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  • Physiopod

Rehab Programme For Runners After Injury

Tips for preventing injury/re-injury

  • Many running injuries are caused by being too quick to increase the distance you run. Don’t increase your weekly running distance and time by more than 10% at a time.

  • Increase the intensity of the jog or run (how hard/fast) before you increase the duration (how long).

  • When you increase the frequency of the workouts (how many days you jog or run), decrease the duration.

  • Change your running shoes every 600 Km.

  • Be careful of running downhill too much and try to run on softer surfaces (like grass) rather than hard surfaces (like concrete or tarmac).

  • If you’re struggling to run more than two days a week because of the impact this has on your joints, you may find a cross-trainer helpful instead, to keep your fitness levels up.

  • Make sure you rest between workouts, and eat and drink properly to avoid tiring yourself out. Try to maintain a healthy body weight so that you’re not putting unnecessary strain on your joints.

  • Cool down properly. At the end of each run walk around for three to five minutes to allow your heart rate to decrease. This should be followed by stretching. Stretch your muscles until the point of tension, and then hold the stretch for 30 to 45 seconds. Do at least three stretches per muscle group.

  • If you have a particularly tight spot in your muscles, stretch frequently – not just after a run, but also after your initial warm-up or even at every mile.

return-to-running programme

When beginning a programme to return to running, you should adapt it to meet your needs, taking into consideration your original injury and your health.

You should progress through the programme one phase at a time.

Phase one: walking programme:

You should be able to walk pain-free and at a fast pace (roughly six to eight Km per hour), in a controlled environment (preferably on a treadmill) before moving on to the next phase.

Phase two:

A one-Km run typically consists of 1,500 foot contacts (750 per foot).

This phase involves exercises that have 470 foot contacts per leg (equivalent to two-thirds of the foot contacts during a Km run).

Stretch your calves, quads and hamstrings between the exercises. If you experience pain, or are unable to complete an exercise, stop, stretch and apply ice to the affected area. If you are pain-free the next day, try to restart the routine.

Rest for 90 seconds between sets, and three minutes between the exercises.

Exercises Sets Foot contacts per set Total foot contacts

Two-leg ankle hops: in place 3 30 90

Two-leg ankle hops: forward / 3 30 90


Two-leg ankle hops: side to side 3 30 90

One-leg ankle hops: in place 3 20 60

One-leg ankle hops: forward / 3 20 60


One-leg ankle hops: side to side 3 20 60

One-leg broad hop 4 5 20

Total 22 - 470

Once you’ve successfully completed this phase, you should be ready to attempt running 700-1000 m.

Phase three: walk / jog progression

You can begin this phase (making sure you only run on level ground) if you have successfully completed phases one and two and you have no pain with your normal daily activities.

The exercises

Stage Walk Jog Repeat for

Stage one 5 minutes 1 minute 30 minutes

Stage two 4 minutes 2 minutes 30 minutes

Stage three 3 minutes 3 minutes 30 minutes

Stage four 2 minutes 4 minutes 30 minutes

Stage five Jog every other day with a goal of reaching 30 minutes

Begin with five minutes of walking, gradually increasing the pace. End with five minutes of walking, gradually decreasing the pace to a comfortable walk.

Phase four: timed running schedule

You can begin this phase (making sure you only run on level ground) if you have successfully completed phases one, two and three and you have no pain with your normal daily activities.

Run every other day for eight weeks for the duration outlined in the table below.

Cross-train or rest on your days off.

Estimate a pace between eight to nine minutes per 1.5 Km.

Week Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun

1 30 - 30 - 30 - 35

2 - 30 - 30 - 35 -

3 35 - 30 - 35 - 35

4 - 35 - 40 - 35 -

5 35 - 40 - 40 - 35

6 - 40 - 40 - 40 -

7 45 - 40 - 40 - 45

8 - 45 - 40 - 45 30

After eight weeks, you can start running multiple days in a row. Increase the duration or intensity of the run on the first day you run or jog after a day of rest; then decrease your activity on the following day.

9 - 45 35 - 45 40 -

10 45 45 - 45 45 30 -

11 45 45 35 - 45 45 40

12 - 45 45 45 - 45 45

What to do if you experience pain:

If you develop swelling in a joint or muscular pain that lasts longer than 72 hours, you have done too much and