It’s a new year, and despite the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming season of races, runners everywhere are setting new goals for 2021. For some, this means embarking on a new training plan to beat their marathon PB, while others may be simply trying to get back on track after some time off. If you are in the latter group, returning to training after taking a break over the holidays can be a daunting task. We turned to two-time Olympian Reid Coolsaet for advice on how runners can safely return to training after taking time off.
Coolsaet says that when getting himself or an athlete back into workouts after a break, he prefers to place less of an expectation on pace and instead focus on good form. To do this, he breaks up the workout into intervals in order to periodically assess how he or his athlete is feeling.
“The rests are short in order to keep the interval pace relatively slow,” he says. “I want to ease into the first couple of workouts.”
An example of a typical workout like this is as follows:
15- to 20-minute warmup run.
5 x 2 minutes with 1 minute recovery between each interval.
10 – 15 minute cooldown run.
For pacing, Coolsaet says that the two-minute intervals should range between 10K and half-marathon pace, and the one-minute rest should be a very slow jog. This workout could be made more challenging by adding intervals and by running them at 5K pace, but he says that is for when an athlete is in better shape, not when they’re coming back from time off.