You cannot run early without data. And that’s what we’re talking about today on the Doc On The Run Podcast.
I just had a conversation with a runner who signed up for one of the courses and she actually booked a short call just to get a jumpstart on the course, figure out what you really needed to do, what you didn’t need to do right away to get better as quickly as possible.
She asked me a really interesting question at the end of our call and she said, “Okay, based on what we talked about, are you sure that my ligament is not going to just rip apart if I start running?” And I said, “No, I’m not sure of that at all. In fact, we didn’t even talk about your injury. You told me that you think you have this injury?” And I said that what you need to do right now is start tracking your pain because you don’t know where you are. You have no data. You don’t even know what’s really wrong other than one doctor told you that you had an injury, another doctor tells you, you didn’t really have that injury, you had something else and you think you have something else entirely.
If you don’t know what’s wrong, you have to try to figure out what’s wrong either by getting an imaging study that shows you exactly like if you broke your leg and you see a fracture on an X-ray, you know you have a broken leg. But if you get an MRI, and one doctor says one thing and another doctor says something else, you still don’t know. And so then you have to try to figure out where you are in your progression of recovery and return to running.
You get that through data. Not data like an MRI, or a blood test, but keeping track of your pain, your discomfort and your response to every activity you try. So, when we’re on that call, I told her do a number of things like, “Okay, how much pain you have right now?” She says, “Zero to ten.” “Okay, how much pain you have standing up?” She says, “one out of ten”. “How much pain you have walked around barefoot?” She says, “One out of ten”. “How much pain you have going upstairs?” She says, “two out of ten”. “How much pain you have standing up on your foot?” So, we tried a whole bunch of things that, “Okay, right now you have some data points for today.”
What you need to do is you need to check and see if you do some other things if those go down. Like if you do some stuff to reduce the stress and strain on the injured piece of tissue and your numbers go down, you know you can do more activity without stressing and straining that injured piece of tissue more. Then what you have to do is use those strategies and start exercising, not jumping rope or doing something that you know will screw it up but you start doing activities that will support your running fitness, while actually not aggravating the tissue. The only way that you didn’t aggravate the tissue is if your pain doesn’t go up, so you have to start testing methodically, and you have to do it in a thoughtful way that’s actually starting with those activities that are the least likely to stress it, but the most likely to maintain your running fitness and help you maintain all the strength you’ve built up over months or years of running.
But without data you can’t do that. So, you can’t expect a doctor to hear your story in five minutes, look at your X ray in five minutes and then give you an answer in five minutes. But you can do this on your own in terms of creating data that you can analyze to determine, can I run, can I do some other stuff to make my maintain my running fitness, can I get back to running earlier. But without data, you just can’t do that.
If you know an injured runner that needs to hear this, please share it with them. Please share this episode. Please like it. Please subscribe and I’ll see you in the next training.