For several weeks, the lockdown has reduced your physical activity to the bare minimum. Forced to jog within a radius of half a mile around your home, for less than an hour, you've surely been using this opportunity to recover physically, and it has fuelled your desire to run tenfold and/or to make some good resolutions!
But now it's time to get back to work! Finally, you'll be able to let loose without time or space restrictions. Be careful, however, because during lockdown you probably put on a bit of weight, lost a bit of muscle and lost some respiratory capacity! So now you find yourself in a transition period, comparable to recovering from an injury, where the risk of pain is high. So you have to work gradually and diligently at patiently rebuilding the solid foundations so you can enjoy the miles you've been deprived of all summer long.
Here are our 10 expert tips for getting back to running safely and smoothly.
You'll be very eager and enthusiastic when you come out of this lockdown! You'll be hungry for miles! However, after a few weeks of an almost sedentary life, you must try and pace yourself so that you don't end up with an injury, often of an inflammatory nature, which is often the consequence of starting running again "too hard" and "too fast". The key to success: rebuild your core stamina as a base and then gradually increase the duration and intensity of your running!
Feeling fit and like you're at your full capacity will take several weeks to come back. That is totally normal! Don't rush your body! However, teach it to appreciate the (great) feeling of exerting itself again. Get serious about your training, while avoiding overly heavy training. At first, opt for several football games sensibly spread over the week, rather than one or two long sessions.
At the start of the lockdown, your body didn't just press the "Pause" button. So you won't automatically be in the same shape when you press the "Play" button again, starting 11th May. You will not pick up just where you left off. You have to accept you made a small step backwards in spring so that you can take two steps forward this summer. Here's a tip to help you: leave your smartwatch at home and just run on pure instinct!
Recovery is often the ideal time to "tidy up" your sports gear and try new things. Especially if you felt pain on a regular basis before lockdown! This is the ideal time to experiment with all the benefits in terms of comfort, performance and stability that the right pair of insoles for your feet can provide.
You've obviously lost some of your proprioceptive qualities. Therefore, at first, it's best to go for "track" type routes, or even tarmac, instead of ultra-technical mountainous singles, otherwise you'll be inactive for even longer due to an ankle sprain.
When you start running again, think of your body as a diesel engine that you have to start up again gradually. To do this, you need to make a point of warming up properly, even if it means starting at slower speeds, even if it means doing little exercises (knee bends, heel to buttock stretches) that will probably remind you of your "school years".
Recovery is not just a concept for performance athletes. Far from it! Whatever your level, you will instantly feel the benefits. Especially at a phase like this where the risk of injury is high. Stretching, massaging your feet, wearing support socks or walking in sandals that help improve circulation are very easy measures to implement.
Lockdown has seen a resurgence in a market that is often decried by sportsmen: home fitness equipment. If your exercise bike has slipped into your workout routine, do everything you can to keep it there. Or at least keep using your bike, since you are now allowed to cycle outside. Cycling is actually very complementary to running... You can do more sport with less muscle strain, and it's good for the planet! What more could you ask for?
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Have you got into GPP, proprioceptive exercises and abdominal exercises during all the long days at home? Don't end your honeymoon period with all these! They make your muscles stronger and more alert as well as toughening them up. And if you do them properly, they reduce the risk of injury.
The good thing about being deprived of something is that you realise how important it was to you! So the next time you play football, smile, and just savour it. Make that enjoyment the basis of your motivation. After all, you shouldn't leave enjoyment at home languishing now you finally have the right to run around freely!