Distressed? Don’t retire your trainers just yet
Recovering from an injury? Here’s how you can check your physical, emotional and mental health before returning to strike those paths.
- Consult a specialist
You’ve pulled a muscle mid-run and gimped home. A few days later, you’re still in pain. You could wait it out and see if time heals your injury, but savvy runners will make an appointment to see a specialist straight away.
‘Even if it’s just a one-off and you get the all-clear, seeing a professional will give you the confidence to keep training. And if the injury is significant, catching it early means the shortest rehab and therefore the least time away from running,’ says physiotherapist, rehab specialist and running expert at Reflex Physiotherapy Centre.
- Don’t run before you can jump – literally
If you’ve been under the guidance of a health professional, they will be able to assess whether you’re ready to get back out there. But if you’ve recovered under your own steam, a good marker is your ability to jump, according to physiotherapist and experienced runner.
‘Depending on the injury, being able to perform a vertical or horizontal jump several times will often illustrate whether your body can take the impact of running again.’ Jump to it.
- Rehab with a massage
It may sound indulgent, but think of massage as a treatment.
‘A good sports massage will aid injury recovery before you start running again, and regular treatments after your first few runs will continue to help your rehabilitation process,’ says physiotherapist.
‘The deep and specific pressure applied during a sports massage improves blood flow and helps to break up any unwanted scar tissue that may have built up in the muscles.’
- Rebuild confidence
If your injury was caused by a trip or fall, it might be more than your bum that’s bruised – your ego may have taken a knock, too. We suggest setting yourself a series of different goals, from the easily achievable to the more challenging.
‘When it comes to rebuilding confidence post-injury, be patient and be organized,’ says physiotherapist. ‘Recall why you want to run and assure yourself you will get back on track.’
But don’t get carried away; you need to be realistic about your goals and expectations post-recovery.