If you haven’t run in a while and you’re worried about getting back into it, you’re not alone. Setbacks can happen to anyone, and everyone takes a different amount of time to return to running confidently. When you are coming back from a long break or an injury, it’s easy to compare your current fitness with your former results, but understanding your setback can help you to gain confidence and motivate you to get back on track.
Here are a few things to remember to build back your confidence.
Set short-term goals
Long-term goals are easy to set, but hard to achieve. Everyone can dream of making their comeback at Boston or getting back to their previous fitness, but physically getting there requires confidence in your training.
Instead of setting a long-term goal, focus on a few shorter-term goals, so you can enjoy a feeling of accomplishment before you tackle bigger ones. Short-term goals can help increase your motivation to keep working toward your long-term goal.
Take it slowly
Whatever you do, do not rush your return to running. Regardless of where you are at in your training, it’s essential to listen to your body and take plenty of rest days, rather than trying to cram all the running you missed into the next few weeks. Returning to your previous fitness will take time, and it’s better to start with a few weeks of easy jogging before hopping into hard workouts.
Get into a routine
Finding a training plan for a short-term goal (like a 5K or 10K six or eight weeks from now) and setting a running routine can help you get back on track. Once you find a routine of running two or three times a week, your training runs will begin to feel like second nature again, and you’ll look forward to them, instead of dreading them.
Knowing what you can expect in your training can help boost your confidence levels.
Enjoy the process
Rome wasn’t built in one day, and neither was your marathon prep. Enjoy the process of your training build, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get runs done. Progress takes time.
If you are still struggling with running confidently, it may be a sign you need more time off or a different structure to your training. Running should be fun, and it’s crucial to find a balance in your training between regular efforts, hard efforts and recovery.