I really want to make the cross country team at school, but after breaking my leg last year, I’m not sure that I can. What is a good way to start running again?
It’s fantastic that you want to return to running and make the cross country team. So, what’s your first step? After getting your physician’s clearance to resume running, the key is to start slowly. And since Cross-Country season doesn’t start until September, you have some time.
Always start with a warm up of at least 5 minutes before you begin. Then, as with any new program, you should allow your body to get accustomed to the exercise (especially after an injury).
Your current fitness level will determine where you should start. You might need to start with power walking, or a run/walk program. For example, run for 1 minute and then walk for 2 minutes until you build up to more extended runs. After a few weeks, if everything feels okay, work on increasing your pace and distance. Again, you want to take this slowly so that you don’t aggravate the injury.
Stretching and strengthening exercises are also very important to your return. Squats, lunges, planks and side planks should be incorporated into exercise sessions 2-3 times a week to make sure your body is strong enough for running. Also, perform lower body stretches after every run session. Consider non-impact cross training such as biking and swimming on your off running days to build up endurance and strength without too much stress on your leg.
Good luck and happy running.