Getting back to running after an injury

Recovery from injury

The following is a gradual training programme for returning to running after injury. You should not attempt to resume a regular running schedule until you have gone two weeks without significant pain in daily activities. If your pain levels have not resolved, you could benefit from some osteopathic or physiotherapy treatment, along with some rehabilitative exercises. If pain should return on running, you may continue as long as:

  • the character of the pain is not sharp or stabbing
  • the pain lessens or remains unchanged as the running session continues
  • the presence of pain does not alter your normal pattern of motion (no limping!).

Running after injury

Begin each session with a warm up of a brisk two- to five-minute walk. The following programme is recommended with a rest day between each step of the programme. A rest day is just as important as the actual running in order to give your body chance to repair and strengthen. Finish each session with a cool down and stretching exercises to avoid soreness the next day.

Step 1: walk 4 minutes, jog 2 minutes. Repeat four times.

Step 2: Walk 4 minutes, jog 4 minutes. Repeat three times.

Step 3: Walk 2 minutes, jog 4 minutes. Repeat four times.

Step 4: Walk 2 minutes, jog 6 minutes. Repeat three times.

Step 5: Walk 2 minutes, jog 8 minutes. Repeat three times.

Step 6: Walk 2 minutes, jog 10 minutes. Repeat twice.

On completing Step 6, you may resume a gradual transition back to continuous running for ten minutes or more, following a two-minute warm-up walk. You may increase the running time by two to four minutes per session, with at least one rest day in between runs for the first month.

When returning to running, it is important that you listen to your body. If you are in pain, it is for a reason and carrying on will only cause further damage. Make sure it is gradual and literally don’t run before you can walk!

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