I haven’t been injured bad enough to stop running in about 2 years (maybe more). Motivated by a combination of not recently being in this situation and, more than anything, the fear of re-injury I spent a little time reading whatever I could find on the ins and outs of returning to running.
Returning to running depends on severity of injury and length of time you’ve been out. A common rule of thumb seems to be 2 weeks. If you’ve been out 2 weeks or less with a minor injury you may not need to be as conservative in your return to hitting the streets (or treadmill). Regardless of time out and severity of injury a straight return to pre-injury pace and distance is risking another, possibly more severe, injury.
Are you ready?
My gauge in determining if I was ready was:
- pain free with day to day regular activities
- pain free form drills (march in place, running in place, high knees, butt kicks)
- pain free single leg squats
- pain free jumping on both legs and hopping on one leg
- doctor’s recommendation
The “how” is slow and gradual. I mean really slow!As prescribed by the doc based on severity of injury, time off and pre-injury time and distance:
Week 1: walk : run 1:1 ratio 45 minutes
Week 2: walk : run 1:2 ratio 45 minutes
Week 3: walk : run 1:3 ratio 45 minutes
Week 4: run 30 minutes
I will run by feel and listen to my body. If I’ve learned anything this year it has been that my body is pretty good at telling me what I need to do (or not do) and I really should listen. I will reassess my plan after running, strength training, physical therapy and at least 1 total rest day for 3 weeks.
If all is going well at after 3 weeks I’m going to do another baseline MAF test and plan a race calendar for the remainder of the year. Most likely focusing on short distance and trail events.
Slacking on PT. Past experience tells me I’m not a fan of PT for the long term. Initially I start off great but when I start feeling strong again I slack off maybe a little sooner than I should.
Post-injury comparison. No, I won’t be running fast, ultras or 25 mile training runs…for now. Don’t compare pre- and post- injury pace or distance. There is nothing to gain except frustration and being discouraged.
Go to RunningPhysio for more information and sample training schedules for returning to running after an injury.
As always, if a pain/injury persists consult your doctor or physical therapist for treatment.
My first run back could not have been more perfect!
Early Morning + Cool Temps + Blue Skies + New Shoes = Perfect Run
Tuesday: Run, Abs, PT
Wednesday: Strength, PT
Thursday: Run, Abs, PT
Friday: Strength, PT
Saturday: Run, Yoga, PT
Also this week, I’m going to try a pulse oximeter. It has been 1 year almost to the day since my first asthma attack and the lingering fear that comes with it.
A pulse oximeter is a simple, non-invasive devise that measures the oxygen saturation level in your blood. It is a small electronic device that clips onto your index finger and radiates infrared light into your finger. Commonly used in hospitals, the pulse oximeter is used to measure how effectively your heart, lungs, and circulatory system work together. It will be interesting to see what my oxygen levels are and, if nothing else, maybe a little peace of mind.