Am I Ready To Run? Running After An Injury – Part One

Whether it be following injury or just after a break in your running fitness, returning back to running can be a very daunting thing. As a clinician, this is one of the key areas where I see everyday runners develop injuries. In this blog I will outline some recommendations getting back to running as well as some quick tests to see if you are ready.

Right at the top here I will say that, although I love running, it is harder for some people more than others. When doing any of your training, sticking to the timeframes of other people/athletes/friends can be tricky as their fitness and body are different to yours. Be sure to take your time, be patient and most importantly listen to what your body is trying to tell you.

So first things first, are you ready to run?

A very broad question indeed, but a very needed one. Particularly when coming back from an injury having the ability to know your readiness is of the utmost importance. Below is a few small activities to try at home. If you can complete these activities with no to minimal pain, then you can progress to running:

  • Perform usual activities of daily living.
  • Walk 30 minutes.
  • Single leg squat (10 reps)
  • Jog on spot (1 minute)
  • Jump squats (10 to 15 reps)
  • Hop in place (10 to 15 reps or aim for 30 seconds\

No this is a conservative measure of getting back into running but will give you a quick and simple indication of what you may need to work on before you get started.

Ok so I can run, but what is my tolerance?

My best advice for this, is less is more! If I had a nickel for every patient that went too hard too fast when getting back into running…. I would have lots of nickels! A good guide for this is to think about how long it has been since you’ve done your last run, Ill give you two examples.

  1. Runner 1 has had a low-grade calf muscle strain. Their rehab has gone very well, and they have started a intermediate strength program and are pain free by week 3 of rehab. Before this injury they were running 5 times a week over 5km each. In this scenario these persons run tolerance would be quite good, and could be more liberal in getting back to running (I.e. starting at a 3km continuous run for example).
  2. Runner 2 has not run ever before, but following their patella fracture would like to start running as a goal. They’re rehab overall so far has gone well but spanned over 6 months. This person, coming from such an involved injury and long rehab will start with a very strict low level running program initially, and slowly working up.

In Part Two of this blog, I will run through some ideas for running structure for programs, strength training and goal setting. In the meantime, if you have any questions or queries about anything from this post please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Bend + Mend in Sydney’s CBD.

Ben Cunningham

About Ben Cunningham

Ben graduated with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy degree from Australian Catholic University in Brisbane. After a move down to NSW, he has now joined the Bend + Mend Team and works at both Martin Place and Barangaroo clinics. Ben has a particular special interest in treating lower back pain (with referred pain) and running lower limb injuries and always uses the most up to date scientific evidence to assist his patient in reach their full potential. He is intrigued with how the body works and enjoys observing people and their movement patterns to help identify the root cause of complex pain. In his personal time Ben enjoys going to the gym and long distance running. He is also loves heading to the beach and finding new experiences around Sydney!

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