Training plan to get you back into running after a burnout or long break
This plan is for you if you have been totally catapulted out of running. Maybe life just happened, or you had a burnout. This plan is for you to get back into running with a very slow build up to give your body time to adjust.
At the end of 3 months you can run again 45min. The whole plan is time based, so you don't have to focus on distance or pace but just run at whatever your body feels at any given day. Often we think we have to run a certain pace and compare ourselves. It's just crazy how hard we can be on ourselves. Please ignore your pace and trust your body. The pace will come back once you get stronger.
My own recovery
I went myself from running 40km runs during the weekend whilst training for a 60km trail race to not running for weeks due to a burnout. I was so exhausted, I could not even do Yoga without falling asleep on my mat and needed hour long naps after buying groceries. At some point I started again with very short runs. All of my runs had walking breaks in them.
I am now 2.5 years from my breakdown and currently training for a 24h Ultramarathon. I had been so exhausted at some point, I had 0 hope I could ever run again at all.
I hope this plan can help you get back really, really slowly. I believe in you! Please skip the run if you feel too tired. Run all of it slow and see if you can listen to what your body needs.
How do you know if you're ready to start running again?
I can speak only from personal experience and friends around me on this one. I think you could try this plan:
If going on longer walks does not leave you so exhausted that you need a nap ASAP.
You envy runners when they run past you.
Your energy level is more stable again.
Your doctor/ naturopath gave you the ok to try it.
How to use this plan:
Strength can be anything you enjoy. It's easier if you already have a habit. If you like to go weekly to your local pilates class, just keep on doing that. If you haven't added any strength workouts to your life, start with some online videos of barre or core. Often all you need is your own bodyweight and a mat.
Rest days! They are super important and key to your recovery (trust me on this one). If you work hybrid, those might be the days you commute to the office which can be exhausting and long days. Rest can also be active in the form of walks or restorative/yin yoga. As long as it feels recharging to you it's rest.
Is for your mid-week run. Half way in your run you have a walk break to help you lower your heart rate. Keep the pace beyond slow to start. Forget what your watch or app is telling you. It's hard not to compare yourself with a pre-burnout version of yourself. This is your invitation to run based on what feels good that day and more intuitively.
Is for your weekend long run. Please don't worry about it and walk as much of it as needed. There will for sure be amazing days where 20min feels easy and days where it does not. I can highly recommend to pay more attention to how your recovery after the run is, versus the pace of your run.
I put in Yoga, but can also be a long walk with your dog. If you skip yoga, don't forget to stretch well at some point during your running week.
The days are flexible and a certain training does not have to happen on a specific day. You know your own energy levels and routine that works for you. Important is though that not all movement days are after each other and there is sufficient rest in-between.
Be kind to yourself and trust me - even though it might not feel like it now you will be able to run again & run long if that's what you love.
Let me know if this plan is helpful for you & of course share it with anyone else in recovery.
Download the full plan here for free: