How to recover from a running injury... by running
Running may be one of the healthiest pastimes to keep you fighting fit, but unfortunately even the most adept runners can sometimes be susceptible to injury, including sore and painful joints, stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, and iliotibial band syndrome. However, if you've been unfortunate enough to sustain a running injury, there are a few steps you can take to aid your recovery and get back out there.
The best way to prevent injury from happening in the first place is by properly warming up, cooling down, stretching thoroughly, and wearing the right running shoes. Even if you follow all of the aforementioned rules, you should always stop running as soon as you feel pain.
After an injury
It is common to try and overcompensate after a running injury in order to try to get back to where you were; this is a mistake. Instead, take it slow with a thorough warm-up, before walking and working up to a gentle run. After five to ten minutes, check for pain before continuing. Cool down by walking, and gradually you can build on this as you increase your stamina and mileage.
A good acronym to remember is 'RICE': rest, ice, compression and elevation. Ice is recommend immediately after exercising, or within 48 hours.
When you begin training, mileage should be increased as a general rule by about 10 per cent each week. Try not to exceed this, or push yourself too hard at first; if you feel pain, stop immediately and follow RICE.
Remember, there are other ways to increase your fitness while you get back on track, including less high impact sports such as swimming, cycling or an elliptical trainer. Going for long walks can be relaxing and peaceful.
Isolation can be detrimental to your recovery, so during this time, try to stay in touch with friends and running partners. If you're going to miss out on an event, attend as a spectator and lend your support.
Talking to a physical therapist or podiatrist can also help, and they could help give you advice on how best to deal with your injury and what kind of shoes you should be wearing for optimal support.
However you decide to tackle your running injury, try to stay positive and be patient with yourself. Good luck!