#278 Runners need Aggressive Healing - DOC

#278 Runners need Aggressive Healing

Today on the Doc On The Run podcast, we’re talking about how injured runners need aggressive healing. 

Most runners are aggressive by nature. Think about what happens when you sign up for a race. You start planning. You work out all of the details of what you’re going to do to get strong enough to prepare for that race and finish in your goal time. 

Then you start training. You are obsessive about your training. You get up, you will train in the dark, you’ll train early in the morning. You’ll sacrifice things just to get your training in. You probably start to become a little bit obsessive about your eating. You know you, you won’t eat certain things. You have to eat a certain number of times a day and then you start analyzing what happens. You look at your training plan, you look at your results, you try to see if you’re making progress and you do whatever it takes to reach for your goals and make sure that you can achieve them.

And in reaching for those goals, many times your friends start to label you as “obsessed.” They think you’re being too aggressive with your plan. 

Well, sometimes we are so aggressive, we make a mistake, do too much, and then get injured. 

That’s part of the deal. You can’t go water skiing without getting wet. You can’t push the limits of your fitness without doing a little too much once in awhile. That’s not the end of the world. You have to forgive yourself if you do that. That’s okay. You know, you’re going to push yourself. You’re going to do too much. You’re going to do something that is foolish. 

That’s why you have a coach. You have a coach will help you stay on track so that you can get back on track as quickly as possible.

Now, the bad news is that we are now unfortunately inundated with this air of self-care mentality that sometimes backfires. It’s really this culture of, you know, you need to take care of yourself and a lot of your well-meaning friends and family members are going to tell you to take care of yourself, trying to help you, but it’s not really helpful. Just like a doctor who tells you to rest, to sit still, or stop running isn’t really helpful to a runner. You know, if we want to run, the last thing we need to be told is just stop running. Running IS your plan.

The good news is that you already know how to heal. 

You know how to heal any running injury because healing that running injury is the same as recovery when training. Think about what happens when you’re training. You go out, you do tissue damage. You’re actually trying to push yourself enough to get tissue damage that has to heal and as a consequence of that healing process, that tissue, whether it’s your calf muscles or your quads or your Achilles tendon or your metatarsal bones, they all become stronger as a consequence of that very minor tissue injury we call training.

You don’t get strong while you’re running. You get strong from resting afterward and recovering from that process. You obviously know how to do that if you’re a runner. You know how to make a plan to stimulate the tissue damage and then let that tissue actually heal. That’s really all you have to do when you get a running injury because the running injury is just an exaggerated version of that exact same tissue damage you get from training.

But the real issue is that you have to ignore that take care of yourself, just sit still, you know, self-care mentality that we see all of our social media and from some of your friends and you have to instead start thinking, how can I be aggressive about my healing plan? How can I be just as aggressive in my healing plan as I am in my training plan?

That’s what you really have to think about and sometimes that can seem a little counter intuitive. For example, a lot of runners think that being aggressive means that when they get a metatarsal stress fracture, they should ice the foot, take some ibuprofen, ignore the pain and go for the next run that’s on their training schedule. That’s what you call a mistake. That’s not a good idea. You’re just going to make it worse.

But if you can be aggressive in the initial healing of that metatarsal stress fracture by really taking it easy for a couple of days, maybe even wearing a fracture walking boot for a day or two, something to completely rest that tissue and let it kind of jumpstart the healing so it gets some more stability and moves further along the healing process before you stress it again, that would be a good idea. That’s what I mean by being aggressive and sometimes it seems counterintuitive.

You’re trying to actually aggressively rest and hold it still, not just half do it. You don’t want to do your long runs really fast and you don’t want to do your speed work really slow. That doesn’t help in either respect, so you really want to try to be extreme with doing your long runs, long and slow. You want to be extreme with doing your speed work, short and fast. And when you need to rest because you’ve been injured, you need to be aggressive with that rest.

One thing that can help you is to get the healing runners goal worksheet. Print it out. Fill it out. It’s at the bottom of the show notes, adocontherun.com, under the podcast tab. It’ll give you some things to think about to help you be aggressive in your healing when you get a running injury.

Get The Healing Runners Goal Worksheet…it will give you some things to think about. 

Download the Healing Runner’s Goal Worksheet. It will help you take what you know about goal setting in running and use what you already know to focus your healing. It’s free. Go get it now!

Healing Runner’s Goal Worksheet











If you have a question that you would like answered as a future addition of the Doc On The Run Podcast, send it to me PodcastQuestion@docontherun.com. And then make sure you join me for the next edition of the Doc On The Run Podcast!