Getting Back to Running After an Injury

So today was my first run in about nine days. During the weekend before last, I got a strange sensation in my calf muscle and stopped running halfway through my three-mile workout and walked the rest of the way back to the car. I’ve had a few foot-related injuries (on both feet, so they’re even!) in the last several years, so I’m extra scared that over-doing it will just worsen the situation.

What I did right after the injury

It’s simple: I did little the rest of the day I got injured. I iced my calf and elevated my leg as much as I could. I did some light walking for the next couple of days after that, but nothing too strenuous.

Although I still consider myself a “newbie” runner, it’s interesting how much not running affected my week. I grew more depressed from the lack of serotonin, and was anxious about whether I might have screwed things up. I had just increased the length of my runs the week before, and I wondered if I over-did it.

How I eased back into running

My trainer had some advice for me: make sure you warm up before each run. I was stretching and speed-walking for five minutes before my runs, but she’s talking actual circuits here, including jump-squats, jumping jacks, and the like. She believes this will warm the body up properly for the repetitive motion that running entails, while also helping to minimize injuries.

So I made a plan before my run today. I would only go for 30 minutes, and I would do the 30 seconds on, 60 seconds walking method. I also did my jumping jacks and squats in the parking lot, feeling like a pretentious asshole while people passed me on their way to the head of the trail.

However, it seemed to work! So far, I don’t have the pain that I experienced on my run last weekend. And while the 30/60-second interval timing seemed much easier than I’m used to, I think I will stick with it a couple of more runs before moving on. With a few races on my calendar in the very near future, I definitely don’t want to inadvertently put myself on the sidelines.

Also, perhaps more importantly, if I continue to experience pain, I will see a doctor. 🙂

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