Maintaining a running program

Coming back from an injury

Published on April 17, 2017

Being a runner for over 30 years, I have had my share of injuries, some serious and others of the minor variety. Depending on the severity of the injury, the downtime in your running program can sometimes be quite frustrating.

If your injury involves extreme swelling and you suspect that something is torn, seek out the care of a physician and obtain the services of a physiotherapist before you even consider running again.
When you do resume running, it is important to follow certain basic guidelines, or you could run the risk of reinjuring yourself which will require more time away from the sport you love.
If your time off has been somewhat lengthy, say several months, be very cautious and don’t push too hard during the first few weeks.
One of the major mistakes runners make is thinking that they can jump right back where they left off before their injury.
It is strongly recommended that you begin with a walk-run program for the first two-four weeks, or longer, before you begin any type of regular running program.
Begin by walking for three-four minutes and jogging for one minute. During your first week back, 15-30 minutes of activity would be enough. Continue this activity until you feel comfortable and have very little or no discomfort.
During your second or third week, walk for two minutes and jog for two. Increase the time on your feet from 25-35 minutes. As before, continue this activity until you feel ready to move on to the next level.
During the next level of your rehabilitation, walk for 1 minute and jog for three. Thirty to 45 minutes would be a good goal to aim for at this level.
Eventually, you will progress to total running.
Jog very slowly and avoid speed work, pick-ups, and any other type of running that requires a sudden increase in intensity. Remember, your sole purpose at this stage is to rehabilitate and to avoid reinjuring yourself. The timelines you use for each phase of your recovery may vary from person to person.
If at any stage, you feel a sharp pain or a prolonged soreness in the affected area, stop walking and running. You may need to get more medical intervention.
Patience is the key when recovering from any type of injury. Do not resume continuous running until you are totally free from any pain or discomfort.
Keep running! Keep fit! And have fun!