Congratulate yourself on this decision. You are one of those few people who have the courage to break down their internal walls. I would highly recommend you to go through our post Why Am I So Slow At Running And How To Improve It? when you have time. It will help you to prepare yourself better for your upcoming run session. Another good post to visit will be, How To Increase Running Stamina When You Are Just A Beginner?

how to start running after a long break? If you are unsure and want to get back to running as fast as possible, here are some running tips to get you going.

how to start running after a long break? If you are unsure and want to get back to running as fast as possible, here are some running tips to get you going.

How To Start Running Again After Years?

If you are trying to get back to running after a couple of years, then it is going to be difficult. You have changed, your circumstances have changed. Nonetheless, you can start running again after years. Here is what you need to do.

  • Start with an open mind
  • Go Shopping
  • Have a clear idea of the end result
  • Have a plan
  • Rebuild Your Running Endurance
  • Join A Running Group
  • Cross Train To Build Fitness
  • Avoid doing too much too soon
  • Develop the habit first

Start With An Open Mind

You may have been a runner in the past. The person you are now is completely different than the one in the past.

Your performance level may have gone down to a frustrating level. Every 2 secs you may have to catch the breath.

You may want to give up at one point in time. Prepare yourself for these adversities, before you start.

Your mind will be much open in accepting this new person.

Also, take one day at a time. In general, the longer you have taken a break, the slower you will be in getting back your earlier form.

Here is a general time guideline: 

Time Off ROR (Rate Of Return)
1 Week Or Less You can resume your usual training right away
Up to 10 days Start with 70% of your mileage and build it you from there
15-30 Days Start with 60% of your mileage and build it you from there
30 Days To 3 Months Start with 50% of your mileage and build it you from there
Longer than 3 Months Start From Scratch

What you need to do is to train your mind to accept yourself. If you are serious about it, check out Udemy for how to control your mind

If you purchase from this link, you will get this course @ $10 

Go Shopping

When you are starting something new, it is a good idea to purchase some new gears.

It acts as a bit of motivation and you will eventually end up running.

Also, there are other reasons as well. You may dust off the cobweb from your old pair of shoes and start running

However, you will be in a lot of discomfort.

First of all, the shoe may have hardened due to lack of use and aging. Your feet may have changed or needed special care now.

Also, with years of not running, probably you have gained some weight. This will put extra weight on the shoe and it may not be able to provide proper support to you. In that matter, HOKA ONE ONE Hoka Bondi 5 will be a much better choice for you.

So, it is a good idea to start fresh. But before you go shopping, know your options. Here are some that we have already reviewed for you.

It will help you to make an informed decision.

If you suffer from bunions, then your feet will need additional care. These posts will give you a clear idea of what are the options you have

Have a clear idea of the end result

If you don’t know what is your target, how will you aim it? This is true for everything in your life. If you want to achieve something, think about what should be the outcome.

Then, work backward from it and devise a plan. So, how the target look like?

There are basically two types of target. Anything else is just a derivative of these two.

Time-Based Target

Decide on how long you want to run at a stretch?

Is it 10 min, 20 min, 30 min or 1 hour?

It can be anything, however, have a concrete number in your mind. This will give you a sense of achievement when you surpass it.

Also, will help you to get back on track once you fall off the wagon.

Distance-based target

You may want to run a particular distance as part of the target. It could be 1 mile, 5K, 10K or even a marathon.

Again as above think about the concrete number to propel you forward.

Once you have decided on your target, write it down. Studies show that you will have 33% more chance of achieving your target if you have written it down.

Also, keep in mind that, your goals should be SMART which is,





T=Time bound.

If your goal is not time-bound, it is not a goal, it is just a wish. And guess what? Our wishes rarely come true.

Also, I would recommend getting a fitness tracker like Garmin Vivoactive 3

This will give you accurate measurements of steps take, calories burnt, etc. You will also have you exercise history on your smartphone a tap away.

Garmin vívoactive 3, GPS Smartwatch with Contactless Payments and Built-in Sports Apps, White/Rose Gold

Have A Plan

Now that you know what your target is, you need to come up with a plan.

Why a plan?

Because life get’s in the way. If we don’t plan our runs, we will definitely give it less priority.

As a result, you will give up even before properly trying.

You don’t have to have anything fancy. However, these are the elements of your running plan:

  • When will you run in a day?
  • How long will you run in a day?
  • How many days in a week will you be running?
  • Any obstructions you may face in the near future?
  • By how much you should increase your weekly mileage?
  • What dietary changes need to do to achieve your goals?
  • How will you implement that?

Once you have detailed answers to all these questions, your plan is ready.

Cross Train To Build Fitness

Cross training is essential for every runner. It will give the strength and endurance that you need to continue running.

Also, it will break the monotony of running every day.

You have plenty of options for cross training. Here are a couple of options:

  • Strength training
  • Body weight exercises
  • Regular gymming
  • Yoga
  • Climbing
  • Swimming, etc.

You can pick up anything you like, as long as you cross train. You can do this in a gym or at home.

Infact, if you want to get a full body workout at a fraction of the cost of gym membership, go for a rowing machine like Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine

Rebuild Your Running Endurance

If you have not run in years, you will get a rude shock on the tracks.

While regular exercises will build your endurance overall, running endurance require a laser focus approach,

You will be out of breath every few seconds, your pace has reduced.

Those parts of your body will pain which you never knew existed.

So, does that mean that you give up?

No… Hell No.

You have to tackle this gradually.

Check the above chart and start according to the suggested mileage.

But to be clear, if you are starting after years, then you are starting from scratch.

Step-By-Step Plan to increase your mileage

Step 1: Find out your basic mileage.

Here you can calculate distance but I prefer time as improving 5 secs every other day will not seem difficult

Step 2: Record it in a journal.

(We will revisit it every week.)

Step 3: Continue to run at this mileage for the rest of the week

Step 4: Find out what is the 10% of that mileage and add that to your current mileage.

For example, you base mileage today is 100m

Then 10% of 100m = 10m

Now your, next week’s mileage should be 100m+10m=110m

If you are using time as your goal, then here is the example for you:

Let’s say, on the first day you could run 30 sec continuously


10% Of 30 secs = 3 secs

So, next week your goal is to run,

30 secs + 3 secs = 33 secs continuously

Step 5: Do some cross training. Body weight training is best. Here is a completely FREE 4 Weeks home HIIT program to get you started 

Step 6: Plan rest days. These are extremely important for the recovery of your body.

Step 7: At the end of the month, check if you have hit your planned goal or not.

This you can find out from the plan that you have created in the build your plan step.

Step 8: Post your achievement in online groups at the end of every week.

Step 9: Baske in the glory of your achievement 🙂

Join A Running Group

If you surround yourself with like-minded people, the chances of your success increase manifold.

Your tribe will be able to provide you with guidance and support when you need it.

Also, they will hold you accountable if you fall off the wagon.

There are plenty of such groups in and around you. Find out one and enroll.

Another way to do it is to join some virtual group. Facebook Groups are a great option.

You can go there and announce your goals and request them to help you reach your goals.

You can post your running pictures and progress.

The instant likes and appreciation will keep you motivated.

Avoid doing too much too soon

This is what most of us are guilty of. Once we get into the groove, we are too eager to go back to our previous form.

What happens? We get injured and have to sit on the sideline for a lot of time.

And if it happens multiple time, we end up losing hope and giving up.

So as a rule of thumb, increase your mileage only by 10% per week.

If you are finding it difficult, increase it by 7 or 8% or even less. Do, whatever feels right for your body.

And mo matter what, don’t try to do too much too soon.

Develop the habit first

Before you can run at your full potential, you will have to develop the habit of running.

For that apart from other things, you will have to prioritize running. This is why we have created the plan.

It will be beneficial if you can do the routine during a particular time. This will help you to develop the habit faster.

But if you are finding it difficult to start off with your set plan, here is another way to do it.

Start off by trying to prepare for the run. No, I don’t mean any workout and all.

It is a way simpler concept than that.

Start by getting dressed for running. No, you are not going out of the door yet.

You will just dress up, watch your self in the mirror and then change back to your pajamas and continue your normal daily routine.

Do this for a couple of days. In fact, you can further break it down into just putting on one running cloth at a time.

Do, whatever, is comfortable for you.

Then after a couple of days, just open the main door with an intention to go out.

Here the big word is the intention. You are not going out yet.

Again, do this for a couple of days. Then, you finally step out of your house.

Go outside, take some fresh air, and count 10. You are still standing in front of your house.

Then you go back inside and go on with the rest of the day.

After a couple of days, you take just one round around your house and come back.

A couple of days do this, and now you are finally ready to start following your plan.

So, the next logical step will be to start following your plan.

I got this idea from the book Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results by Stephen Guise. For a better understanding of this concept, check out his book

Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results (Volume 1)


You can start running again after years. You will have to just have an open mind and the determination to succeed. If you have those two, your body will follow their lead.

So, if you are sitting on the fence and thinking to start, don’t worry. Just start. Everything will be fine.

Let me know if you need any help in getting started. I’ll help you out.

Getting back to running after a break is difficult and if you are running after years then it will be very challenging. These running tips will help you to succeed to start running again. Make sure to include them in your running plan.

Getting back to running after a break is difficult and if you are running after years then it will be very challenging. These running tips will help you to succeed to start running again. Make sure to include them in your running plan.

Madhusree Basu

Madhusree Basu

Author, Admin

Blogger and a fitness enthusiast. She loves running and Yoga and everything in between. She started running to manage her weight and to eat to her heart’s content. A true foodie at heart she shares whatever knowledge she has gained throughout the years about weight management and fitness.

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