Getting Back On Track
Progressing back to running after injury or time off.
Patients often ask us what is the best way to return to running after injury or time off. We’ve all heard the advice to “take it slow” and transition back gradually. But what does that really mean? There is no black and white answer as no two people are exactly the same. However, we hope this advice will help you develop a plan to get back on track!
Basically, we organize it into the following three components: frequency, duration, and speed.
- First, we focus on frequency or how many times a week you want to run. If you haven’t ran in over a month we suggest starting out with no more than 3x/week and keep the runs relatively short with proper rest periods in between each run.
- Second is duration or how long of a run you would like to complete. This can be viewed as total minutes working out or total minutes running. Focus on the time you are running over the distance you are going. If you are a beginner, use run/walk intervals slowly increasing the amount of time you run each set while decreasing walking breaks.
- Third we pick up the speed. Once you are comfortably able to run “X” minutes for “X” days per week without pain, you can start to incorporate speed work. The reason speed is the last progression is because the faster you run, the less stability and control your body has over the movement. Those small imbalances you may have in your running gait become more prominent as speed (and thus fatigue) increases. So you want to make sure you have a solid and pain free foundation before picking up the pace.
Last but definitely not least, it is crucial to receive a proper biomechanical assessment. Our providers at Core Performance PT will gladly complete a movement analysis to clear you from faulty mechanics. Through a series of functional tests, we screen for any abnormalities, muscular imbalances, or motor control deficits. Our bodies are complex so even the smallest imbalance can play a large role in how your body responds to physical activity. If you possess improper biomechanics, impact forces do not distribute evenly and lead to repetitive stresses on certain muscular, skeletal or vascular tissues. Thus it is important to learn exactly what your body needs in order to build those miles back up pain free!