“I’ve doing some exercises, it just doesn’t seem to be helping,” you say with a tinge of frustration.
“Have you been doing anything consistently, or simply throwing shit at the wall and seeing what will stick” I ask as I simultaneous crack a smirk-—pretty much insinuating that I knew the answer.
If you’re like the countless runners before you, you return the smirk as your gaze slowly falls with guilt.
I get it. Before seeking help your going to exhaust your free resources (typically Goolge and friends) to look for quick fix. After all, you don’t want to hear the dreaded “stop running.” As it goes, somewhere along the line you’ll likely find yourself full circle to the thing you were trying to avoid… you “stop running.”
I’ve discussed the ramifications of complete rest in this article, so I don’t feel the need to revisit it. Rather, lets talk about the point where most, but not all, runners end up through self treatment. This is the land of frustration. A place where you go and sit—-likely feeling hopeless-—and wonder if you’re ever going to run again.
Are You or a Friend in this Group?
Runners who fall into this group are typically at the end of the line. To me, these runners are grasping for lifeboats. It’s often marked with inconsistent running and hoping that just a few days off will do the trick. They (read you) have resorted to running maybe once or twice a week? You’re holding out hope that on one magical run your pain will vanish.
How Can You Break the Cycle? A Soft Reset
When questioning your running future it’s crucial to take a step back and institute a soft reset. Soft reset is termed from what most do with a frozen phone. It’s a system reboot that doesn’t completely erase your settings.
For runners, a soft reset is about getting some structure back. You’ll stop grasping at straws in your training and lay the framework for complete recovery.
The Key to an Effective Soft Reset: Structure
Listen, if you’re running once, maybe twice a week and it hurts, what’s the point? Your doing just enough to keep your injury active, while likely doing little to maintain your fitness.
Instead, find an aerobic activity that is completely pain free and hammer it. For most, this typically means the bike and elliptical. Both activities provide a great workout (yes I know running is better), but neither will rip off the band aid of your injury.
Progressing Your Soft Reset
After a few days of some mind soothing exercise, you’ll want to do one thing: bludgeon any thoughts that it’s ok to start running. I can assure you that transitioning from pain free walking to running never ends well. Rather than thinking you’re ready to run, why not try a few “pre-run” tests that give you feedback about your run readiness?
Start progressing and gaining confidence with progressively higher weight bearing activities. For most, this means transitioning from squats, to step ups, to lunging, and beyond. Put plainly, if you can’t accomplish the aforementioned exercise list without symptoms, you have no business running.
Finalizing Your Soft Reset
To get to this point it could have taken weeks, maybe months? The time frame is difficult to nail down, but it’s definitely proportional to the abuse you subjected yourself to prior to beginning your soft reset.
You’ll know you’re truly ready to build your running when you pass this ladder test and your first 10-minute feeler run. From there, an every other day build (cross train in between) is the path of least resistance. Don’t even try to cheat this every other day scenario… you’ll lose.
If you’re looking for a complete, laid out injury-reset program, take a look at this program. The seminar + eBook will guide you through a logical progression to reset and reload any injury.