Jessica Kuepfer was hit by a car in September. It put an end to her formal training for a number of months as she recovered. She tells us the steps she took to get back to running and looks at some of her first workouts after the accident. 

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My last post discussed the psychological effects of not running while being off for injury. I wrote about what I faced in my journey to regain strength. The good news to most runners battling injury is that with enough rest, treatment and time, you will get back to the roads, trails and track.

The biggest component during my recovery was time. Up until the accident occurred, I had been getting weekly workouts from my coach. When the car accident happened, I immediately spoke with him and requested that we take a break from workouts. I would contact him when I felt ready. I knew that if I kept getting his workout plans every week, I would be tempted to return faster than I should.

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While recovering, I went by how I felt. For about a month, I did not feel well enough to train. So I didn’t. I used the time to recuperate with extra sleep and I kick-started my off-season by catching up on favourite TV shows and books that I didn’t have a chance to even touch over the summer. I also had ongoing physiotherapy and massage to make sure that all of my muscle imbalances were corrected before getting back to a heavier training load.

It was the beginning of November when the itch to train returned. I spoke with my coach and we decided to wait until December 1 to comeup with a formal training plan. In the meantime, I began doing some easy cycling and strength work to help maintain my cardio fitness and ensure that I’m strong for the next round of training.

One of the first strength workouts I did is one of my all-time favourites for runners. I do it throughout my racing season to keep key muscle groups strong. It was the perfect workout for me to start with.

Lunges – 10 on each side

Jump squats – 10

Bridge with single leg lift – 10 on each side

Renegade row – 10 on each side

Plank – 1 minute

Repeat three times. 

Although this was one of my favourite sequences, I was surprised by how much strength I had lost. I didn’t let it discourage me though. I kept at it doing it three times a week and my strength returned quickly.

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 4.11.45 PMMy first training run back felt like I was flying given the rest and recovery I had taken. It wasn’t difficult, but I noticed pain in my IT band after about 10K so I stopped immediately.

Since returning to running, I have needed to listen to my body and although I do get stronger with every run, I can certainly feel that I am not yet recovered entirely. There are new imbalances to work around since the accident and right now, the most important thing for me to do is to listen to my body, take an extra rest day if I feel I need it and to continue with ongoing physiotherapy to help move me towards a healthy season in 2016.

You can find me on Twitter @lacesandlattes and my personal blog.

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