How to Make a Comeback After an Injury

By: Lydia Schapiro

As a runner, I’ve had firsthand experience with the plight of being injured. In fact, about two months ago I overused a muscle in my hip which resulted in resting from running for a long time. I had been running 6-8 miles a day pre-injury, and while I had always had my doubts about it, the runner’s high is very real. I only realized this a few days after not being able to run. I truly felt as if I would go insane I missed running so much; I needed those endorphins. During my recovery period, I learned a lot and I am fortunate to have fully recovered. If your injury is not too serious and you take the right steps, you can recover too. Start by following these tips:

Do: Make time for recovery.

This is extremely important! Without proper rest and recovery time, an injury cannot heal. I know how conflicting it may be to feel like you just need to get that workout in, but it’s not worth it, because it will just come back to hurt you. Allow your body the time it needs. You have a much better shot at a full recovery in the long run.

Don’t: Do nothing.

No, you don’t have to give up all form of exercise. There are almost always alternatives. For me, walking was a big one. I couldn’t run, but walking was a great way for me to keep working on my form and to not feel like I was going stir crazy. It might feel easy to stop exercising and let this time be solely rest, but that is actually not the greatest way to keep your body in its best condition. Ideally, when injured, you should still be doing light exercise if your body allows it.

Do: Try different exercises.

This is the perfect time for experimentation. Now that you can’t stick to that rigid routine, try some of the machines or core workouts you’ve always thought about but have never had the time for. Aside from being fun, you may notice yourself becoming stronger in ways you’ve never seen before. You may even pick up some additions to your regular workout routine.

Don’t: Start up again too soon.

This is the absolute worst thing you can do. As I mentioned, recovery and rest are vital if you want to be able to do what you love again. I attempted to run too soon and found myself failing each time. Honestly, it took me a little time to accept that I would not be able to run for longer than I wished but accepting this was the best thing for my body in the end.

Do: Stretch.

Stretching is a great way to speed up the recovery process and sooth your muscles. There are websites and videos where you can learn which stretches are best for your specific injury. Overtime, you will also realize you’re becoming more flexible than ever. If you don’t know how to do certain stretches, or which specific ones you should be doing, contact a trainer or a fellow athlete.

Don’t: Give up.

No one said it will be easy. Being injured can feel like the end of the word, but you will survive. Instead of moping around feeling sorry for yourself, make time for some of the things you’ve wanted to do but haven’t had time for. Visit friends and family, travel to local attractions, take yourself out. There are endless possibilities!            

Do: Eat and drink well.

It is important for your body to get the proper nutrients at this time. Eating enough protein, fruits, vegetables, and the right fats will not only help you recover more efficiently, you’ll feel better. It can be difficult to know how much, what specific foods, and when to eat, but there are nutritionists who you can go to if you’re stuck. Take the time to do some research and stock up on your healthy snacks.

By following some of the advice I have offered, you should be on the right track if that dreaded injury comes along. Your body works hard, give it the respect it deserves.