How to return to running after a injury
Babe Ruth once said "It's hard to beat a person who never gives up." Coming back from injury is not an easy task. It takes hard work, perseverance, and dedication to get back to where you once were from any injury. Coming from experience as someone who has had an ankle rebuilt as well as multiple shin splints, fractured bones, and torn muscles. The path to becoming just a beginner athlete is a long journey but, hopefully I can offer you some pointers that will help you on your journey back from being injured.
Make sure to stretch every morning and night
Yes I am sure we have all been told this countless times, probably more than we can ever imagine. But, make sure to stretch the injured muscle group every morning and night for 10 minutes. When you muscle is held stiff in the position due to immobilization (from a boot or cast) or from having to minimize the movement of it. Your muscle needs to be able to regain the flexibility it once had. There are multiple ways to stretch one muscle, so take the time to mix it up. One more doing some dynamic stretch to get the muscle moving and some static stretches at night to get some extra oomph out of the stiff appendage. Whether which type of stretch you do just make sure you slowly progress and do what the muscle is allowing you to do.
Start with a run/walk workout routine when you are cleared to workout
When the doctor gives us the all clear to begin exercising again I know all of ours first instinct is to go right back into the routine we were just in. But, I promise you need to slowly get back into it. When starting out I would recommend running 1 minute, then walking 2-3 depending on the severity of the injury you are coming off of. Slow and steady will always win the race on the road to recovery, so make sure you start your workouts even slower than you are use too and the road to recovery will be much smoother than you think.
Keep frequency low when just starting back
In building off of our previous tip, when you first back back on your feet you need to start slow. We are talking one run every two days to begin. Let your nerves and muscular system build back the response to the stimulus of the running. Once you are able to accomplish this for a couple weeks then increase to two days of running then one day of rest. But, allowing your body the time to readapt is crucial for the recovery process. In this case slow and steady will truly won the race.
Keep your spirits high on this journey
Such a simple idea yet one of the hardest to achieve. Keeping your head up while you are injured is not the easiest thing to do. It is very easy to go to a dark place and tell yourself, that you will never be as good as you once were or that you will never recovery. So, take the time to believe in yourself and give yourself the affirmation that you need. This process is long and hard so, there is no need to have to fight the battle with yourself since you are already fighting the injury. I recommend taking a little bit a time each day to do what you enjoy, whether that is video games, reading a book or hanging out with friends and family. That little time of enjoying what you love will go a long way on your road to recovery.
In conclusion, just take the recovery slow. There is so many different ways to recover and get back into running again but if you go too hard too fast all you will do is injury yourself and set yourself up to fail. Just keep on pushing every single day and do not give up. You will get there and it will be the most rewarding experience when you do.