Just Run, Baby!
When you start running again, ease back into it with a plan. You’ll definitely want to start logging miles on long, slow runs, but don’t get lulled into running only long and slow just because that’s what you’ve always done or that’s what many training plans suggest. Build up your mileage slowly after your hiatus as to avoid overuse injuries or fatigue. But also mix in a few things that will engage your fast-twitch muscles, perhaps in the form of short and moderately fast tempo runs, long runs with a negative split, or a medium-length progression run that starts slow and increases in pace every two miles or so.
Throw in two or three easy buildup strides a couple of times a week just to get some snap into your legs. Also, start early with dynamic warm-up drills that initiate efficient running form and you’ll be well on your way to building a new you out on the run. Keep everything under control until the springtime, saving hard efforts and fast intervals for later, but make sure you get some variety in your training, says Mike Ricci, a USA Triathlon Level III coach and head coach of D3 Multisport in Colorado.
“The one thing you can do to make yourself better is to run consistently,” Ricci says. “Even though it’s winter and it’s cold outside, you can run on a treadmill. There is no reason not to run in the winter—you can even create a fun hill workout on the treadmill by playing with different speeds and grades. You don’t need to kill yourself, but there is a lot you can do in the winter to make yourself a better runner next summer.”