You’re not normal. It’s ok, neither am I.
Whether you love the challenge or you’re running for health reasons (mental and physical), being a runner is not “the norm” in society. Only a small snippet of the population struggles through hot summer days and fights for oxygen as they push themselves to a finish full of flat beer and cold pizza.
If you take anything from this article it’s that you’re not normal. Because of this, you shouldn’t be treated as normal.
“Take it easy at first, but you can go back to normal” your doctor says to a smiling you. Naturally, you don’t question the statement, it was the external validation you needed to get back to your “normal activity.”
This scenario leads more runners to my office than you would think. From hernia repairs and child birth to knee arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgery, countless runners were released from their physicians care with arbitrary and vague guidelines.
Chances are your physician is seeing more non-athletes than not and that’s fine; however, you certainly shouldn’t be treated the same. Normal for a runner and non-runners are polar opposites and worth appreciating.
Here’s what I recommend when getting the “all clear” and “resume normal activities” from your doc:
- Start with low impact cardio
- Introduce Load to the Old Injury
- Spend Four Weeks Reintroducing Running (Minimum)
- Run every other day
The bike and elliptical are great low impact alternatives before running out the door… literally. Take your first week and get back into the swing of things. If you can’t bike or elliptical without symptoms you certainly can’t run, which is good to know before you try.
Before going out and pounding on yourself to “see what happens,” begin with low resistance, controlled exercise and stretching. To accomplish this use resistance bands, body weight, and/or light weights. To find a list of exercises you can view RunSmart’s exercise library here: click here (membership required).
Once able, don’t fall victim to the arbitrary three mile “I’ll see how it goes and stop if it hurts.” Sound familiar? Instead transition from #1. Spend time on the bike or elliptical and toss a short dose of running afterwards of 10-20 minutes.
From clinical experience every other day run seems to be the right fit after a running hiatus. Spend your first two weeks building slowly (5-10 minutes per run) on an every other day schedule. The non-run days can be filled with the bike or elliptical to control your crazy.
To sum it up… you’re not normal. Instead of writhing your hands as you impatiently wait for the doc’s “all clear,” realize that your doc is likely expecting you to go back to what is normal by society: activities of daily living with a side of infrequent light exercise.