of the easiest ways to get injured is to increase your mileage too soon, before you've established a good running base. Don't bump up your mileage by more than 10 percent per week.

Watch your intensity.

Be patient with your running -- it could take as long as 4-6 weeks to re-build your running base. Don't introduce hill running or speed training until you have a solid base. And make sure you give yourself enough recovery time in between hard workouts. Be proactive about preventing injuries and keep these tips for injury prevention in mind.

Pick a race.

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A great way to stay motivated through your spring training is to pick a race that's a few months away. It will give you a goal to work toward. Just be realistic and allow yourself the proper time to get ready.
More: How to Find Local Road Races

Follow a training schedule.

If you decide to train for a late spring or summer race, find a training schedule that works for your race distance and running level. Following a training schedule will help keep you on track and prevent you from doing too much too soon.

Get used to running outside again.

If you didn't run or trained on the treadmill during the winter, you may have forgotten some important safety precautions for running outdoors. Always stay alert and make sure someone knows where you're running and when you'll be back, if you're running alone.

You do use slightly different muscles when running outside than you do when treadmill running, so you may experience some soreness, especially in your lower legs. Do some toes raises and heel raises after your runs to help stretch and strengthen your calves.

Track your progress.

As you're building (or re-building) up your fitness, it's helpful to keep a training log. You'll be able to see your progress at a glance, which will help boost your motivation. Make sure you give yourself some small rewards periodically to maintain your running motivation.

Be prepared for rain.

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You should expect to deal with some wet weather during spring training. Follow these tips for running in the rain to stay more comfortable on rainy runs.

Look ahead, don't look back.

If you took some time off from running, you may be frustrated thinking about your previous fitness level. Don’t beat yourself up and put pressure on yourself to get back into shape quickly. You'll have plenty of time to train and improve your fitness before the summer and fall racing season. Just enjoy running as you work on building up your fitness level gradually and safely.

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