Five Tips for Coming Back after a Running Injury

It feels like I picked the hottest and most miserable weather to get back into shape.  Since I’ve been injured a few times and come back stronger, I was asked to write some tips for returning after a running injury. Even though I only took two months off due to injury, I lost fitness.  Honestly, that’s fine.  We can’t be in peak fitness forever, and a break doesn’t hurt anyone.

Five Tips for Coming Back after a Running Injury

Coming back after a running injury can be tough, and getting back into shape isn’t always the most pleasant experience.  Getting back into shape when it’s scorching can be even more miserable. A few people asked if I would include tips for coming back after a running injury. In the past, I’ve been injured several times.

I’ve “come back after a running injury” many times. Many of my injuries were overuse injuries or trying to run through pain. Due to my form, I’m prone to stress fractures in my feet. Now, at the risk of injury, I take days off or do cross-training activities to avoid injury. Since figuring out what works for me, I’ve been injured fair less.

I always tell people: days off save you from months off.

I’m not a coach, expert, or anything close.  I’m just a female who likes to run and blog through the journey.

Here are a Few Tips for Coming Back from a Running Injury:  

  1. Track Everything: When back running after a running injury, tracking how you feel critical. I began tracking when I felt any residual soreness and how I felt during the run.  First, the residual pain started at 1 mile.  Then later it was 2.  Then even later, it was 3, and finally, after I finished a 5-mile run, I realized I was completely pain-free.  Tracking things allows you to see physical progress that you might not be able to otherwise.
  2. Set Achievable Goals: You aren’t going to be 100% pain-free or set a PR within the first week of running. Setting realistic and achievable goals is essential.  Maybe it’s to work up to racing again, or perhaps it’s run consistently every day.  Making a goal keeps you focused.
  3. Easy Running: When you start running again, you’ll want to do everything fast. The biggest tip for coming back after a running injury is running easy. There will be days, you feel like you can conquer the world, but that’s the day not too. If you run too fast or too much, too soon, you’ll end up with another injury (I’ve been there). After each stress fracture, I’ve found a plan that includes walk breaks, seeing a physical therapist, and strength training.
  4. Stay Positive: The second biggest tip for coming back after a running injury is staying positive. This is easier said than done. Try and focus on the positives on each run.  Even if the positive is just “I ran injury-free.” Any healthy run post-injury is a good run. Short runs or 30 minutes are better than being injured (a philosophy I still use today).
  5. Continually Reassess: Injuries are tricky that way. Some injuries, you come back and feel on top of the world.  Other injuries, you feel as though it will take months or even years to go back to where you left.
Finally, remember your fitness is a collection of workouts. A day, week, month, or event a year isn’t going to make or break your journey.
Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport in the newsletter. 

Questions for you:
Do you have any tips for coming back after a running injury? 
What is your favorite type of weather to run in?