If you’re a first-time runner, returning from an injury, or have taken a winter hiatus, you should be careful the first time you hit the pavement or track. If you’ve taken several months off running, it is essential that you ease back into your routine to avoid injuries. Our team at Free Body Physical Therapy will work with you to ensure you make a safe return to running!

Preventative Screening 

Anyone thinking about returning to running or taking up running can benefit from a preventative screening and analysis to reduce their injury risk. Our team will be able to identify any areas that may be hindering your performance and help you make changes so that you can reach your personal best. During your screening appointment, our team will watch you perform a series of specific movements and evaluate how you move, and find any areas that lack flexibility or are weak. These impairments can often lead to running injuries. 

Physical Therapy for Balance

Balance is crucial for runners because running is an actual balancing act. You never have both feet on the ground at the same time when you run, so good balance and hip and ankle strength keep you from falling over. When your body is aligned and balanced, you can run more efficiently and use less energy. When you think about physical therapy, the first image that pops into your mind is likely stretching and strengthening exercises. While these are essential components of a quality physical therapy program, we can also help you improve your balance with specific activities. We understand that every runner has different needs, so we will design a treatment program catered specifically to you. Physical therapists address balance by implementing static and dynamic balance exercises and will progressively increase the exercises as you improve. Our team can also help you avoid injuries by showing you how to effectively cross-train your body to prevent overuse. If you happen to experience a running injury, we offer physical therapy for sports rehabilitation. The benefits of sports rehabilitation include:

  • Improved performance. 
  • Regained strength and increased flexibility.
  • Reduced pain and quicker recovery time. 


When you return to running after an injury, you may find yourself getting re-injured because you’ve increased your mileage too quickly. Even if you were not hurt, returning to your previous mileage patterns can be dangerous after a break. Your muscles and joints may not be prepared to withstand the effort. Instead, start slowly and gradually increase your pace when you’ve established a good running base. Use the following guide to determine your pacing:

  • If you’re off for 1 week or less, pick up where you left off. 
  • If you’re off for up to 10 days, start at 70 percent of your previous mileage. 
  • If you’re off for 15 to 30 days, you should start running at 60% of your previous mileage. 
  • If you’re off for 30 days to 2 months, start at 50 percent of your previous mileage.
  • If you’re off for 2 months or longer, you need to start over. 

The most important thing our team would like to emphasize is the 10 percent rule. If you’ve been off for months, do not increase your pace by more than 10 percent week to week. If needed, you can increase it less. 

After a break, it can be challenging to get back into your running routine. If you’re an avid runner, you may set high standards for yourself for distance and pace. Consistency and patience are essential for getting back on track. Our team will work with you to set realistic goals to help you get back in the groove safely and efficiently. 

Contact Free Body PT

At Free Body Physical Therapy, our team wants to help our patients achieve their fitness goals and get them back to running safely. Contact us today to schedule your first appointment for physical therapy!