There are few things are more frustrating than injuring yourself during a run. Most of the times, these injuries are minor and remedied with a week or so of rest. However, if it’s more serious, you could be out of action for months; which makes getting back to it a lot harder.
Stage one – taking good care of yourself
Tempting though it is to get those trainers on and go running again, it’s vital to give your body the time it needs to recover. Even small injuries like hamstring sprains can turn nasty if you keep ignoring the pain.
Generally speaking, most injuries recover well with ice, elevation and rest. If the pain is sharp or doesn’t ease quickly, it’s a good idea to see your GP.
Stage 2 – while you’re recovering
At this point, there are things you can do to aid your recovery; such as building core strength. Invest in some weights and start some gentle strength training (obviously without straining your injury further). Eat healthily too, and get your body into gear for its return to running.
Step 3 – getting motivated
Once you’re finally better, you may find it hard to re-motivate yourself. After all, you were once running long distances, and now, you’ll have to start pretty much from scratch.
Firstly, take comfort in the fact that most runners get back up to speed fairly quickly, providing they take it steady to avoid injuring themselves again. It doesn’t matter if you’re slow or need to take regular walking breaks; you’re out running again and that’s a big achievement!
If you feel like you need some structure to your routine, consider joining in with a Parkrun or becoming part of a local running group. It’s great to run with other people, and they’ll help to keep you motivated too.
Step 4 – staying safe
Whatever you do, don’t dive straight back into a 10k run. Your body has had a complete break from running, and it needs time to ease back in slowly and sensibly. To begin with, try doing the ‘couch to 5k’ programme; this is a great way to get back to 5k fairly speedily while minimising the risk of injury.
Don’t push yourself too hard. If your injured area hurts, stop and walk for a while. If the pain doesn’t ease up, walk the rest of the way home (or arrange for your partner to pick you up if it’s severe). Now is the time to listen to your body, and let it tell you how fast and far it can take you.
Step 5 – make it fun!
Running should be a pleasurable experience (or at least, you should feel some benefits from it!). Make it as fun as possible for yourself. Create a special playlist to listen to while you’re out. Spray on some uplifting perfume, like Aventus for Her. Run with a good friend and enjoy a gossip while you’re plodding along. Whatever makes it more enjoyable for yourself – do it. It’ll ensure that you’re more likely to stick to it in the future.