Telling Injured Runners not to run sucks. As Physios we usually have a very good reason but most runners hate and ignore this advice. What if we told you that you could miss or modify up to 5 weeks of training every 6 months and still hit your performance goal? What if we told you that the AIS tracked their runners for 5 years and proved this to be true? Read on for all the details………
One of the hardest parts of being a Physio is telling injured runners that they need to stop running. Here at Parkside, we try and avoid blanket advice to stop running for the vast majority of running injuries. If possible, we’ll do everything we can to keep you running by modifying things like distance, speed or hills in your training while building up capacity in the injured area with rehab exercises and hands on treatment.
If we tell you that you should stop running for a period of time, we really think there’s a good reason behind that advice. We’ll usually suggest an alternative to help maintain your endorphin hits, but we know this advice is not received well by most runners. We also know that some of you will just plain ignore our advice and keep running or go Doctor shopping for someone who’ll tell you what you want to hear and keep running.
What if we told you that you could miss or modify up to 5 weeks of training every 6 months and still hit your performance goal? What if we told you that the AIS tracked their runners for 5 years and proved this to be true? Here’s the details
They followed all track athletes for 5 years. They monitored the number of weeks of normal training lost to injury and illness in the 6 months leading up to the major event. They recorded the athletes’ performance goal for the season and whether it was achieved as the main outcome of “success”. Things like PB’s, international event placings or Olympic qualification status.
Here’s what they found
- On average, athletes had 1 injury or illness every 6 months which affected 1.5-2 weeks of training
- Injury occurred more often in the first month of the season, and illness in the last 2 months before the goal eventIf the athlete completed 80% or more training weeks normally, they were seven times more likely to achieve their season goal
- If they suffered less than two injury or illness episodes in 6 months, they were three times more likely to hit their goal
So, what does that really mean?
- It means that athletes could potentially miss or modify up to 5 weeks training every 6 months and still be likely to hit their goal.
- The first month after a layoff or start of a season is the riskiest for injury. Athletes with more than one injury bout, were actually found to be suffering recurrences of their original first-month injury. This is why we’ll suggest getting things sorted early because we know there’s a high risk of recurrence!
- Illness usually happens just before the event. This is due to an accumulation of training, competition and probably international travel for these athletes. Accumulated fatigue and poor recovery are probably more of a worry for us Average Joes.
So, when we tell you to take a week or two off running, we’ll do it knowing that your long-term performance is unlikely to suffer, that we’re helping your current injury get better quicker and not drag on, and that we’re preventing recurrences later in your training that are more likely to see you miss your goal.