How to Make a Running Comeback in 5 Steps

Two years ago, Thor Eakes wanted to start running. The only problem was that he hadn't run in more than 20 years. In his early 20s he had been running 40 to 50 mile weeks, but his last marathon was in 1984.

Back then he weighed 165 pounds and finished with a 3:42 time. Now an extra 60 pounds, he was left wondering whether he had it in him to start over. He found that trying to make a running comeback was harder than starting as a complete newbie.

Here are five tips that Thor used to become a strong runner for the second time. Try them in your own running routine to stay motivated and train well.

1. Join a running group.

Having company and accountability is important. It's easy to become unmotivated when you know what your body used to be capable of. Some peer pressure can help keep you on track and make great friends. When they run local races, join them. A good running group will support you every step of your journey.

2. Run at your own pace.

Don't be afraid to start slow. Getting out to each run is what counts. Don't become distracted by what other people are doing or what speeds they are hitting. Start off with a short comfortable distance and increase your mileage each week. Make your races your own.

3. Set running goals and keep a log.

Tracking your runs will help encourage you when you see that you've been making progress. Be patient with yourself. Some days you may feel happy with your improvements, and other days you may feel slow. Focus on the big picture and always keep up with your workouts.

4. Make running a priority.

It's easy to become distracted with life. When we fall out of the habit of running, other things start becoming more important and it's hard to switch back to old routines. Schedule your runs and make appointments with yourself or with your running group. Resist the temptation to skip a run.

5. Believe you can do it.

You did it once. You can do it again. Motivation can be tricky if you've been off track for a long time. We crave instant results, but staying focused will pay off in the long run. Come up with fresh mantras. Write down some inspirational quotes. Listen to music. Do whatever it takes to keep your spirits up and your head high.  

Making a running comeback is never easy. But if Thor did it, so can you.

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Vanessa Rodriguez is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, an ultra-endurance athlete, and an online editor for Active.com.

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