Find the gaps between where you are and your running. That’s what we’re talking about today on the Doc On The Run Podcast.
I often get these kinds of comments and questions for people who call me for consultations and they’ll say, “Okay, I’ve been doing the routine that we discussed during our first call and I’ve got no pain, I’ve got no tenderness. How can I tell if I’m really ready to run now without hurting it?”
Well, it’s really simple. Every time I have these calls with athletes, I say, “Look, you got to look for the gaps. You have to know, are you weak? Are you unstable? Are you stiff? And how weak is the still healing but improved and now non tender tissue?”
For example, let’s say you have a tear in the plantar fascia. You do a whole bunch of stuff to protect it and let it heal for a period of a couple of weeks or so. You do whatever your doctor told you. And now it doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t hurt when you push on it. It doesn’t hurt when you move it. It doesn’t even hurt when you stand on it.
So, you’re thinking, can I run? Well, that depends. How long were you in crutches? How long were you in a boot? How long were you doing nothing at all? How long were you not running at all. If it’s been months, you know you’re going to be weak and you’re going to be unstable.
Although it may not hurt when you push on it with your thumb or your finger or you try to push on it when you stand up on your toes, you have to realize that if you run and you’re weak and you’re unstable, you’re at higher risk, and that’s what I mean by the gaps. You have to figure out what are the pieces you’re not really thinking about that you haven’t really considered that could put you at risk of re-injury, because the last thing that you want to do is crack the bone again, or tear the ligament again, or strain the tendon again, right when you start running. And as soon as you run, I promise it’s going to feel good, even if you’re barely getting over your injury.
The problem is, is that makes you feel so good that you’ll want to do more, you’ll want to run faster, you’ll want to run longer, and if you’re weak and unstable and you haven’t really thought about the gaps in your recovery, then you’re going to get injured again. And that is going to be unsustainably demoralizing. So, you’ve really got to think about the gaps, look for the gaps, figure out the pieces that you can correct right now in your current state of recovery, so you can get back to running as quickly as possible and that will help you a lot, just be thoughtful about it.
If you liked this episode, please share it with a runner who needs to hear it, and I’ll see you in the next training.