What are the priorities for the injured runner? What is the best way back from injury?
Most injured runners want to get back to full training immediately. We also often try to continue through injury. Often to our own detriment.
Instead of hoping for the best and making the injury worse, let’s work through the priorities for the injured runner.
- Prevent further injury
- New training
These are the priorities I follow
1. Prevent further injury
Don’t make the injury worse.
Stop running. Rest. Do the basics of sports first aid.
Dr Google is not your best friend. Do what it takes to find out what your injury is. Use a doctor you trust, a physiotherapist or other practitioner.
An injury needs to be properly assessed. Different injuries have many cross over of symptoms, but require different treatment.
Working from an accurate diagnosis will give you a better chance of success.
Help your body repair.
You have to recover before you can rebuild.
The approach is different depending on your injury. This priority is likely to include:
- Resting the injured area
- Protecting the area through support or taping
- Introducing gentle movement
- Physical manipulation (massage)
This is the rehabilitation side.
Do what it takes to get yourself back to being able to training.
Strengthen the area. Condition the body to prevent what led to the injury in the first place.
Ensure you have good mobility.
Introduce running well within in your physical limits.
5. New Training
Finally what we’ve been waiting for.
Back to full training, but with a new style. This new style has to take into account your recent injury. We likely have to modify are previous training so we don’t have a recurrence.
Runner’s often go back to their previous training plan. The plan that led to injury in the first place. We need to change this. To progress our running we need to train in a way to minimise injury.
If you need help to change then get it. Get feedback from knowledgeable runners. Speak with a coach, physiotherapist or someone who understand running and human movement.
There are many ways to achieve your running goals. I have some further tips on injury proofing your running here.
Time Frames Of Injury
How should we spend in each section?
This will vary so much depending on the injury you have sustained.
A simple muscle strain may need the following time in each phase:
- Prevent further injury: 12 hours
- Diagnose: 30 minutes
- Recover: 2 days
- Rebuild: 3 days
- New training: 1 week
Whereas a broken leg would need so much longer:
- Prevent further injury: 3 days
- Diagnose: 1 day
- Recover: 10 weeks
- Rebuild: 8 weeks
- New training: 1 week
Do you have a different approach to injuries?