Recently I sat down with a colleauge who’d just had surgery on his knee. Diagnosis: ruptured ligament. Now a year after: meniscus damage. He’s not completely recovered yet; he’s an ambitious athlete but can hardly sit still. Injuries happen and hold you back in training, but they’re not a reason to give up! A customer recently asked us how he should start running again after his injury and whether he should wear bandages for safety’s sake. We want to answer this question for you.  

Running after an injury

An injury will typically hold you back for at least double the amount of time that a break in training lasts. We recommend that your comeback is gradual -  as you have not worked your body (knees, ligaments, tendons) during your break. First get your body used to movement and build your basic training up, before you return to high-tempo workouts. Listen to your body and increase the intensity of your training in regular intervals (what you can cope with); both in terms of runs per week as well as the duration. We only partially recommend sport bandages for the purpose of joint protection, because their main function is stabilisation. We also want to support our joints with our own muscular strength, rather than bandages for an extended period of time. It makes more sense to target your strength training at the surrounding area. Cross training, as a different form of exercise compared to just running, can also help with recovery. Heart rate watches are really helpful when it comes to running because runners tend to go back to the usual tempo after an injury. That can quickly lead to overload. It’s better to aim for a heart rate and maintain a constant, slow tempo. Have patience, you’ll be back to full strength in no time! ;-)  
Here’s your plan:
  • Each time, begin to slowly run again
  • Continually increase your performance but don’t overwork it
  • Listen to your body, tempo isn’t that important!
  • Training your muscles with targeted strength and stretching exercises
  • Do more than one type of exercise; swimming or cycling etc.
  • Have patience, time heals practically everything ;-)
  Really important: prevention! Always find the cause of the problem and correct it. It could be new running shoes, insoles or a new training plan.