Getting Back to Running After an Injury
If you’re a keen runner, few things are more frustrating than getting an injury. Sadly, it’s an all-too-common problem for joggers. The feet and knees are particularly vulnerable, and something like a fractured metatarsal or strained ligament can put you out of action for weeks. It’s certainly not ideal when you’re training for a big event (and speaking of big events – sign up here if you don’t want to miss the deadline for event ballots again)!
Getting back to running – the stress-free, simple way
- Rest is vital. Admittedly, it’s hard to rest when you’ve still got to carry on with everyday life; whether that’s taking the kids to school or walking to work each day. But put your feet up as often as possible, even if you feel fully recovered. This provides your body with the time it needs to recover properly, and means fewer problems in the future.
- Wear the right footwear. Now is the time to live in your well-fitting trainers; or a similar shoe that offers appropriate support. Those slip-on sandals or flip-flops are not going to cut it, and don’t even think about putting on the stilettoes.
- Listen to your body. If it hurts, that means something isn’t right. Don’t push through it, hoping it’ll go away. If it’s bad enough to make you wince (even if you’re just strolling to the corner-shop at the time) that means you need to rest up again.
- Don’t worry if you don’t feel motivated. After a period of extended absence from running, it’s common to feel demotivated. If it feels like a chore, try to remember how you motivated yourself the first time around. Did you listen to a podcast or music while running, for example? If not, this is a great way to inject some fun back into the process. Vary your routes too; this can reignite your love for running again.
- Go slow. It doesn’t matter if you’re pain-free when you first get out there again; your body is unlikely to thank you if you go on a ten-mile slog straight away, after months of inaction. Build up slowly; and don’t be afraid to break up the first few runs with periods of walking.
- Do other forms of exercise. If you’re struggling with running, remember that you can do other forms of exercise too, which will provide the same level of endorphins. For example, if it’s your foot that’s hurting, you may find cycling a better alternative for a while. Or, if its your knee or hip, swimming is a good option.
- Prep yourself properly. When you’re ready to get going again, prep properly beforehand. Listen to some upbeat music as you get changed into your running gear. Have a quick snack and a sip of an energy drink. Even a spray of an invigorating fragrance like Aventus could work; whatever it takes to get you in the mood.
- Remember it’s a short-term thing. Above all else, don’t feel despondent. Your injury may feel bad now, but it will heal (and this will happen faster if you rest it properly!). In a few months’ time, it’ll all be just a distant memory, and you’ll be back on your feet again, and pounding those streets.