Been injured for a while and don’t know how to approach running again?
I often get asked how to approach that first run back after a lay off so I thought I’d put something up about it on here. I think the two main words to remember are “caution” and “overdo”. Approach the run with caution and don’t overdo it.
Personally I would recommend that you run for no more than ten minutes in that first session back after injury which I’m sure to all of you will more than likely seem like a really short session. From my perspective I would like you to think about it as an assessment session where you feel your own recovery and gently reintroduce your muscle memory and body to running. Getting back to PB’s, gaining fitness and speed sessions are not your priority at this stage. If you are worried about core and fitness you can be doing some cross training but running hard comes further down the line after injury, not in your first session.
So how to approach that ten minute run…
I think it is a good idea to break that first run up into five, two-minute chunks. This way you can really monitor how your body is responding to different aspects of running as you build in and out of the run as well as being able to stop and stretch if you need to, knowing where you are in your ten minute block.
Build each two-minute section into a slower than normal speed peak at minute six and then bring it back down again. Remember to run at a slower pace than you normally do. By this I mean a pace at which you are comfortably able to hold a conversation. Also I would recommend you run with a lower leg lift and shorter stride length than you normally do as this will help to reduce the force being put through the weakened soft tissue. For an added bonus, run on trails or grass to further reduce impact.
The bottom line is that people like myself can’t feel your pain which is why we ask you things like, “on a scale of one to ten, how painful is it?” Only you know when you are feeling fit again or if the injury is still niggling a little. It is far better to wait a little longer and be fully fit than go back out to early and put yourself back a few weeks as a result. Be honest with yourself and protect your investment. Your body really is the greatest bit of kit you will ever own.