It can be tempting to try to jump back in where you left off. But don’t!

It can be tempting to try to jump back in where you left off. But don’t! To avoid injury and come back better than you were before, return to training with a beginner’s mindset. That means taking stock of your strengths and weaknesses in each discipline. Take an honest look at your current aerobic endurance, strength and speed skills, then get back in the game. Here’s how.

Make a plan

Training with purpose will help you stick with it. A traditional linear periodization plan consisting of base, build and taper phases works best to develop fitness at a conservative rate with a low risk for injury. You may not have specific races in mind yet, and that’s OK! You don’t need to set up a detailed plan right away. Start by outlining the mesocycles, or long-term phases, of your training plan. Fill in each mesocycle by approximating the hours per week and objectives for each microcycle, or short-term phases of your training plan.

Be consistent—and adaptable

Returning to a previous level of fitness and even transcending to greater levels is a process—and consistency is the key to that process. It’ll help you create a solid base of fitness on which to build more advanced skills down the road. That said, you need to be kind to yourself and adaptable. There will be days your planned workout has to be cut short or switched for something that works better for that day. Focus on consistency—getting out and doing something—above all else.

Rest right

Get adequate sleep, eat nutrient-dense foods, foam roll and reduce mental stress to speed up the healing process between workouts. If injury forced you to take time off, realize that recovery rates will vary depending on the type of injury, your genetics and age. If you took a break because you were burned out or unmotivated, reflect on what caused those issues.

The reward of regaining fitness is within your reach. Be smart and stay positive!

Heather Casey is a USAT Level 2 tri coach for Balanced Art Multisport in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has coached athletes from beginners to professionals for more than 10 years. Find her at Coachheathercasey.com