Yesterday I was giving a lecture at the International Foot & Ankle Foundation meeting in Lake Tahoe. The topic was on protocols for return to running after recovering from over training injuries.
I was giving a lecture in the hopes of trying to help doctors understand the exact protocols and frameworks I use when I am working with injured runners who need to maintain their running fitness as they recover from over training injuries.
One of the most important points I was trying to make to the doctors in that session was that fitness is transient.
Fitness is only present in the presence of growth.
If you’re an injured runner this is terrible news.
Virtually every time an injured runner calls me for a second opinion they have either completely stopped, or significantly curtailed, all exercise.
If you are not working out, you are not getting stronger.
If you are not getting stronger, you are getting weaker.
All runners appreciate the concept that fitness is transient. Think about your training plan. You start working out. You develop a base level of running fitness. You ramp up your distance and intensity according to a fixed schedule of a few weeks.
You then drop down your level of activity to recover and then ramp it up again. You do this over and over for months in preparation for a marathon or an ironman triathlon or an ultra-marathon. The goal of course is to make sure that your maximum level of physiologic fitness happens on race day. But you cannot hold that same level of physiologic fitness forever. In fact, you can’t even maintain it for a few months in a row. You have to ramp up and then recover and then ramp up again.
But you can’t take months off and keep your fitness.
Although we appreciate that fitness is transient it can be lost, easily.
So if you were injured your number one focus has to be maintaining your running fitness so that it doesn’t cost you months or years of hard work.
Even if you have a metatarsal stress fracture in your foot, you can still continue to develop
strength in other areas of your body.
Even if you have plantar fasciitis, you can maintain your running fitness. If you don’t understand how to do that, join me in the Injured Runners Aid Station and I’ll help you figure out how.
Just go to www.DocOnTheRun.com/aidstation and start thinking about what you can do right now to make sure you are doing everything possible to hang on to your running fitness while you recover from your running injury.