Runners Injury Recovery Guide

In the unfortunate event you have literally run into an injury, the recovery process should be initiated immediately. Sooner the better should be the phrase going through your head. Acute injuries are treated with R.I.C.E.R. first. This means Rest from running, Icing the affected area, Compression, Elevation of the leg, and last but very important Referral to a professional for diagnosis of the injury. We suggest to continue this treatment for two to three days. The next step would be heat treatment and deep tissue massage of the innjured muscle area.

While doing the R.I.C.E. treatment you might want to take non steroid anti-inflammatory drugs like (ibuprofen/voltaren/cataflam/mobic) to speed up recovery from any soft tissue injury.

Getting back from injury after 1½ to 2 months

The best bet is to take it slow when recovering from an injury. When you feel the injury has healed enough to put on your running shoes again, please start with a thorough warm-up, then walk briskly, before easing into the run. Run for five to 10 minutes, and then check your body for pain. If you are pain-free, walk again for another five to 10 minutes. Do not over do it and stop before things start to hurt again. Increase distance and time a little by little to slowly build your mileage and stamina."

Once you start training again, a general rule is to increase mileage no more than 10 percent per week. If you ignore this rule and don't let your body adjust to the new schedule, you may pay by not being able to run at all. Before you start running outside again, try to hit the gym or use your home treadmill if you have one. That way, you don't find yourself stuck miles away from home with a sore foot or leg.

If it hurts, stop. Listen to your body. Your body, by emitting an ache or a pain, is telling you something.

We advise trying a new pair of running shoes if you think you have an injury related to your old sneakers, but get some professional advice before you open your wallet.

Bring your running shoes with you when visiting a podiatrist or a physical therapist who is also a runner. They can enlighten you on what can be improved, just by looking at what condition your running shoe is in.

Bring along your running log (the one you faithfully keep), to pinpoint the exact cause of the injury.

Psychological Injury

A running injury may not only be physical. The aspect of not being able to run on a regular schedule may cause some emotional pain. The fear of losing the physical stamina that you worked so hard to gain can also be scary.

Generally, two weeks can be taken off completely without ill effects. If you take longer off, then the time to recover fitness is about the same amount of time that was taken off.

So, if a 40-mile-a-week runner can't run for four weeks, it will take about four weeks to get to the same point once he or she starts training again, as long as caution is practiced and injuries do not re-occur.

During this time off, keep in touch with your running buddies, and try to attend a race or two as an observer. Rather than letting disappointment take over your psyche, look at it as a gift to be able to watch the race as a spectator and learn things that you wouldn't as a race participant.

Cross-training for Injury Recovery

Exercising is still an option. Swimming, cycling, walking and using an elliptical trainer get your heart rate up and use some of the same muscles as running without the high-impact shock to your body. Water running in a pool is another option that gives you the same workout without adding stress to your joints.

Whatever path you take to recover from a running injury, stay positive. Keep it in perspective, and remember to be patient without pushing yourself. Keep in mind how hard it was to try to run with the injury, and do everything it takes to avoid getting into that situation again.


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