Returning to running after you have recovered from an injury can be scary. Regardless if you were injured running or not, it is natural to have a fear of re-injury as you return to running. All the questions go through your head – Is my body ready for this? What if it hurts when I test it? And the list goes on…
Truth is, you truly do not know how your body will respond until you test it. As a clinician and a coach, I can take someone through all the tests and think that their body is ready to run again, but that does not always mean 100% success on the first test run. While it is a good determiner most times, it is not 100% accurate.
With that said, doing the things during your recovery process to get your body back to being run-ready is important. While the normal process of rehab makes sure your body is ready for normal function, it often falls short with getting your body to be ready to run again.
So what does being run-ready mean?
For starters, when we think about running, it is alternating partial single leg squats. Therefore, if you cannot balance on a single leg, land quickly on a single leg with control, and do a partial single leg squat, you are not ready.
From there, how well do you support yourself on your toes when on a single leg? Simply being able to do a fast single leg heel raise and collapse down quickly does not cut it. Good control means you can control the lower part and maintain good control over the toes in the process. And while on the subject, getting control of the toes is important as well!
When bringing the foot off the ground, how quickly can you pull it up, how coordinated are you with it, and then what does it feel like when you bring the leg through so the knee extends? All of these pieces are essential to the running process.
Once you know you are solid with all that, then it is time to test running. And NO, that does not mean you can go out for a 5K run right off the bat. Just because you were in the middle of marathon training before does not mean you can jump right into 5K. You must be smart if you want to minimize your risk of re-injury.
Return To Running programs are going to vary depending on who you work with. The one I use with my clients (and have also used myself when coming off my Lisfranc injury) is a structured run/walk program that systematically decreases the walk time and increases the run time. Regardless of the program, though, the purpose of a good Return To Running program is to allow your body the proper time to adapt to the increased load, speed, and volume. It is not a 100% guarantee that you will not re-injure something, as nothing really is, but the likelihood of reinjury is minimal when you return to running in a smart, strategic manner.
Are you ready to start running again, but not sure how? Or maybe not sure your body is ready for it yet? Schedule a FREE Discovery Call with Dr. Brianne Showman so you can get back to running in a smart, safe manner.
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