Coming Back from Injury

May 7, 2010

So you’ve been training hard for the Bellin Run and in your training routines you kind of hurt yourself a little … ok, a lot. What do you do?

It is almost inevitable that if you run/walk enough you will get some sort of an injury.  It might be a blister from a new pair of shoes or something worse like a stress fracture.

Whatever the injury, you need to step back and think about what your next plan of action is going to be. Something simple like a blister can easily be handled with little training downtime. If you’ve had a serious setback like a stress fracture, shin splints, IT band syndrome, runner’s knee or plantar fasciitis, you’ll need to take some time off from training.

Your best bet is to see your doctor or physical therapist so that they can get you on the road to recovery. You may even have to hire a personal trainer or strength and conditioning specialist. 

There are a ton of options to keep yourself in shape while you heal. 

First, get on a good strength program. Every runner/walker I know could use a good strength program to get stronger and ward off injuries that occur due to weakness and instability.

The next step would be to hit the bike, elliptical or pool. Most running and walking injuries are aggravated by the pounding of the pavement. Stick to cardio machines or the pool where there are no impact forces. By doing this you’ll give your body time to heal but still stay in good cardiovascular shape.

So now the day has come where you feel great and have no lingering pain anywhere. It’s time to get back out on the road and pick up the training program where you left off, right? Not necessarily.

Start off nice and easy for the first week back. You might even mix in cross training for run/walk days at this point. The last thing that you want to do is start up with what your training program is calling for that week. If after a week things feel good, continue to add mileage at about 10% a week until you are back on schedule.

At this point depending on when you were injured you might need to rethink your goal for the race. See how the rest of your training goes but make a realistic goal and stick with it. Go out and do your best on race day and consider saving the personal record for next year.

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