Running column: Mark Armstrong has been wrestling with the age-old runner’s dilemma - when can I run again after injury?

It feels a while since Mark Armstrong was able to get out running after a toe injury. Picture: Aliso

It feels a while since Mark Armstrong was able to get out running after a toe injury. Picture: Alison Armstrong - Credit: Archant

When you're carrying an injury it's so difficult to know when you can resume your training.

I've constantly been subtly testing out my toe this week to see if I can get back out on the road. There have been a few odd walks to the water cooler as I try to work out if my foot is ready for me to get out on the road again. With me walking round the office barefoot last week I think I might be starting to assume 'oddball' status amongst my colleagues…

Time really is of the essence in my recovery and I'm fully aware that I can't afford any more setbacks with Run Norwich just over three weeks away.

Within a couple of days the swelling had gone right down leaving behind a pretty impressive bruise. I was therefore pretty confident that the injury wasn't going to sideline me for too long.

I've broken it and it's still uncomfortable at times but I was pretty sure that running on it, sensibly, wasn't going to make it any worse at this stage. Thank goodness it was my little toe rather than anywhere else on my foot otherwise I would have been in real trouble.

A week after the incident, or 'wee-gate' as it's become known in our house, I decided to undertake a light jog on the treadmill.


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As I approached the machine I felt I was almost cheating – was I really going to do this just a week after breaking a bone, no matter how small?

For someone who has an all or nothing mentality it took all my willpower to make sure that I kept it gentle.

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Twenty minutes later and whilst still a little sore I was fine – nothing had been made any worse and an hour or so later nothing had swollen up…phew.

I had taken extra care to ensure my stride was as normal as possible – I know if I compensate for the injury then another problem will turn up elsewhere, most likely on the other foot.

After speaking to Neil he thinks a few more treadmill runs without any problems will mean that I can finally get out on the road again.

I don't mind the treadmill but it's functional – if there's time I would much prefer to get my headphones on and get outside – wouldn't every runner?

So I've only lost a week's worth of running and in the intervening period I've done a few toe-friendly(!) high intensity workouts in a bid to improve my fitness.

MORE: How important is cross-training for runners?I know beasting myself in some of my workouts is the only way I'm going to bring my time down.

So onwards and upwards and hopefully this week my friends won't want me sending them pictures of my toe. I don't really want to inflict that on anyone…

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