I’ve had many injury problems in the past due to running, mainly back in 2019 with my hip and most recently in 2020 with my knee. I’ve had niggles in the past few years but nothing as major as those two. They put me out for months, especially my hip. I was seeing a physio constantly and racking up the miles on the exercise bike to keep my fitness up but unfortunately not much was working. I had to give up the physio after around 12 sessions as there was something more major going on that treatment couldn’t fix. My doctors refused an MRI which my physio recommend and then just put my on a wait list for an NHS physio which took forever, I had one session and was told to do some exercises that I had found myself from google. 2019 was a nightmare for running.
That year was basically written off after resting and doing whatever I could to get my hip back to a place where I was able to train then my knee started to have problems, thankfully I didn’t need a physio for this one just rest and a few daily exercises but it meant I wasn’t running often or at all although I was concentrating on strength to build muscle so it wasn’t all doom and gloom.
It was a struggle getting back into it, definitely harder than I’d imagined. I was back to beginner running and it really did take a lot of mental strength to get back into it and I had to completely change my mindset. I deleted Strava to keep my mental health in a safe space, it helps. When I needed the motivation again I re-downloaded. Thankfully now I’m back to running as healthy as I can be and building up to a 10K race I have very soon. I have learnt how important it is to rest when your body feels like it needs it and strength and conditioning is just as important as running.
How do you get back into running post injury? Let me tell you!
Begin with the walk/run method | When I first started back I found I didn’t want to push it too hard too fast so like the couch to 5K plans I started with walk/run intervals to get my body back used to it. Running for 2 minutes then walking for one repeated 5 times worked for me for the first week or so then I just kept upping the running until I eventually got back up to 30 minutes but still keeping the walking breaks in for recovery. The best thing to do is to start slow, it may be frustrating at first but it’s the best thing you can do so not to put stress on the injury.
Prioritise rest and recovery | DO NOT skimp on the rest and recovery. Remember to stretch, foam roll and ice or heat (a gel pack from amazon can be your best friend). You have to try and be patient with the healing and training process, saying that is so easy but in reality it’s far different. Take care of your mental health while recovering, with a positive mindset you’ll likely progress faster. I felt like I was behind trying desperately to catch up but I realised I’ll get re-injured if I push it. It’s a vicious circle.
Keep up with cross training | During recovery cross training can be sometimes more important than running itself and if you were doing these exercise before starting back then keep doing them! It’s so easy to get caught back up the joy of running again but neglecting your cross training is not one you want to be doing. The key to avoiding another injury is to keep all of your muscles strong and healthy as they can be, I’ve learnt this the hard way.
Lose the expectations | Most of the time as runners we want to be getting faster and farther, hitting those PB’s but you shouldn’t be worrying about those things. Keeping the focus on recovery knowing that you will get there but it will take time. It can be really difficult to know just how long an injury will take to heal and even when you think its all better sometimes going into something quickly can set your recovery back so try not to get frustrated if it’s taking you longer than you thought.
Celebrate the little accomplishments | Comparison in running can get you down sometimes and seeing your fellow runners hitting PB’s while you are still recovering can be a hard pill to swallow but try to focus on the little things, you will get back to where you want to be eventually but for now focus on the fact that maybe you were able to run an extra 15 minutes or you conquered that big hill post injury for the first time. You’re working hard, don’t forget it. Celebrate those little victories!
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