Returning to Running After Injury: Tips and Exercises to Get You Back on Track

Running is more than just a form of exercise for many; it’s a passion, a way of life. So, when an injury sidelines you, it can be both physically and emotionally challenging. The road to recovery can be long, but with the right approach, you can return to running stronger and more resilient than before. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the journey back to the track.

Understanding the Importance of Recovery

Before diving into the tips and exercises, it’s crucial to understand the significance of proper recovery. Rushing back into running can exacerbate the injury, leading to chronic issues or new injuries. Patience, coupled with a systematic approach, is the key.

1. Listen to Your Body

Always pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you feel pain (not to be confused with discomfort) when running, it’s a sign that you need more recovery time or that something isn’t right with your rehabilitation.

2. Consult a Physical Therapist

A physical therapist can provide a tailored recovery plan, ensuring you’re doing the right exercises at the right time. They can also offer guidance on when it’s safe to start running again.

3. Start Slow

When you do start running, begin at a slower pace and shorter distance than you’re used to. Gradually increase your speed and distance week by week.

4. Cross-Train

Incorporate other forms of exercise to maintain cardiovascular fitness while giving your injury time to heal. Swimming, cycling, and elliptical training are low-impact options that can keep you fit without straining your injury.

5. Prioritize Strength Training

Strength training can help address muscle imbalances, improve stability, and reduce the risk of future injuries. Focus on exercises that strengthen the muscles around the injured area and those that support running mechanics.

Exercises to Consider:

  • For ankle or foot injuries: Calf raises, toe-tapping, and ankle circles.
  • For knee injuries: Quad sets, hamstring curls, and leg presses.
  • For hip injuries: Clamshells, glute bridges, and hip flexor stretches.

6. Incorporate Flexibility and Mobility Work

Tight muscles can hinder recovery and increase the risk of re-injury. Regular stretching and mobility exercises can enhance muscle function and joint movement.

Exercises to Consider:

  • Dynamic stretches like leg swings, arm circles, and torso twists before a run.
  • Static stretches like hamstring stretches, quad stretches, and calf stretches post-run.

7. Focus on Running Form

Returning from an injury is an excellent time to assess and improve your running form. Consider working with a running coach or physical therapist to analyze your gait and provide feedback.

8. Choose the Right Footwear

Your shoes play a pivotal role in your running mechanics. Ensure they provide the right support and cushioning, especially if your injury was foot or ankle-related.

9. Set Realistic Goals

Setting small, achievable goals can boost your confidence and motivation. Celebrate the milestones, whether it’s running pain-free for 10 minutes or completing a 5K.

10. Stay Positive

A positive mindset can significantly impact your recovery. Surround yourself with supportive friends, family, or running groups. Remember, every runner faces setbacks. It’s how you respond that defines your running journey.

Conclusion

Returning to running after an injury requires patience, dedication, and a systematic approach. By listening to your body, seeking expert advice, and incorporating strength and flexibility exercises, you can not only recover but come back stronger. Remember, the road to recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. Embrace the journey, and you’ll find yourself back on track in no time.

logo
AUTHOR

Runners' Edge Alaska

"We Empower Active Alaskans Of All Ages To Return To The Activities They Love Safely And Efficiently…For Life"
master runner
knee pain
Archives

Now Offering In-Clinic, Mobile, and Telehealth Appointments for Your Convenience.

884A5123 TJOHNSON

Sports Physical Therapy

We know how frustrating it can be to deal with pain or other conditions that you just can’t seem to find relief from. That’s why we offer physical therapy for specific conditions and pain problems to help you finally feel good again. 

Strength and Conditioning DSC06859 TJOHNSON

Sports Performance

Highly specialized strength and conditioning programs led by a Sports PT and Strength and Conditioning Specialist to target your performance goals. We offer training options for individuals and for groups/teams as well as community classes! 

DSC07129 TJOHNSON

Sports Massage

Recognizing the challenges of muscle tension and physical strain, our sports massage therapy is crafted for athletes and individuals seeking relief. Experience targeted techniques to alleviate tightness, enhance flexibility, and rediscover the joy of a revitalized, balanced body.

Meet The Team at Runners' Edge Alaska

At Runners’ Edge, we work as a team. Each team player has roles, but we are here to help each other succeed and work together to provide the highest level of care possible to our clients. We strive to grow as individuals as well as a company. And that is what sets us apart from other clinics. This is us!

runners edge team photo (1)

Wondering If Physical Therapy Is Right For You?

Free Discovery Session

We realize some people may be unsure if our services are right for them. Click on the button below and one of our team members will call to schedule a free Discovery Session.

Ask A PT A Question

If you’re not quite ready to book an appointment yet, or maybe you have some questions you would like answered first. Please click the button below to request to speak with a PT first.

Ask About Availability & Cost

We understand you may want to find out a little more about the availability & cost of physical therapy before booking an appointment. If that sounds like you, click the button below.

Get Your Free Tips Report: Running Performance

master runner
Mastering the Master Runner: Tips and Tricks to Maximize Running Perfomance

We guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will not be shared.

Marketing by
Privacy Policy: We guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will NOT be shared.

Get Your Free Tips Report: Knee Pain

knee pain
7 Ways to Ease Knee Pain

We guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will not be shared.

Marketing by
Privacy Policy: We guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will NOT be shared.