I’m really glad you’re here with me thinking about getting back into running. Running is one of the best things you can do for your health for the duration of your life, one of the few sports that we can do, basically from an early age and then all the way up until the grave pretty much, not to be too morbid.
But you’ve been injured and you’re trying to figure out how I get back into it. If you’re new to the channel, hit that subscribe button there in the bottom right-hand corner. Today, I’m going to give you my top three tips on getting back into running after you’ve been injured.
If you don’t know me, I’m Jessie Funk, owner of Solpri and here the host of Runner’s High. And what’s more important, in this case, I’ve been running for almost 20 years and I am no stranger to injury. Especially working through the high school and collegiate system, you get all kinds of injuries, especially collegiate when you’re racing all the time, you’ve three seasons, it’s just intense.
So, I’ve learned a lot about getting back into running after being injured and having to take time off, being forced to take that time off.
Before we get into the tips, know that it’s going to be about the same kind of mentality as usual, when you’re getting into running. Consistency is key, sticking with the plan, all those kind of things play into getting back into running just like they did when you ran before. So, keep that in mind as we go through my three tips today.
My first tip is really just take it slow, take it steady. Yes, you may have been running 10 miles before you got injured. But if you’re taking anything more than a couple days off, you’re not going anywhere near that right now. And if you didn’t– or if you only had to take a couple days off, then you either weren’t really injured that bad or you are rushing things. So, stop it. Take more time off if things still hurt.
As crushing as it may be to your ego, you have to think about what you need physically right now. And that means taking it slower than you think you probably should go. And this is actually going to be probably a little frustrating because you have this idea about how fast you should be able to go and all those kind of things.
But you need to take it slow to prevent re-injury. And that actually means taking on probably the most dreaded strategy of anybody that’s competitive at all. And that’s the walk-run strategy for a long run.
There may be a part of your brain that really wants to reject what I just said that you need to take that run-walk strategy into your training as you’re getting back into things. That part of your brain is called pride. It’s that pride that you can go for so long that you have these abilities, that you get the physicality to run farther than other people.
But you have to keep that pride and check for your own sake. Because if you let that pride tell you what to do, then you can end up re-injured, back on the sidelines, and not doing what you love to begin with. So, when you take that out of the equation, when you tell yourself, hey, it’s okay for me to do this kind of run-walk to get back into things, then you can allow yourself to gradually build up, hopefully preventing that re-injury and getting you back up to speed sooner.
If you aren’t convinced yet, I’m gonna give you two examples. First is me, frankly. We use walk-run every single week, on my long run. It’s a method to prevent injury before it happens. And that’s because injuries are really prevalent in running.
They’re overuse injuries, it’s using the same thing over and over again that happens so much in the sport. So, you have to do a lot of things to prevent that. Now, the same strategies that we use to prevent it, doing that walk-run means that you can use that as a tool to get back into running.
Now, if you don’t think I’m a good paragon to follow, well, maybe you’re on the wrong channel but we’ll go with that anyway. I have another exam for you of somebody more important my friend, Olympic triathlete Barb Linquist when she was getting ready for her 2004 Olympic debut, she was coached by running coach Bobby McGee. And his suggestion to her for injury prevention is to run-walk.
Now, if Barb who was getting ready to race in the Olympics, can take the run-walk strategy and not hamper her fitness, actually help make sure she stays healthy going into that race, then I hope you can take her example and say it’s okay, push that ego down, push that pride down, let it go.
And know that run walk is a perfectly valid strategy to get back into running, and to use long term as injury prevention. An easy way to do this is to do kind of the baby steps. One minute on, one minute off, and then build up; two minutes on, two minutes off. Do that very, very slowly. Again, remember, I said it’s going to be frustrating. That’s just how it goes when you’re working back from injury.
So, my number two tip and this is actually probably the most important of the three. So, I’m glad you stuck around is to make sure you’re treating your injury well after it has already healed. When you’re starting back into running, whatever was hurt is going to need extra care because often, like I mentioned earlier, the injuries that you sustained running are from overuse. Meaning that the things you normally do while running are what caused the injury.
So, you have to do your routine to take care of your injury. That means potentially ice, potentially kinesiology tape, and definitely your physical therapy routine. All those exercises that you looked up, either I showed you in a video, or you found somebody else, or a doctor showed you. Whatever it was that you did to help recover that soft tissue injury, you need to keep doing that.
Now, if you have a skeletal injury like a stress fracture, then you need to take care of the underlying causes there. Whether that’s form, shoes, surfaces, whatever it is, you have to take care of that as well and keep that in mind. And that’s something you have to do continually to make sure you’re going to prevent re-injury. Because re injury rates are very high when you don’t take care of those things.
Now, this is anecdotal, but from my experience, as I mentioned, I’ve been injured a number of times over the basically 20 years of running here. It’s going to take, I would guess, up to six months of doing this. So, you’re going to want to continue it. And the temptation [??? 06:38] is I feel fine, I don’t want to do it anymore. Don’t get lazy. Don’t get complacent.
When you do that, you do a disservice to yourself. Make sure you’re sticking with those things well past the point that you feel fine. Because you want that muscle to both recover and become stronger than it was previously so you don’t have a recurring pattern of injuries.
My last and final tip, really, it probably could go under number one, but I want to break it out because it’s very, very important. My last tip here, number three is let go of expectations of how you should be doing things. There’s this idea that you’re going to have in your mind, I should be able to run an eight minute mile, I should be able to do this.
Anytime you find yourself saying, I should be able to do this, throw it out, put it in the trash, stomp on it, burn it, bury it, whatever you have to do, get rid of it. It is not going to serve you right now. What you should be able to do has nothing to do with what your mind is telling you what you should be able to do.
The idea here is you need to set a new benchmark. Because you’ve been injured because you’re taking time off, your fitness has declined, that’s okay, that’s natural, that’s normal. You can get back to where you were, but you need to take an honest assessment of where you are right now.
And that often means going on Rate of Perceived Exertion. I’m a big, big proponent of Rate of Perceived Exertion or RPE, as I will often say, I talked about in other videos. So, if you don’t know what that is, or don’t know how to figure that out, subscribe to the channel, then go check that out here in a minute.
Rate of Perceived Exertion is basically a shorthand way of saying, how do you feel? You know, how does the run feel? So, when you get rid of that expectation of should, I should be able to do this? And you think, how do I feel? Does this feel easy when I’m supposed to be running an easy pace? That’s how you set that new expectation.
You can also use heart rate monitoring if you need something more objective. But that subjective measure helps take care of a lot of things that are going on that you can’t necessarily measure objectively in real time. So, take care with Rate of Perceived Exertion to set your new level, your new effort level, then build from there.
If you take all three of my tips together, you will get back to where you were so that you can do all those times that you think you should be able to do. And you’ll probably progress because you’re making sure to take care of yourself.
So, if you want more tips on injury prevention, injury treatment, and those kind of things, check out the playlist that should be popping up here on the screen shortly. I’ll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.