How to Return to Running After a Muscle Strain

Q I’ve strained my right calf muscle in the middle of half-marathon training. How soon can I jump back into my run schedule?

A When you are healed and pain free, you can return to running. It’s best to reduce your volume and intensity as you return. Although there is no concrete formula that is proven safe, I am comfortable with the 50 per cent plan. Start out at half the distance at a slower pace than usual and see how it feels. The longer you have been away from running, the more gradual the rate of return. In usual training schedules, the increase in volume is 10 per cent per week, but if you have maintained strength and fitness (through cross-training), you might be able to accelerate that plan until you approach your previous training volume and intensity. It takes soft tissue like muscle and tendon in the range of 12 weeks to heal fully, so ramping up at a slow rate may protect the new tissue until it is stronger and able to fully withstand the stresses of running.

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