Injured? Take a Break
If you're a runner, chances are you've sustained an injury at least once in your "career".
In a systematic review by van Gent et al, it was reported that the incidence of lower extremity running injuries can reach as high as 79.3%! This is not good news considering the increased interest in running as a means of improving one's health.
Many factors may cause one to sustain an injury. Systemic factors such as (older) age, sex (females are at higher risk), and height (males > 1.70 meters) can increase one's risk. Running and training related factors may also increase this risk such as year-round running (without a break), weekly volume (> 64 km/wk), and longer race distances. Health and lifestyle factors are also contributors to the risk of lower extremity injury via a history of previous injury and participation in other sports.
While there are many controllable ways to decrease one's risk, what many runners fail to understand is the importance of rest and recovery once an injury is sustained. Far too often runners are more concerned with "getting in their miles" and in my opinion, this is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why injuries become chronic. They become addicted to the numbers and as a result, common sense gets thrown by the wayside. And I'm not even talking about the fact that running efficiency may be a better way to train in the first place!
If you ask a professional runner or elite level running coach what you should do if you sustain an injury, I guarantee they'll tell you that your first and foremost priority will be to fully recover from that injury!
Get the proper care and rehabilitate that injury. Even if you have a race coming up, you'll be better off with full recovery. Logging in those painful garbage miles really won't make you any faster!
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