Make a strong, healthy comeback to running with these tips

"Hurry slowly," says ultrarunner Emelie Forsberg.

Whether you’re returning from injury or took some time off of running because of low motivation or life stress, we have some tips from pro ski mountaineer and ultrarunner Emelie Forsberg, author of Sky Runner, on making your comeback. Norway-based Forsberg (who is ultrarunning GOAT Kilian Jornet‘s partner) has returned to racing after having two children, navigated knee surgery, and maintained her delight in training the entire time. Follow her lead and make a smooth return to tackling your running goals.

Find your motivation

Forsberg suggests taking a deep mental dive into what you love about running. She notes that your motivation and goals may have changed since you first began, and that’s OK. “Listen to your body and adjust your training according to the new circumstances,” she says.

When I went through a stressful period, I had trouble focusing on anything other than the negative: I was fitting in less mileage and running more slowly than I had ever before. Reminding myself that running and moving my body in general (walking was good, too) helped me stay healthy mentally was a great way to adjust my focus, and I was able to move through that period without being too hard on myself.

Build endurance through adventure

Forsberg says she loves taking a day to run solo between huts in the mountains. While that might be a bit ambitious for most, you can adapt similar practices to incorporate fun adventures into training and keep it fresh. Heading to a new-to-you location to fit in a longer run, or exploring with friends, and pausing for a fun lunch can be great ways to keep your journey back to peak form gentle and enjoyable.

Forsberg also suggests building endurance through double sessions–but rather than doing double runs, she will ski for part of the day, then switch to running. “The body is already tired, but you end up using different muscles,” she explains. “The training is gentle as your body is tired, but not from running, so your running muscles are still fresh.

Alternate your training

Not feeling like getting out for your usual run? Forsberg says to skip it. “Do something else instead: yoga, aerobics, dance, ice skating, cycling, boxing–the list is endless.” Removing some of the pressure you put on yourself to follow your plan and moving your body in other ways will keep you feeling fresh and motivated.

Returning to running after some time off can be challenging, and navigating the challenges with a mindset focused on seeking joy, and accepting and having fun in the process will make the time fly by and bring healthy nuance to the way you view your training.

posted Monday November 28th
by Keeley Milne