Many runners eager to get back in the swing of their regular running routine, try to start back at the pace and intensity of their original pre lay-off routine. While mentally you might be ready to bounce back to your normal pace, your body probably isn't quite up to speed with your brain. Many a runner has headed out full speed on their return to running re-injuring themselves only to be laid-up even longer. So, take it slow.
If you were laid-off from running for 6 weeks or more, use the following plan to get back up to speed. If you're an experienced runner and you were able to do some cross-training while you were off, then take about a month to ease back into your regular routine. Baby steps at first. Begin with a 5-minute warm-up walk followed by a 10 to 15-minute run every other day. Increase the run by a few minutes each day. The following week, switch to running two days at a time followed by a rest day. Remember to keep all your runs at an easy pace. By the third week, you should be up to around a 30-minute run. During the next week, add another running day, making it three-days-on and one-day off (still keeping it at an easy pace). By Week 5 you should be back to running 4-6 days a weeks and you can start upping the pace and adding in some varied workouts. (Keep in mind that due to specific injuries, your doctor's return-to-running plan may be different. Be sure to follow his/her plan.)
May 2010 be an injury-free running season for all!