Returning to Running After Being Injured

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I was just talking today to an athlete of mine who had taken an extended break from running due to a non-running related injury and operation.

The subject of this conversation was about getting back into running after a long period with little or no ability to do any impact related sports.

We were talking about the best method of easing back onto the road. This is where the benefits of a coach came up. I’ve said before that a coach is not there to tell you what to do, but what not to do. As a coach, I don’t care that my athlete only ran 5 minutes today, or that they really really want to run more. I have no problem with being overly cautious.

Years back when I was just returning to running after a short break, I started with 10 minutes of jogging. Very slowly and gradually I extended the duration. The longer a volume buildup takes, the more successful and safe it is bound to be.

In a recent Running Times article about sub-15 minute 5k athlete Sally Kipyego and her return to running after an injury induced break, Sally shared that her first run was 10 minutes where she alternated 1 minute of walking and 1 minute of jogging. Talk about self control!

Only after 2-3 months of training was she up to 30 minutes of running at one time, and it took many more months for her to run a 60 mile week.

Patience is a word that should be at the forefront of one’s mind when something new is being introduced into training, even if that’s training itself. Be it anything from new shoes to new terrain. Even intensity should be brought in slowly. Brad Hudson gives people following his training plans their first taste of a hill sprint with a single 8 second max effort!

Social Media has even been blamed at times, for the lack of patience people can experience. Seeing all of your friends logging miles or joining a run streak can place pressure on an athlete to run more.

But remember the important of gradual adaptation! Nothing good comes quickly in running.