Sarah Connors, ASICS PRO Team Physiotherapist, gives her advice for returning to running after an injury.
We all have times – forced or unforced - when we stop running. And whatever the cause of your break, it’s crucial that when you get back to running, you do it sensibly and cautiously. The body likes training to be regular and consistent– and it doesn’t like being thrown in at the deep end after time off.
When to Return to Running
An absence of pain is one of the most obvious signs – not just on walking and everyday activities, but also when you are stressing the previously injured area. For example, you should be able to hop pain-free on a rehabilitated sprained ankle.
Learn more about the most common running injuries
Don’t be in denial about your recovery. If you still have pain, or limited function, you are not ready to get back to running yet and doing so is foolhardy. Continue with pain-free cross training and treatment from a sports medicine expert.
If you are fully pain free, you are ready to begin your return to running. As a general rule, it takes two weeks to get back every week of running lost through injury – so don’t expect to go straight back to where you were immediately.
Set Realistic Goals
Don’t be impatient, or try to cut corners. You will need to reassess your goals, put races on hold and accept that you won’t be running PBs immediately. Try running without a watch or heart rate monitor to prevent obsessing over slower times and higher heart rates.
Learn more about how to set SMART goals for running
I suggest a six week build-up program if you have been sidelined with a serious injury for over a month. This allows the injured area to rehab without being overloaded. It’s very easy to do too much and break down again. Increase time of running up to 30 minutes over the first 2-3 weeks then stay at this time and increase the speed of running.
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