Before you start the Runna post-injury plan, we strongly advise you get the ok from your physio or doctor.
It is great to have you back and we hope your recovery has been ok! Forced time out from running is not fun, it tests our patience and it can ruin our race plans. But, with every injury, we identify a weakness to work on and hopefully make us stronger in the long run (excuse the pun). Try to find the positives with your injury and see it as motivation to become a better runner.
Rehab can be time consuming. It can take 4-8 weeks to see improvements so it can feel pointless at times but hold yourself accountable, be patient and keep working at it. Once you are pain free, keep on top of your rehab too. This isn't always fun but being disciplined and doing your exercises 2-3x per week will help keep it at bay!
How much time we have away from running will depend on the injury. A grade 2 muscle strain is only a couple of weeks but a stress fracture can be at least 12 weeks off. The more time we've had off, the slower we should build back into our running. Here's our recommendations on where to start.
What is my new ability?
For all injuries. we recommend you drop down at least one ability level when starting the post-injury plan. When returning to running avoid planning any races for the near future. Let yourself get through the post-injury plan before thinking about your next moves. If you are returning from a stress fracture, then we recommend dropping down by two abilities to take it that bit easier.
How many days per week should I run?
We strongly advise you do not do any back-to-back runs (i.e. always factor in a non-run day in between runs) for the first few weeks - don't worry we will plan this in for you. With this in mind, we recommend a maximum of 5 runs per week. Over the first few weeks you will not see any back-to-back runs days; these will be slowly introduced in the second half of your plan.
What if I am not running completely pain free?
It is not uncommon to experience niggling sensations in the injured area when returning to running, especially if you've had months off. If your pain level is less than 3/10, does not get worse throughout the run and disappears after the run, then generally you are ok to continue through the plan. If you are unsure then it is always ok to go back and repeat a week before moving forward. Our biggest piece of advice is to take your time! If your pain is getting worse, not settling after your run and is causing issues day to day, then we would advise further rest or checking in with your physio.
Summary of our Top Tips
Drop down at least one ability level
Always leave a non-run day in between each run
Keep up your rehab 2-3x per week once the pain has gone
Take your time and don't plan any races in the near future
Keep the paces of your runs easy until we say so! Running fast adds more stress.
When we are injured our body needs fuel and nutrients to repair; eat a balanced diet and plenty of it!
After you've finished your post-injury plan, we recommend a long build towards your next big race (+16 weeks); this doesn't mean you can't do local, low-key races in between, just don't give yourself time pressures!
It will feel like things are moving in slow motion at times but focus on the bigger picture. Your primary goal is to run consistently (and pain free!) and rushing things will only increase your chances of your injury flaring up! We can't wait to help you return to running and to get you stronger!