#510 How to take an honest injury inventory for runners - DOC

#510 How to take an honest injury inventory for runners

Today on the Doc On The Run podcast, we’re talking about taking an honest inventory when you’re a runner with an injury who’s trying to get back to running.


Before we get started in this episode I just want to let you know I created something for you that I think you might find really useful. It’s a presentation sharing the three main secrets I have discovered that are used by injured runners so they can maintain their running fitness and still recover from any over-training injury. Even if it’s a stress fracture, a plantar plate tear, a partial rupture of the plantar facia or Achilles Tendinitis.. this will help you get up and get moving!

So if you’ve been told you have to sit on the couch and wait for an x-ray or for something to change, you need to check this out.

I’ll explain more at the end of the episode. And let’s queue up the theme song and get started with today’s show.

I was just on a call with an injured runner who’s been having trouble for a couple of months, and many of the things we talked about centered on getting baseline numbers so you can figure out where you really are with your fitness, with your injury, with your recovery or lack thereof and you’ve got to take an honest inventory.

Just like if you’re trying to track your finances, you need to know what the numbers are. If you’re trying to also get faster as you’re training for a marathon or an Ironman or something like that, you got to track the numbers. You’ve got to watch your heart rate. You have to look at what’s happening with your pace. Are you actually improving or not?

You need to know this with your injury because the whole key to getting recovered as quickly as possible, of course, is letting the injury heal while you work to maintain your running fitness that supports that injured part so that you can get back to running actually faster and ahead of schedule. That’s the whole goal.

So the first that I say if you’re trying to get an honest inventory, you’re really trying to figure out where you are, it’s a couple of things. You’re trying to figure out, again, where you are with the actual injury and where you are in terms of your actual running fitness that may have been sliding a little bit because you’ve probably been dumbing down your runs a little bit, running a little slower, running a little shorter, skipping things here and there, and then your fitness, without really perceiving it, is really taking a beating and it’s sliding and you’re losing it quickly. So you’ve got to figure out what those numbers are.

First step: Record your pain

Here’s the sort of the steps that I use to do that. They’re basically four steps. The first step is to start recording a pain journal. Now, most partners don’t want to do this. They don’t want to record their numbers on how much it hurts or anything else, but you’ve got to get your base numbers today. How much does it hurt when you get out of bed in the morning? How much does it hurt if you’re standing on tile in the kitchen, making coffee? How much does it hurt when you’re walking to the bathroom or if you’re walking upstairs, if you’re standing on carpet, if you’re standing in running shoes? What does it feel like when you do these everyday things right now? On a scale of 1 to 10, what is it? Is it a 1 out of 10? Is it an 8 out of 10? You need to know those numbers so that you can actually decide when you can add more activity or if you need to back off activity. That’s the first thing. So you do that today.

Second step: Remove the inflammation

Second thing, you got to remove the inflammation. A lot of times when you have overtraining injuries, it’s a stress-related injury, and because of the chronic inflammatory response, you have a lot of extra fluid in the tissue and it hurts because you poke on it and it squishes the cutaneous nerves because everything’s distended, it’s swollen. You got to get that inflammation out to get this under control. So step two is to get rid of the inflammation and then you can make a better assessment of your actual, real baseline numbers.

Third step: Make a better assessment

And that’s step number three, you go back to your pain journal. You remove the inflammation the first couple of days, you do some stuff to really get that fluid out of there, and then check those numbers again. Same thing, when you step out of bed, when you’re making coffee, standing barefoot on tile, when you’re walking up the stairs, when you’re walking on carpet, when you’re walking in running shoes, all of these things that you do every day, you record them again to see what it actually feels like after you’ve removed all that inflammation.

Fourth step: Assess your fitness

Now, the fourth thing is that once you have all those numbers and you really have a clear picture of how severe your injury is, now you need to assess your fitness. So don’t do this unless you’ve been cleared by a doctor to do it. But, most of the time, when I talk to somebody who’s had an injury for a couple of months, it really doesn’t hurt right now, they have no clue where they are, I tell them to get those baseline numbers and then I say, “Okay, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to do a running fitness test.”

There are several ways to do this, but a couple of really common ways is to go do a one mile speed test where you basically go to the track, you run one mile fast as you can, and compare that to your prior numbers. So if you’ve done that in the past, you have something to compare it against. Or you could take your marathon time, and then instead of doing a marathon, you don’t want to do that with an overtraining injury, but you could go to the track and do the Yasso 800s, which are pretty good predictor of marathon pace.

If you take your half marathon time or your marathon time, and you do the Yasso 800s to really get a comparison, you’ve got something to compare it against. So then you know two things: you know what your real baseline numbers are with and without the inflammation, and so that part is really important, so that gives you the severity of your injury, number one; and number two, it gives you a real picture of what your fitness is like.

So if your fitness is to taking a nosedive, you need massive action now. You need to do something to maintain your running fitness. You need to start doing some exercises. You need to start working out. You need to start doing stuff to rebuild that fitness while you’re healing the injury. That is really the key if you want to get back to running as quickly as possible.

At the beginning this episode I told you that I have created a presentation that you really need to see if you are injured and are trying to figure out what to do next. You’re going to find really useful if you have an overtraining injury and you are told that the key is to sit still, rest, recover and, in short…do nothing other than watch your fitness evaporate.

It doesn’t have to be that way. I will show you 3 Secrets to Overtraining Recovery that injured runners use to maintain their running fitness and still recover from any overtraining injury. You can use the presentation get moving, maintain your hard-earned running fitness and get past any overtraining injury.

Registration is free just go to docontherun.com/overtrainingsecrets and sign up there.