How to Safely Increase Your Running After an Injury
It’s always such a relief when the physio gives you the go-ahead to start running again after an injury. The
Re-injury is, of course, the biggest risk. However, with a sensible and structured re-introduction to your running, you have a much better chance of success first time and a faster return to full running fitness.
A number of readers have asked me to put together an example twelve week running program for those who are coming back from injury.
This simple-to-follow program will guide you through three months of gradual progression of running volume to safely build up running time as the previously injured tissues get stronger again.
If you’re interested in the reasoning behind this return to running plan, feel free to watch the video below:
How to Change Your Running Style Safely
You could also use the program below to provide important structure for a three-month transition phase as your body adapts to a new running style.
This is particularly important to help runners avoid the common and painful ‘too much, too soon’ trap – when changing from a heel striking to midfoot or forefoot strike gait pattern!
Example Return to Running Plan
Week 1: 3 sessions of: (Run 1min : Walk 1min) x 10
Week 2: 3 sessions of: (Run 1min 30sec : Walk 30sec) x 8
Week 3: 3 sessions of: (Run 2min : Walk 30sec) x 8
Week 4: 3 sessions of: (Run 3min : Walk 1min) x 8
Week 5: 3 sessions of: (Run 4min : Walk 1min) x 8
Week 6: 3 sessions of: (Run 5min : Walk 1min) x 6
Week 7: 3 sessions of: (Run 10min : Walk 1min) x 3
Week 8: 3 sessions of: (Run 15min : Walk 1min) x 2
Week 9: 3 sessions of: Run 20min non-stop
Week 10: 3 sessions of: Run 25min non-stop
Week 11: 3 sessions of: Run 30min non-stop
Week 12: 3 sessions of: Run 35min non-stop
Important Rules to Follow
- All running to be completed at an easy pace.
- No speed work until you complete this ‘return to running’ phase!
- Don’t run on consecutive days – give your body time to recover.
- It’s important to make sure you focus on form throughout each run, especially as the durations increase.
- During each run, stop at the first sign of any discomfort.
As you gradually return to running after your injury, it’s so important that you avoid one of the BIGGEST mistakes that so many runners make:
Remember those physio exercises you were given?
Those drills that played a big part in getting you back to running again…
Well, far too many runners let those exercises fall by the wayside as soon as they return to full training!
Of course, we’d all rather maximise time spent running. However, making time for strength and injury prevention exercises will help prevent you from a return to the physio clinic.
Even if it’s as simple as considering your rehab exercises as “ongling maintenance” exercises… that’ll help a great deal.
You can download an example strength programme to compliment your running from the page linked below.