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As a parent, you likely have difficulty finding time for yourself. The hustle and bustle of life can hinder your ability to squeeze exercise into your daily routine. If you’re at the point where you want to implement new healthy habits, all it takes is one small step in the right direction. Here is how to get back to working out after a long break.
The first thing to do is set proper expectations and pace yourself. You have vivid memories of working out and feeling in shape, but these are memories, not reality. You must account for your current physique and capacity, especially as a runner. If you’re accustomed to five-mile runs and have been out of the game for a few months, do not plan out another five-mile run. Take it one mile at a time, and allow yourself the space to walk for a bit if necessary.
Prepare for the Pain
You also must face the reality that your body isn’t what it used to be. You can’t whip yourself into shape quickly without consequences. You’ll need to build back the endurance you once had, which means you’ll have stitches in your side and aches in your legs. Prepare for these uncomfortable consequences of working out again by stocking up on ice packs (or ice baths) and heat patches. Also, plan a restful afternoon or day following the first day back on the run. The early days will always bring the worst pain, so knowing what to expect and how to navigate it will improve your long-term success.
An effective workout regimen will increase gradually and build momentum over time. Just as the marathon runner who sprints right out of the gate will crash and burn near the end, so will those who move from no physical activity to intensive workouts within a day. If you are training for a triathlon, you should take this same principle from running to biking and swimming. Similar things happen when you stop cycling as when you stop running, so build momentum slowly in each leg of the race.
Find a Friend
Friends make many parts of life better, especially working out. An exercising buddy won’t take the pain away, but they can bring you companionship and encouragement every step of the way. Peer pressure may not be the healthiest form of motivation, but it is effective in these circumstances. When you have a friend to push you through the tough stretches of your run, you are more likely to persevere. Find a friend who will drive you to be your best while keeping up with your pace.
Knowing how to get back to working out after a long break will help you avoid unnecessary pain and exercise burnout. When you pace yourself, prepare for the pain, find a friend, and build momentum slowly, you can make a seamless reentry into the world of running.