Runners get hurt — a lot.
Whether it’s a simple ankle sprain, a flare-up of Achilles Tendinitis, or something much more serious, runners always seem to be nursing an injury. Current prevalence research indicates that anywhere between 19-79% of runners are dealing with a current injury. One of the greatest predictors of a future injury is a previous one, so it’s critical to return to running in a way that ensures you don’t have a recurrence of pain.
So how fast should you be getting back?
Like most things in life, the true answer is “it depends.” Multiple variables need to be considered: overall fitness level, age, type and length of injury, running frequency, and a host of others. That being said, there are some general rules to follow when returning from an injury.
The General Rules are:
- Start with a run/walk program.
- Increase intensity OR distance by 5% each week. You cannot increase both; it’s either one or the other.
- Listen to your body. Pain in the area of injury that lasts into the next morning means you have done too much.
- Ensure that you are performing a complimentary strengthening program to target the structures in your body that led to the injury in the first place.
A sample return-to-running program may look like this:
In this example program, you simply follow this plan and progress each week if no additional pain is experienced into the next morning. Otherwise, move back a week if pain is experienced into the next morning.
I hope that all who are experiencing current running injuries find this helpful and get back to running soon!