How not to rehabilitate a running injury

What you are about to read could have come straight from the pages of any coaching manual under the heading: “What not to do when you are making a comeback after an injury”. But alas it is not from a coaching manual! It is a description of what I did when I started running again this week after a minor hamstring injury.

I clearly had all of the right intentions. In a blog entry just a week ago I had said:”The secret now is not to do anything silly that will cause me to aggravate the injury” and I went on, “I would much rather stay off it for a few extra days just to be sure than I would risk really hurting it and having to take another 2-3 weeks out”. Given what comes next I am almost embarassed to admit I wrote those words! Here’s what actually happened.

I had targeted Friday for a very gentle comeback run. I am talking a trot over no more than 3 – 3.5 miles. And that is exactly what I did and everything was fine including my leg. That was my cue to be grateful and take a day’s rest and see if there was any reaction. But no I had to try it again on Saturday. This time I did a slightly longer run of 4.5 miles at a very easy pace. Once again all was well – nothing from the leg at all.

Everyone can see what is coming next and I can hear everyone screaming at me: TAKE A REST – DON’T RUN ON SUNDAY!” But no I couldn’t resist. So excited was I that I could run again that I just had to go out on Sunday. This time I did 4.5 miles again but once I was warmed up I injected a bit of pace just to confirm to myself that all was well. That wasn’t the problem – it was just after I decided that I had tested the leg enough and eased up that I felt a stabbing pain in the side of my right calf. Not too concerned at this point I slowed right down and then stopped and stretched it. What I should have done then was to listen to my body and walk home slowly, but what I actually did was to try and run a few more steps. That’s when the stabbing pain became like a hot poker in my calf. I stopped immediately but too late. I was injured again. Whilst I don’t think it is a serious injury it is not a tweak either. I think it will take two weeks off running to sort it. Wasn’t that what I had said I was going to avoid in my blog?

So I am now punishing myself by writing out 1,000 times:

“When you have taken two weeks off running to fix an injury your re-introduction needs to be gradual, progressive and patient”

“When you have taken two weeks off running to fix an injury your re-introduction needs to be gradual, progressive and patient”

“When you have taken two weeks off running……………………..

So it’s back to cycling and swimming – not a train wreck but I do miss running. It also throws my plans for an Aquathlon and an autumn half marathon into disarray. I am going to completely relax on that front. Part of the problem was pressurising myself to get back to running so that I could get enough training in to do the Salisbury Half on 28 October. There are plenty of half marathons between now and the end of the year. So rather than try and rush to do the Salisbury half I am going to wait until I am fit and running and then choose a race that fits in with the schedule. And one thing I am not going to do is rush back!!


One response to “How not to rehabilitate a running injury

  1. Us runners are just plain mad sometimes.


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