How to Create a Running Routine

Tried & True Steps to Getting Back on Course

If there’s one thing Saucony Ambassador Steph McGregor knows it’s how to run her world. An avid traveller, runner, and physiotherapist, we can’t think of anyone better to share thoughts on getting back into a routine after some time off. Whether you’ve been sidelined by a relaxing vacation, school, work or just life itself, those first few steps can be tough ones to muster! We caught up to Steph on a whirlwind trip through the UK and France and asked her for some tried and true tips on how to get back on course after some time away.

One of the most important steps you can take to make sure you can easily move back into your routine is to start planning for it – while you’re still away. I usually start to think about it a few days before the end of a vacation or holidays and I will actually write down a training plan. A huge thing for me is my diet (which is in treat-yo'self-mode while I'm away!), so when I get back I usually do a detox or cleanse for a week. Not only do I feel like I need a detox after being away (I like the 21 Day Sugar Detox), I like that it gives me a grocery list and meal ideas when I haven't been thinking about either of those things.

However, all the planning in the world won’t guarantee you’ll feel motivated to take those first steps out of your new-found comfort zone! Luckily, there are some “tricks” to holding yourself accountable. I like to schedule appointments with myself – just like any other appointment you wouldn’t break if you made it with someone else. So in the first week back, I’ll book a class, arrange a run with a group (for me it’s my run group), or even just a workout with a friend to keep myself honest. Other than that, I try to take away expectations – of pace, weights or whatever the gauge is – and just keep the focus on the effort and showing up.

It’s important to consider how much time you’ve had off, because there is a danger in picking up right where you left off. Never disobey the Rule of TOOs! As a physiotherapist, I see this with my patients all the time. They do TOO much, TOO fast and TOO soon. They rush back to workouts, distances, speeds, weights, whatever it may be, that are TOO much more than what they've been doing – and they overload their body! It's easy to get excited and want to race back into things; but it doesn't usually end well and I would never recommend it.

I have a 10-20% Rule, meaning you shouldn't increase the load you're putting on your body per week by more than 10 to 20% because you need to let your body adapt to the change. If it can't adapt, it gets overtaxed, and you get hurt.

In the end, a routine can be a very helpful ally when it comes to fitness, whether it’s to switch out of vacation mode or just to make a positive change in your life. By writing it down and planning ahead (especially if you book time with others), you're so much more likely to stick with it! It's an easy thing to plan... And, it's like they say right? Fail to plan, plan to fail!