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Exercise Principles

Before you begin the conditioning phase of injury recovery (see the bottom of this page), know that strengthening and loading exercises are important for building tissue resilience. Without it, the tissue becomes weaker over time, more prone to injury, and requires longer recovery periods.

Pain is not necessarily bad. As you begin the rehab process, and the pain has subsided (less than 3/10 on the pain scale), it is okay to exercise into some discomfort. Here is how to determine if you are loading too much: 1.) The pain rises above a 4/10 on the pain scale (see below for the rating system), 2) Pain is sharp rather than dull, 3.) Once the activity is done, it takes too long for the pain to subside (it should be down to baseline in less than 60 minutes after exercising), and/or 4.) Pain has increased hours later or the next day.

Runners are prone to not take days off to rest. The paradox is that we get stronger when we allow time for our tissues to recover. If you exercise on one day, consider taking the next day off or training a different muscle group to allow sufficient recovery time (24-48 hours). Muscle tissue usually recovers faster, while areas with less blood flow (e.g. tendons, cartilage) may take more time.

At the beginning of a training program, especially, it is more about quality than quantity. Each exercise should be done slowly to ensure enough load and tension over time. It is not about completing the exercises as fast as possible.

Do not stress about missing a day. It happens – sickness, busyness, etc. Just re-focus as best as possible, and take it one day at a time.

To get the muscle loose, walk for several minutes or do some light activities based on pain rating (see below) to get the blood flowing in the appropriate muscles. Check out our Pre-run Warm Up on our Principles of Running page as one approach. This will help reduce the risk of injury and prepare your body for load.

The items listed below can are effective in aiding the rehab and conditioning processes. Specific use is outlined further amidst each ARC rehab and conditioning phase.**

Outcome Measures

Outcome Measures

Use the following two scales throughout the ARC process to assess your progress. We suggest that you pick 2-3 activities, and rate them on both scales each week. 

0 = No Pain
3 = Minor ache that feels safe to exercise with (i.e. at a low risk to increase)
5 = Dull ache with activity, which may include rare instances of sharp pain, aggravation takes about a minute to subside
7 = Variable pain, more sharp than dull, that takes time to subside and may cause a slight limp when walking.
10 = Very sharp persistent pain, impossible to endure during activity, where aggravation takes several minutes or more for the pain to subside.

0 = Unable to perform at all
3 = running is met with immediate pain, unable to perform for prolonged period of time
5 = Can run for some time, but pain comes on with running relatively quickly
7 = Run for significant amount of time (about 75% of normal), may have mild difficulty with sprints
10 = No problem with running at all

Continue Rehab & Conditioning*

* If you have more than one area of pain and are not sure how to proceed, please Contact Us

**ARC Running is not affiliated with any of the linked items, nor do we receive any benefits from recommending them. We provide them simply as some essential tools we have personally found effective in the rehab and conditioning process.