steady road back to running after injury

I have had a hamstring injury now for 3 months and have had several false dawns when i thought i was on the road to recovery - too much too soon.
I will be starting a run/walk programme in a week (once walking fully OK) and I suspect getting back to former levels of activity is going to take me until the end of month.
The time out to-date coupled with the long rehabilitation programme is SO frustrating, so I'm looking for words of encouragement and those who have had similar problems that are now fully healed and running better than ever !!


  • Mistype - should read:

    "...going to take until end of MARCH" !
  • I had a long spell out injured and ran a half marathon pb within a couple of months of coming back. It was largely down to having a soft pb but even so I reckon you can come back pretty quickly if you confident the injury is healed.
  • Glad to hear it.
    Gets so frustrating. This will be the most systematic approach i've taken.
    Starting with a run/walk programme, with consistent running for 1hr by mid-march (fingers crossed).
    Should enter a half marathon for April for some light at the end of the tunnel.
  • I got an injury while running FLM last year. I had some initial treatment which seemed to solve it but every time I ran it would keep coming back. I would take a few weeks off then try running again but the injury always returned. By July I was so fed up with it that I went to see the doc at work. Fortunately he's an ultra-marathon runner so was sympathetic. He diagnosed the problem straight away and told me exactly how long I had to rest. I did as he said and the injury healed, but I had to avoid running completely for quite a few weeks. It was worth being patient though because the injury hasn't returned.
  • Boozeboy: Sorry to hear about your hamstring woes.

    I became a runner in late 2003, rapidly improved (comfortable 1:28HM pb, 60mile/week) and was on for a 3hr mara. at FLM April 2004. However a few weeks before the race I injured my lower back so sadly had to defer the race.

    Throughout 2004 everything I did (chiros, oesteos, physios) just made the back worse such that later that Aug I could not walk for 3 weeks. Then discovered Pillates which helped immensely.

    I returned back to running....well fast walking in Jan/Feb 2005. I had lost all my aerobic & muscular fitness, my resting HR went back up to 70 (was 42) and had put on 1.5st in weight. Training was plod for a minute, walk for a minute. Just this much effort knackerred me.

    I continued and did FLM2005 (via the deferral), busted a calf at Mile10 but finished in 3:42. Took six weeks off to recover from DOMS and calf, but continued cross-training and pillates.

    Throughout summer 2005, I had various comeback injuries: patella tendonitis, tight hamstrings, ITBS, achilles, calfs, glutes, piriformis. Everything but at least my lower back was fine (thank god!). Then did Cardiff in Oct05 for a comfortable 3:20.

    My injuries were because my body had regressed yet my mind remembered how it used to be: a classic case of waaaaaay too much too soon.

    My comeback tips would be:
    - maintain CV fitness via some low (zero) impact exercise eg cycling, swimming. This will keep you slim too.
    - do low-weight high-rep weight training on all leg muscles, hips and back to maintain your muscular strength and thicken the tendons.
    - stretch gentle and stretch often, the movements will keep you flexible.
    - when you resume running, try to build easy runs in terms of time-on-feet. Don't get hung up on miles per week or pace just yet. If you do run hard then remember you'll suffer not the next day but day after that ie DOMS.
    - as stated don't comeback too quickly else you'll be coming back often :-(
    - finally, take pleasure in the knowledge that unlike a mechanical machine, your body will improve with use :-)

    I'm now almost back to were I was 2 years ago.

    The very best of luck to you.
  • Thanks, great post - you have been through the mill.
    I have done a couple of 45 mins walks (2nd today), the first of which aggravated it a little, i'll see how today's fares over the next coupl of days.
    You are right about the mind over body, that's what's been causing these brief and ill fated comebacks!
    Would like to do half mara in April, but all depends on when i can start the run/walk programme - i'm working on the basis that 3/4 mile walk OK and stretches are clean and without pain as start date.
    All of this down to too many miles in one week - hindsight is a wonderful thing!
    Thanks again.
  • Boozeboy: No worries. I made plans "in 3weeks I'll be running X miles per week, then next month I'll do that race etc etc" for example I had entered British 10K for Aug and Windsor HM in anticipation that I'd be back to normal by then. Sadly I was a DNS at both events and sub sequently felt like a total falure.

    Don't make plans. You can not dictate your body to deliver. Just take each day as it comes.

    Indeed, hindsight is a wonderful thing, especially when others are giving you the benefit of theirs ;-)
  • I know how you feel, you're not the only one coming back from injury. And I bet there are tonnes of people who are in a much worse boat than we are by running through their injuries causing even greater time out in the future when it catches up with them!

    I've been off for 3 weeks with a pulled muscle. I felt better after a week & a half but was determined to listen to the advice I was given.

    I'm just going to take it steady. I will start with some very gentle 3, 4, 5 mile runs keeping my heart rate in the recovery zone. Then after a week & a bit I'll start increasing the mileage & intensity (slowly).
  • Thanks Beanie, steady is the word !

    nrg...Do you think your "rapid advance" when you atarted running was the reason for your subsequent run of injuries i.e they were waiting to happen ?
    I feel i may have attacked things a bit too aggressively. My pace was always about 7min/mile for my regular runs and about 8 min/miles for the longer ones.
    I was a good sportsman when younger and started the running after a good few years inaction, hence the desire to progress quickly.
    My approach is going to be alot more conservative (and structured) moving forward...8 min/miles for the shorter stuff and a bit slower for the longer ones.
    Do some speed sessions rather than consistently running quickly (have learnt alot on this site about how to structure a week)
    BTW, leg feeling pretty good today, so walk tomorrow will increase by 15 mins to 1hr.
    I've been icing for the two days after the walk and heat pack and stretching the day before next one...very time consuming!
    Cheers guys.

  • Boozeboy: Simple question - long answer.

    Have been overweight for my entire life, Dec 2002 was 17st and obese. So you can appreciate, I'm a serial back pain sufferer - have had 2 major episodes prior to my running career,

    Late 2003 I changed my running style to ball-of-foot running (Pose) as heel-striking was causing pains up my shins, knees, hips and lower back on low 30mpw. I also adopted HRM-controlled base-training where you run daily for at least an hour a day all at a nice easy 70%MHR in order to build a strong level of aerobic fitness - and then introduce higher HR runs later. So easy running with efficient style means lots of injury-free miles.

    The back injury was caused by me lifting heavy boxes over an entire weekend. The final straw was a box of heavy books whilst bent over in the attic. I had brought my weight done to 10st, so with minimal upper body strength its no wonder the back packed up and went on holiday.

    As part of my back-recovery, I was taught Pillates by a qualified physio who is (was?) not only a member of the UK Womens Triathlon Team but also qualified Pillates teacher and an adept Pose midfoot runner. She told me to continue with my way of running and the base-training approach. All this and the fact that she was a total drop-dead gaaawjuss babe made me want to marry her even it meant divorcing my wife ;-)

    I've noted your other thread on piriformis syndrome. To fill you in, my lower-back apparently repaired itself quickly but I still suffered from sciatic pain due to that nerve being aggravated by a tight piriformis. I got in touch with a great sports massage therapist who did some deep-tissue massage on the piriformis. Within days I was able to walk much better and hence started by comeback with run/walk.

    So "rapid advance" was not the cause. Though the lack of core-muscular strength did contribute. Direct cause was the wife who nagged me in shifting the boxes in the first place. Bliddy wimmen, can't live with them, certainly can't live without them !! ;-))))

    I know it is frustrating but "slow is the new fast". Please be a patient Patient.

  • Well done on the weight loss. I went from 14 1/4 stone down to 11 3/4 at 6ft tall. I'm just under 12 1/2 stone now.
    I have had physio on this - massage, ultrasound and most recently accupuncture.
    Unfortunately once the physio got it right before i cam back too quick and had to start again.
    went for 1hr walk today with some stretches along the way. Felt better but not 100 %. Not ready for running yet, so i'll keep walking until it is. I'll be doing 2hr walks at this rate (thank god for ipods!)
    I am not sure that mine is specifically piriformis but i think it was an issue before.
    What are you training for at the moment ?
  • Good luck, Boozeboy, sounds like you're doing all that's possible.

    I'm training for Rotterdam Marathon on 9Apr2006.
  • Still not running yet.
    BUT leg is feeling better on my walks and stretching is getting better with less reaction.
    So fingers crossed, a bit of running next week!
    You are correct about not having a plan, just going to take it as i feel. no point coming back too quickly - been there too many times now!
  • Good luck Boozeboy.

    I broke my leg 2 years ago, couldn't run for 4 months and since starting again I've now done FLM, Dublin and will be doing FLM again this year.

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