Next up in our blog series with Shane Finn, Shane gives us four important pointers to keep in mind when returning to running after suffering an injury.
Shane is a very well-known Kerryman who is an exceptional runner and athlete having completed some amazing feats, he has; run 24 marathons in 24 days, cycled and ran across the USA in 36 days and completed in numerous races, one off events and ironman triathlons across the world. He is a tireless fundraiser for Spina Bifida. You can find out more about him and his coaching service on shanefinn.com
Let’s face it, as runners we will get injured. Unfortunately, it is almost inevitable at some point. In this blog post we outline some simple tips and tricks you can implement when getting back into running after an injury. In my experience, if you are sidelined for a while with an injury, when the time comes to return you will be grateful for every mile.
Most importantly, it is vital to follow the guidelines of your physiotherapist or physical therapist when returning from injury and to ensure the correct protocols are being followed.
Injures have a way of giving runners a bit of a reality check, in coming back from all that time spent rehabbing and cross-training, it is important to retain that perspective and not get greedy with miles. The last thing you want during a comeback is to re-injure yourself again and to end-upback at square one, so keep the following in mind as you return to running.
1) Start Back Easy
When you get the green light to go back running and doing some training that doesn’t mean you can jump fully into where you left off. A lot of people fall into this trap. It is very important not to rush things. Being patient now will pay off later.
Gradually increase the amount of time you spend running as you return from injury. It is a good idea to continue to cross train at this time too and allow your body to fully adapt.
2) Don’t Stop the Rehabilitation
This is vital. Runners often just stop any rehab or corrective exercises once they are back running. In order to prevent the injury occurring again, keeping on top of the preventative care is really important.
A therapist should have provided you with a step by step program to follow. Maintain it and continue to communicate with them!
3) Rethink A Few Things
Depending on the circumstances of the injury you sustained you might need to rethink a few things in relation to training, races and goals. Maybe don’t compare the paces you were running pre-injury to the paces you will be running post-injury.
It will take some time for you to get back to that level again so take a different approach this time around. Be patient and the ‘old you’ paces will be back soon!
If you were training well and then injury stalled things, take a look at what might be the best option for you. It is worth speaking to your therapist about this too, work together to see what the best and smartest option for you is.
4) Use It as An Opportunity
As we said at the start of the blog post. It is hard to avoid injuries, but every cloud has a silver lining. If you can’t run for a few days or a few weeks there are other things that you can do to improve your running for when you return during this time.
You can work on nutrition. A lot of people throw any good nutritional practices they have out the window because they can’t run. I recommend the opposite. Use this time to make better food choices and ultimately to be in better shape for when you get to run again.
Take some time to work on mobility. Every runner could probably give their hips, knees, and ankles some extra attention too. Get the foam roller out, dust it off and spend some time rolling out those legs.
You can also use this time to improve your core strength too. Depending on the injury you have of course, it might not be advisable to do some core training. But again, similar to the mobility work, when the time comes that you can run again a stronger core will be hugely beneficial.
The main thing is to follow the advice of your physio or Doctor and to take the time required to get back to a good place again. Don’t rush it!