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Running with injury – is it time for a rest?

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A quick checklist to help you decide whether it's time to rest-up or if you can keep running with an injury.

If you’re a runner, chances are you’ve asked yourself this question.

Up to 80% of runners will sustain a running-related injury at some point. If we include running with a cold or flu, then the number jumps to 100%. The question is, do you rest, modify your training or continue on as if nothing’s wrong!

Whilst we’re all different and each of our circumstances unique, here’s what I suggest you think about as you contemplate whether to strap the shoes on or stay in bed.

1. Is it acute?

If you suffered an injury significant enough to cut a training session short, you should take 48-72 hours off, give it a chance to settle and throw some ice on it. If it’s still troubling you after this rest period, get it seen to.

2. Is the injury bad enough to affect your running style?

If you can’t run with your normal gait, continuing to train will lead to a worsening of the injury or a secondary injury somewhere else. We see this all the time. Take some time off, cross-train, and/or see a professional.

3. Is this a recurrence of an old injury?

Keep an eye on these ones. It may just be that your brain (and your genes) have some ‘memory’ of the old injury, but always better to get on to managing these injuries quickly. If you do, you can usually stop them from progressing.

4. Is the injury getting worse?

In most cases, if you record a worsening of an injury over the previous week of training, it’s not going in the direction you want! Take some time off and consider getting someone in the know to have a look at it.

5. Is it more than just a ‘cold’?

If your symptoms are typical for an upper respiratory tract infection (sore throat, sniffles and other things above the neck) then you’re probably okay. Research suggests that training in this situation won’t make you worse or slow your recovery.

However, if you have symptoms of a fever or cough (i.e. anything below the neck) then you need to rest, or there’s a good chance you’ll regret it!

WATCH: Should you exercise with a cold or flu?

I hope these tips help, but regardless of your answers, as you start to feel better and make your way back into training, back off a little and build your training up slowly.

Taking some time off and then jumping straight back in is one (if not the most-likely) reason for problems to occur.

Most injuries are simple to manage with a common-sense approach. Be wary of reading too much on the net, as there’s an awful lot out there and a lot of it is…not prudent advice! If you’re unsure whether you need to see someone, set up a Skype appointment with one of the expert Sydney Physio Solutions Physiotherapists.

They’ll ask you a series of questions and help you wade through the plethora of information available to advise you how best to tackle it.

Sydney Physiotherapy Solutions is a group of leading Physiotherapy clinics, based in the Sydney CBD and Chatswood.

Dr Brad McIntosh and the team at Sydney Physiotherapy Solutions are our 'go-to' physios for the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival.

Got  a question for the team? Ask a Physio here