5 Ways to Get Back into Running After the Winter Break

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5 Ways to Get Back into Running After the Winter Break

Want to lace up your tennies, but not sure how to get back into running after a winter hiatus? Here are 5 ways to get back in running shape just in time for spring.
 5 Ways to Get Back into Running after Winter Break


 Hi everyone!


It’s almost spring!  Can you feel it?  I always seem to breathe a sigh of relief in March, knowing that the bulk of winter is behind us.  We can still get cold weather and snow (our BIG Blizzard in Asheville was in March) but we also start getting more warm days as well.  The past few days have even been in the 60’s! Our winter days are numbered.  I’ve even put up my Easter decor.

Now, I keep up with running during winter, but I know for many of you winter is a time to work on other indoor fitness pursuits.  With spring just around the corner, it’s time to start getting those miles back in to get ready for the spring and summer racing season.  Racing this time of year is one of my absolute favorite things about running.

 5 Ways to Start Running Again After the Winter Break


 1.  Start off Slow

Think about it.  You’re outside, breathing fresh air and getting ready to take off for your first run in months.  You are pumped and set off at your 5K pace from last fall.  Your legs feel so fresh, you even pick up the pace.  Just as quickly as you feel amazing, you bonk out with a cramp or lack of stamina.  Even if you’ve stayed fit in “off season,” running requires different muscles and lung capacity than other fitness activities.  Unless you are Superman, you will most likely need to start off slower than you were running last fall.  If you start your pace off a full minute slower than you remember running last, you are more likely to have a successful first run and not bonk out.  Remember, the first time out is all about building some muscle memory and confidence back.

You’re speed will most likely come back quicker than you think, but start those first few runs at a snail pace.


 Running (1 of 3)

2. Consider Walk Intervals

 If running is something that does not come naturally to you and you’ve taken several months off, consider going back to walk intervals.  I’ve had to build my running base back so many times and this is how I do it.  The first run I do .40 mile running and .10 walking to get to three miles.  Depending on how I feel, I do that again or move on.  Next step is .90 run and .10 walk.  The third step is only one .10 walk interval in the middle and finally I build back up to three miles without stopping.


I find I get much less frustrated this way and am able to acclimate my body back to running in an easy way.
Running (3 of 3)

3. Don’t Slack Off on Warm-up and Cool-downs

 Don’t get so excited about running on a beautiful 60 degree, sunny spring day that you forget all the other stuff that comes with running!  Start your workout with 5-10 minute walk to very slow jog (depending on your fitness level.)  Then do some dynamic stretches before you actually start your run.  Finish your run with another 5-10 minute walk or very slow jog.  The last thing you should do are some long slow stretches.  Include some yoga favorites like downward dog and pigeon pose to help prevent injuries.
Spring is one of the most common times for running injuries!  Don’t be a victim too.

 4. Sign Up For an Adventure Race

 Need some inspiration to really get back into running?  Use all that cross-training muscle strength you gained in the off season, combine it with your fresh running skills and sign up for an adventure race! Spring is the perfect time to put ALL your athletic prowess to the test.


And run on water!  Of course…


The Ninja Challenge-4


Looking for the perfect adventure race?  Try the Ninja Challenge Obstacle Run in Raleigh, NC on May 21st, 2016.




Ninja Challenge Obstacle Run is a 5K that also incorporates ninja moves like running up a wall…


The Ninja Challenge-6


… swinging through an obstacle course…


The Ninja Challenge-1


… throwing real ninja stars and even avoiding “enemy attacks.”  Where else are you going to use all these skills in one place, feel mega-empowered and have an epic good time?


The Ninja Challenge-3


Signing up for an obstacle race like the Ninja Challenge Obstacle Run in May is the ideal way to motivate yourself to keep up with your cross-training AND get the miles into your training plan.  The Ninja Challenge Obstacle Run is even going to be helping those who sign up on their Facebook page with free workouts that will help you train for the big day.


If you are feeling especially tough you can take on the challenge of beating the Super Ninjas running along side regular ninjas in each wave of the race.  If you beat one, you will be added to the Super Ninja Hall of Fame.  I really just want to know a Super Ninja… so can someone try this?


  5. Join a Training Group or Recruit Friends

If you need extra motivation to get running again, start by joining a training group or recruiting friends.  Local running stores have running groups for all shapes and abilities.  Running with friends is the best motivation you can have.


You can also recruit your friends to sign up for a race with you!  How much fun would it be to get ready to be a Ninja with your closest pals?  Although you can run by yourself, The Ninja Challenge Obstacle Run recommends running the race in groups, so it’s the perfect time to get in shape with your friends.


The best motivation to getting back into running is meeting your friends for training and planning all the fun antics at a theme race like this!  Costume planning anyone?


The Ninja Challenge-2


Don’t forget the Ninja Challenge Obstacle Run.  It will be a fabulous day of stealthy fun, crazy excitement, confidence building challenges and bringing out your inner ninja.


Guess what?! I have an exclusive Running in a Skirt coupon code to share with you!  Enter NINJASKIRT at registration to save $5.  The registration fee is $55, but will go up to $60 in just a few days on March 4th.  The Raleigh race is even a charity race, and a portion of our proceeds go to the Red Cross, Triangle Aquatic Center and USA Swimming’s Make a Splash program. 


You can also feel good about taking the kids!  It is a family friendly event and there will be a FREE kid-only race for kids 8 and under.


Find more details on the Ninja Challenge Website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram. 


So who’s feeling Ninja worthy?


Thanks for stopping by today!  Come back tomorrow for a guilt-free, healthy version of the Shamrock Shake.

I’m linking this post Running Coaches CornerThinking Out Loud ThursdayJill Conyers for Fitness Friday and FitLinkup and Annmarie for Wild Workout Wednesday.

Your turn!

Check out the Ninja Challenge’s obstacles and let me know which one would be the hardest for you.

Have you ever done an obstacle race?


  1. Cindy March 19, 2016 at 6:27 am - Reply

    Hello Julie, Running in spring, the feeling is so good. The tips are refreshing. Adventure race sounds good.

  2. You will never see me run an obstacle race, lol. I’m such a clutz I would totally injure myself. Looks like fun for those that like them though!

  3. Debbie Denny March 7, 2016 at 8:06 am - Reply

    Easing back into running is smart.You have some good advice for runners.

  4. CourtneyLynne March 6, 2016 at 4:18 pm - Reply

    These are some great tips! It’s always so hard to get back into working out after a break!

    • JulieWunder March 8, 2016 at 3:02 pm - Reply

      It is! It’s nice to ease into it or sign up for something fun like the Ninja Challenge.

  5. Allison Barrett Carter March 6, 2016 at 9:01 am - Reply

    I love so much about this post Julie! I need the tips right now, they are so timely, and I had no idea the ninja run existed. Thanks for this!

  6. Janelle @ Run With No Regrets March 4, 2016 at 9:49 am - Reply

    It’s important to not rush into running after a break, and you’ve explained it so well! Run/walk intervals are a great way to ease back into everything. I’ve never done the Ninja challenge, it sounds fun! I love all the varieties of fitness events that are out there, but I need to work on my pull ups!

    • JulieWunder March 5, 2016 at 10:07 am - Reply

      Me too! Upper body strength is not my best fitness attribute πŸ™‚ To much running — haha!

  7. Jen March 4, 2016 at 7:35 am - Reply

    I So should have listened to tip #1. About 2 weeks ago, I decided go on a run. I hadn’t run more than 1.5 miles in months…months! So I was feeling good and decided to run 3. My calves were screaming for DAYS!

    • JulieWunder March 5, 2016 at 10:03 am - Reply

      Oh noooo!! I’ve learned the hard way so many times too. πŸ™‚ Hope those calves are feeling better.

  8. Liz March 4, 2016 at 12:40 am - Reply

    I’ve looked at that Ninja Challenge race for a couple years now, maybe this year I’ll have to sign up!

    • JulieWunder March 5, 2016 at 10:00 am - Reply

      You should! It looks like a blast! Don’t forget about my coupon code.

  9. Rachel March 3, 2016 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    Great tips. I’ve been enjoying more outside runs lately. I’m tired of the treadmill. The Ninja race looks fun, but May is super busy with end of school preparations.

    • JulieWunder March 5, 2016 at 10:00 am - Reply

      It is! It’s such a pretty time to race though– weather is usually perfect! Great to see you here today.

  10. Hollie March 3, 2016 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    This is a great post and definitely useful for a lot of people. I always pick mini goals to get myself to each race. I find having those smaller races to look forward too, help me feel more confident as I come back into shape.

  11. Liz Mays March 3, 2016 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    Adding some fun events into things would really help regenerate some enthusiasm for moving! Great idea!

  12. Autumn @AutumnPTW March 2, 2016 at 10:19 pm - Reply

    Great tips! I cant wait to get outside, Im definatly getting spring fever. The ninja race looks like a blast! Thanks for sharing

  13. That ninja run looks hard! I’ve never done an adventure race. I’m so afraid of hurting myself. Heck, I get hurt just running a regular race..

    • JulieWunder March 5, 2016 at 9:51 am - Reply

      Haha! I feel ya! I’m sure training properly for something like this would help though! It looks like fun!

  14. [email protected] March 2, 2016 at 9:36 pm - Reply

    That Ninja obstacle race sound fun. It’d break up the running a bit. I have never ran one of thoze. I just finally ran outside for the first time in awhile. I ended up doing 13. It was just too beutiful not to. Now we are suppose to get snow again this wkend! Yuck!

    • JulieWunder March 5, 2016 at 9:51 am - Reply

      Ugh! It’s cold here again too but we’re expecting 60s next week. The end is in sight!

  15. Sonali- The Foodie Physician March 2, 2016 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the great tips! Now that I live in Florida, I’m definitely a little spoiled because I don’t have to go through the harsh winters anymore, but I still find it hard to motivate at times. I especially like your tip about running with friends (or husband, in my case)- it’s a huge motivating factor!

    • JulieWunder March 5, 2016 at 9:50 am - Reply

      I miss Florida… especially in the winter! It’s nice to have that motivation.

  16. Caroline March 2, 2016 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    I don’t run but I’d love to start. Those are great tips, not sure I’m ready for a race like this one but I’ll get to it eventually.

  17. Michele March 2, 2016 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    Run–me–no, my friends don’t either. As for an obstacle course my old body is not in very good shape anymore although the Ninja Race does sound like a fun time will be had by all.

  18. Jaime March 2, 2016 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    I know I won’t be in running shape (or cleared for running) until June, so I’m sad to miss out on this! I haven’t done an obstacle race before, but it’s definitely something I want to try one day.

    • JulieWunder March 5, 2016 at 9:48 am - Reply

      Wouldn’t it be fun! Maybe a comeback race for next spring together?! πŸ™‚

  19. Adriana March 2, 2016 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    This is great! It’s finally starting to warm up again and yesterday was my first run since the fall, it felt great!

    • JulieWunder March 5, 2016 at 9:48 am - Reply

      Don’t you just love spring?!! So nice to see you here today!

  20. Laura @ This Runner's Recipes March 2, 2016 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    Great tips! I think run/walk intervals are great for people switching back to outside from the treadmill or no running. Especially when the weather is windy as spring weather can be!

    • JulieWunder March 5, 2016 at 9:47 am - Reply

      I totally agree. It’s nice to ease into it. I’ve learned the hard, stubborn way.

  21. Crystal Renaud March 2, 2016 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    Great post!! I too run throughout the winter, outside! But I know a lot of people who take it inside or take time off! Sharing!

  22. heather @fitncookies March 2, 2016 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    That race looks so fun! I wonder if it’s around here. You have such great tips. The first one is so true, and so hard to be ok with. I know I like to think my speed is always the same outside as it was last year or on the treadmill, but it’s definitely different!

    • JulieWunder March 5, 2016 at 9:46 am - Reply

      I’m sure you will build it back pretty quickly. So happy it’s finally warming up! My MIL said it was going to be mild up there next week too.

  23. Nicole @ Fitful Focus March 2, 2016 at 10:54 am - Reply

    Awesome tips! That Ninja race looks amazing!

  24. Stephanie March 2, 2016 at 10:44 am - Reply

    I just started running and found these tips very helpful. After getting frustrated not being able to run far, I have incorporated the walk/run style and find it very helpful. Thanks for sharing.

    • JulieWunder March 5, 2016 at 9:45 am - Reply

      That’s great. It’s a nice way to not get too frustrated and build your endurance. Best of luck!

  25. Mary Beth Jackson March 2, 2016 at 10:42 am - Reply

    Luckily I can run year round πŸ™‚ So are you running that ninja race?

    • JulieWunder March 5, 2016 at 9:44 am - Reply

      Ahhh!! I miss Florida (in the winter at least!) I’m not this year due to scheduling conflict, but I hope to one year!

  26. Great tips! I was working on something similar for our running group mamas who were in hibernation.

    • JulieWunder March 5, 2016 at 9:43 am - Reply

      Great minds think alike! Can’t wait to see your version.

  27. Susie @ SuzLyfe March 2, 2016 at 9:11 am - Reply

    For me, it is just about going outside and feeling the sun on my face! And the fact that I haven’t run in nearly 5 months…

  28. Ivanna March 2, 2016 at 9:11 am - Reply

    These are all great ideas. That Ninja course sounds great.

  29. Dan Steadman March 2, 2016 at 8:17 am - Reply

    never done an obstacle race, unless you count trail races….the swamp road would be the most difficult for me…I can’t do that for one it’s in Raleigh (4+ hours away) and two I will be away that weekend celebrating 15 years with my wife

  30. Annmarie March 2, 2016 at 8:10 am - Reply

    Great tips, Julie! πŸ™‚ Love the idea of doing something fun and joining a running group- those definitely help to get back into the swing of things after a running break!

    • JulieWunder March 5, 2016 at 9:41 am - Reply

      I think it makes it more fun too and more likely that you’ll stick with it.

  31. [email protected] March 2, 2016 at 8:04 am - Reply

    Great tips! I definitely think that starting slow is important if you haven’t been in a while. That race does sound fun!

    • JulieWunder March 5, 2016 at 9:40 am - Reply

      Doesn’t it? I think it sounds like quite an adventure!

  32. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) March 2, 2016 at 6:54 am - Reply

    I have never been much of a runner myself, but I know a ton of people who LOVE it. My husband is one of them.

    • JulieWunder March 5, 2016 at 9:39 am - Reply

      It’s quite addictive– as I’m sure you’ve seen with him.

  33. Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy March 2, 2016 at 6:50 am - Reply

    I took a bit of a running break over winter and I am just starting to get back in to it now. I am having to take some running breaks, but I will get back to where I was soon.

  34. Blane Sherer March 2, 2016 at 6:17 am - Reply

    Helpful suggestions.
    Yep : spring is coming ( smile )

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