Couch to 5K
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Running after injury

Hello all 😊

I started running in May using a similar programme to C25K, I surpised myself with my own ability and was soon running 7KM in 45 mins. I absolutely loved it and was running 3 to 4 times a week, after a couple of months I decided to invest in proper kicks and have my gait measured. In a twist of fate also known as sod's law, I spent £100+ on the trainers and before they were out the box I slipped a disc. I've been out of action for 12 weeks now and have been seeing physios. My only exercise has been walking, around 40-90 mins a day and now I'm finally out of pain been given some stretches and core workouts to do. I've been told I also have over curvature of the lower spine and this is perhaps why the pain lasted for so long. I've been given office workouts by the OT at work and she has suggested my NHS physio should be focusing on getting my stabilised back to running (and kickboxing, my other sport) but first sending me to specialist pilates. My NHS physio looked me up and down when I asked when I could run again and said "there are other ways to lose weight then to run"... Any help or advice from runners who've experienced injury or bitchy physios is much appreciated!!

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The intentions could have been quite neutral. For a lot of people, running is a means by which to lose weight, and tiny amounts of that can count as "weight" to such a runner. In other words the physio could've been jumping to conclusions without any insult insinuated. Of course the intentions could've been bitchy, too, but it's just less stressful to pretend otherwise even if they are.

As far as running with slipped disks, I have something less drastic (certainly painwise) in my lower back, and have been told by a neurosurgeon that I should not run. My condition involves degenerated discs (they're visibly shrunken) and results in numb feet often. The neurosurgeon said that the impact of running just makes things worse, and that I should be wary of anyone claiming to be able to cure discs like that. Bad news, then.

For myself, at some point I might just sneak in the odd run, and see how it goes, eventually (seeing as the worst thing I can do as far as numb toes goes is to have a good night's sleep), but I'm getting used to the idea that I need to at very least have some other main means of getting fit. Cycling is permitted (although sometimes I climb off the spinning cycle with some numbness I didn't have when I got on -- so I'm not utterly convinced that the experts know what they're talking about). Swimming is permitted, but I've heard it can also work out hard on the back in its own way. There are alternatives you can and probably should try, if only to have something to fall back on if it turns out that running is your ruin. I hope that softens any blow that the news may eventually bring.


What a shame your physio is so negative. I started the C25K programme 2 years ago and graduated within 12 weeks. since then I have run regularly and done some 5k and 10 k races. But, as happens in life, on 2 July this year I had an accident at work which resulted in a fractured kneecap and left wrist. Getting to hospital and hearing I would need an operation the next day on the knee, I said to the Consultant, I am a runner - I need to be able to run again. He said straight away - no problem, you will get back to it.

Some 12 weeks later, still having physio most days, I am walking well - have done upto 5k - and getting faster rather than further - but each week, I have been asking when can I start to run?? No negative comments from physio or consultant - just need to build up muscles in my thigh to enable my knee to take the force. In their view, it is entirely possible and a benefit to me to be able to get back to it. That is my motivation to do all the exercises and stretches and get thru the darker days which do occur.

So, strength your core to protect your back, and start slowly and build up - would be better with the physio's support of course but I wouldn't let him stop you. Good luck xx


Keep going Fran. You WILL get there and be back running. X


So sorry to hear about your back. I had a slipped/prolapsed disc in my twenties (I am 50 now). Took months to settle and lots of chiropractic. I imagined that as I got older I would be able to do less and less but this is not the case, although I have to be a little aware of what aggravates it. I would say remembering your core strength is really important (pilates will help that massively)and when you do run again take it slow. Sadly, my guess is that it may prove to be the kickboxing that takes longer to get back to - something I never tried in my younger days(!), solely because of my back. Remember though that we are all different and there are varying degrees of disc prolapse. Never give up on your goals - you'd be surprised at the power of recovery of the human body! I am at w7 of the programme for the second time following a nasty calf tear. I have worked hard in my rehab to get back to running (I had a very positive physio!) and the support and encouragement on this site has helped me no end.

Good luck.

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Sorry to hear you've had that experience with your physio. I have been treated by physios many times over the years with back problems, although my experience has been very different. The physio company my nhs GP surgery employs are a private sports physio practice, so they are big advocators of getting people back into sport! I think your ot is right. If you enjoy running and want to get back into it, persist with your physio that your reasons are more than just simply wanting to lose weight (how insensitive!) And explain what running does for you. I have done lots of core strengthening exercises over the years as directly by physios and running has definitely improved my posture. Everyones illness and treatment is different, but I'd recommend asking her for exercises to help you get back out there and running. Good luck :-)


I have just been to see a physiotherapist about a sore hip, due to bursitis. She was rather baffled about why I took up running in my 60s and said that she didn't normally recommend older people to take up running - and she meant over 30s! However, she did say if I enjoyed it I should aim to get back to it, but start again at the beginning of C25k. So I am doing some strengthening excercises and trying to keep my core muscles strong. I don't mind starting again as I enjoyed the activity but am not fussed about the speed. I hope to start again in month.


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