My Top 5 Tips on Returning to Running Post-Injury
Ahhh, running injuries. They are some of the WORST things ever aren’t they? It always seems like they flare up right when I finally get into that awesome groove with running and it always frustrates me to have to take time off. A couple weeks ago, right after my second half marathon, I went for an easy three mile run two days later and stopped at 2 miles. My left foot hurt and I knew it wasn’t the typical ‘aches and pains’ that sometimes running gives the body. Immediately, I came home, iced my foot and rested the rest of the day. The next day, I went to my running store, bought some KTTtape, went to my chiropractor and continued to rest for the week.
As I worked through this ankle sprain (don’t know how I sprained my ankle) I thought about how different I handled this injury than others and how quickly it recovered than other injuries I have had. And I think it all has to do with how I treated this injury as opposed to others. In the past, I’ve popped Ibuprofen and run through injuries, multiple times, resulting in much time off and less than stellar running performance. I’ve run when I should have taken rest days, I’ve pushed myself when I should have rested and I have ALWAYS paid for it, in small ways and big ways, but there is always a price for pushing through an injury that shouldn’t be pushed through.
Since I’ve learned from my mistakes and have such big goals on the line, I listened to my body and took an entire week off a running. I skipped my 15 mile run (which was hard to skip!) and instead tried out a 1.5 mile run. I iced my foot, religiously. I took capsules and other supplements. I taped, stretched, foam rolled, and rolled my foot along golf balls.
And when I stop to consider the differences in this recovery period, as opposed to others, I think I can narrow it down to these five steps.
- I actually took time off. Like I mentioned before, I’ve struggled with taking the time off from running when my body really needs it. This injury around I took as much time as I needed until I felt good enough to run again. I didn’t wait until I felt 0% pain, but I did wait until I could feel it, but it wasn’t changing my stride or form. Another way of looking at this is ‘running up to the pain, but not through it.’ For me, I feel comfortable with feeling a little bit of comfortableness (like an awareness of ‘it’ being there, but if it is so bad I have to change my form or I am limping, etc, I stop.)
- I iced like there was no tomorrow. I used to not really ice at all, but with this injury I’ve found icing to be a GAME CHANGER. I don’t really know why I didn’t ice before, but now, I’m all about that icing and those ice baths.
- I didn’t let it ruin my life. Instead of throwing in the towel and thinking the worst, I really tried to focus on what I COULD DO instead what I couldn’t do while I was recovering. I really think the mindset shift help me recover fast, because I was actively, rigorously trying to get my injury recovered as quickly as possible.
- I used KTTAPE for the first time. Instead of wrapping it with a typical ankle sprain wrap, I invested in some KTTAPE and I really think it helped support my ankle and keep the swelling down. I will definitely be using that again, but hopefully not anytime soon 😉
- I started back to running, slowly. As much as it pained me to skip a planned, 15 mile run and only run 1.5, I knew it would be smart to not jump back into my training plan too quickly, too soon. I feel like returning back to running, at a slower pace, helped me stay injury free and eventually helped me dive back into my training plan!
I hope you don’t have to ever face injuries, but if you do, I hope you train smart and rest smart! Remember it is ALWAYS better to take a week off, than a month or even more!
Questions of the Day
- Have you had an injury before?
- How do you come back from injuries?
- What are your plans for today??