August 6, 2020
Rehab from a running injury shouldn’t just be about rest, ice, stretch and maybe a massage or a couple of needles here and there. A comprehensive running rehab program must include a gradual return to your previous running levels. This means that the running duration, frequency, pace and step cadence should be monitored and slowly increased until your back to your best.
Most running injuries are overuse injuries. For every kilometre you run, the average person takes around 1000steps. So if you’re out running 5km that’s 5,000 steps and any little weaknesses will be exposed and develop. If you jump back into running 70-80km a week while training for a marathon, that’s 70-80,000 little irritations to your injury this week. Image poking a bruise 70-80,000 times in a week. It’s going to get more painful and frustrating! It also won’t go away, and you’ll feel like you’re not improving. This frustration will lead to you wanting to pack in the marathon training, just because of poor planning
The aim of a running program is to slowly increase your exposure to those irritations. Just enough that you can get yourself back on target, but also minimise them so that that bruise can heal itself without getting bigger. As the bruise heals you add a little bit more running, speed up or start to run 2-3 days in a row until your back to the original marathon plan.
A graduated rehab program will also minimise the time you are off running. Most running injuries don’t need total rest, optimal loading of an injury will help to speed up your return. It will also prevent the loss of fitness that happens when you don’t train.
Ask your physio for a detailed running program during your rehab. They should be able to lay out a return to running that has specific duration, speed and distance per week that is specific for you and your injury.