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Return To Running After Injury?

Running After Injury | 4 Simple Steps

Running after injury can be a tricky step. Am I ready to run? How do I know I’m ready to run? What’s the best way to return to running? These are common questions runners want to know having suffered an injury.

65-80% of recreational runners pick up an injury each year. Commonly these are overuse or repetitive strain injuries that can develop steadily over time. Therefore, it can be tricky to know when to stop, and when to try and start running after injury. Check out our blogs on the top 5 running injuries for more info.

Achilles Tendinopathy

A well trodden path is to rest completely, then try again as you were previously. Often this doesn’t work and can almost be detrimental to recovery. The next thing you know it’s been months and your runs are getting fewer and far between, and your injury is getting worse. Ultimately, it’s time to get some treatment!

You need a Return To Running after injury programme (RTR Programme). A step-by-step, progressive plan that allows your injury to heal, heal well, strong enough to take the impact of running again, and not overload too soon.

Step 1 | Pass The RTR Tests

There are 2 simple, functional tests that you can use to establish if you’re safe to start running after injury without causing further problems. If you can do these 2 tests for 20-30 secs with zero or minimal pain then you can move on to step 2.

Running On The Spot Test

Hop Test

Step 2 | Tester Runs

Once you have passed step 1 you can begin a progressive return to running after injury programme using run | walk intervals. Firstly, trial a few simple tester runs to to get you going. Following the graph and instructions below:

  • Run at a steady pace on a (relatively) flat route
  • Approx 20mins max
  • Ensuring a minimum of 24 hours rest/recovery time between runs. No consecutive days!
  • Start with 1min walk | 1min run. Then 1min walk | 3mins run. Then 1mins walk | 5mins run.
  • Once you have progressed to 5mins running with walk intervals you can trial a 20min run.

Only progress the running minutes up if your pain:

  • Doesn’t exceed what is a mild awareness or 3/10 on your pain scale
  • Doesn’t get any worse during your run
  • Recovers well within 24 hours of the previous run

Step 3 | The ‘2 Green Light Run Rule

Once you are back in to running after injury for 20mins+ runs use the ‘2 Green Light Run Rule’ to help progress without causing any flare ups and reduce the risk of re-injury.

Running After Injury

Essentially, once you have done 1 run well without pain, do it again a 2nd time before increasing your distance, speed, or difficulty of run.

Runner’s Hub @ the physios

Step 4 | Progression

Running After Injury

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