September 23, 2015

The Long Road Back - Part 2: Baby Steps

This is the second installment of a 4-part series on getting back into running after a long layoff. This series began with Part 1: Check your ego at the door where I listed 4 things to remember as you make your way back to being a runner. If you followed that advice, you are properly dressed and shod, and now have the right attitude as you head out the door for your first run. So, the second important point to remember when getting back to running is:

Part 2: Baby Steps

The goal is for you to resume being a runner, which generally means running more than once in a while. In other words, we are going to run more days of the week than not. That said, here are 6 strategies for designing your workouts...
  1. It’s time for a change of scenery…A really good trick is to go somewhere different for your runs. Instead of returning to your same tried and true running courses, maybe drive to a park you haven’t run at before. That way, you will be less tempted to compare your performance to that of the past and it will give you something to look forward to.
  1. Run every day (almost)…I have found an effective approach is to run a little every day, even if it is only a half mile. The body gets “shocked” a lot less by 6 1-mile runs than 1 6-mile run. Also, the latest research says, “Running, even 5-10 minutes a day, at slow speeds, even slower than 6 miles per hour [10:00 minute pace], is associated with markedly reduced risks of death from all causes and cardiovascular disease.” Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk
  2. Double down…Because my foot is still not fully recovered from tendonitis, I have found that if I run twice a day, but for a shorter distance, my foot will tolerate it. So, running 4 miles at a time doesn’t work for me, but two 2-mile runs in one day does work for me. This strategy is good for both keeping the metabolism going all day, and for getting your miles in as your weight comes back down.
  1. Listen to your heart…Even though it is not as exacting as training on a bicycle with a power meter, running with a heart rate monitor (HRM) does provide feedback for not training too hard or not hard enough. An excellent review of the current HRMs can be found at DC Rainmaker's Gadget Recommendations and for comparing HRMs Product Comparison Calculator 
  2. Slow down, you’re movin’ too fast…an excellent system for training after a long layoff, especially due to injury, is The Maffetone Method. This method utilizes training at a lower heart rate to rebuild your base. But whether or not you use the Maffetone Method or not, a system of training is better than no system. Others include Daniels, Lydiard, Galloway, etc.
  1. Take a look at yourself…as you are now running just a little bit, now is a really good time to examine your form. For an excellent video on form by Chris Thornham of Flo Cycling, check out Good Form Running - 5 tips for proper form to reduce injury, get faster, and save energy!
  1. Keep a log…now is a really good time to begin logging your training, making sure to note time, distance, pace, shoes, etc. Keeping a log can provide both motivation, as well as clues if an injury starts to recur. There are many apps for your phone and free logs for your computer available.

So now that we have you running again, check back for “Part 3: Where are you going?” where I discuss setting goals for your running.


StrideTek is manufacturer of high performance footgear including a patented orthotic insole and flip flop sandal that encourages proper biomechanics throughout the stride gait, reducing and eliminating pain from plantar fasciitis, shin splints, high arches, and many other foot issues.

Larry LaHodny has a B.S. in Physical Education, with Emphasis in Sports Medicine from Willamette University and an M.B.A. from National University. Larry has over 20 years’ experience coaching runners, including at the youth, high school, and adult level. Larry has trained National Champions, All-Americans, State Champions, and Boston Marathon qualifiers. 


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