The week before you hit the road, track, or treadmill, focus on your core and on cross-training. "Do ab exercises and get on a bike or elliptical to build your leg muscles without impact," Hudson says. "The cardio will also increase your endurance."
If you used to rack up 10 miles a week, begin with two to three miles twice a week and "then increase your total mileage each week by at least 10 percent, adding on more running days, until you're back on schedule," Hudson says.
Downsize Your Stride
Your first month back, run at a leisurely pace and take small steps, especially if you're dealing with still-snowy terrain. "Aim to strike with your midfoot, which has more surface area than your heel, to keep yourself steady," Hudson suggests.
The Plan: From Couch to Cruising
This 30-day jump start from coach Brad Hudson will ease you back into a double-digit weekly mileage injury-free. Starting with the week-one plan below, you'll tack on mileage gradually. In week two, increase each run by one mile or hold steady, depending on how you feel. Continue adding a mile to your runs each week thereafter and swap in a 3- or 4-mile run on Sundays.
|Monday||Run 2 miles at an easy pace. Finish with a light total-body toning session that hits all your major muscles: Do a couple of sets of planks, step-ups, lunges and burpees.|
|Tuesday||Cross-train: Do a 40-minute bike or elliptical workout at an intensity level of 7 out of 10 (at which speech gets choppy).|
|Wednesday||Cross-train: Do a 40-minute bike or elliptical workout at level-7 intensity; add six ab exercises, such as the surefire firmers at fitnessmagazine.com/powerabs.|
Run 2 miles at an easy pace.
|Friday||Cross-train: Do a 40-minute bike or elliptical workout at level-7 intensity. Finish with Monday’s toning routine.|
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, February 2013.