Regaining Stamina After Injuries / Break | 80/20 Endurance

Regaining Stamina After Injuries / Break


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    In the past year, I’ve completed 2 marathons and was in the best running shape of my life. However, I’ve dealt with 3 separate foot injuries over the past 4 months. One was due to a mechanical imbalance, which I was able to correct by working with a PT and continuing to do the prescribed exercises on my own. The second injury occurred about 6 weeks after I had returned to running. This one was my fault – not warming up properly and pushing way too hard on hill sprints. The third took place a week before I was going to start running again following the second injury. I dropped a weight on my toe (other foot) in the gym and this cost me another 3 weeks.

    Over the past 4 months, I’ve missed 9 weeks of running. Everything is good now and I’m all clear to run. But I’m sure that I’ve lost a ton of running stamina. Do you have any suggestions on returning to running after a break like this? At this point, I’m not sure about my training zones or intensity balance. Should I just go by perceived effort for now and keep everything easy? Or would small doses of speed work be helpful? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    David Warden


    Rough injury period for you, glad you are back!

    I’d recommend the following:

    Week 1
    – No intensity just Zone 1-2
    – No more than 3 hours of running in total
    – Longest run is 1 hour, but 6 x 30 minutes is even better

    Week 2
    – Add Zone 3, but only up to 3 minutes at a time
    – No Zone 4 or 5
    – No more than 4 hours of running
    – Longest run is 1.5 hours

    Week 3
    – Open throttle



    Thanks David. Would you use the same zones as before? At least for now, running at the same heart rate results in a slower pace / power. And if I use the same pace / power as before, it results in a higher heart rate.

    David Warden


    HR changes very little when fitness is lost. The output/outcome for a given HR does change, but HR itself is fairly stable given a set of environmental conditions.

    So, rely on HR for the next 2 weeks, using our “old” zones, then in week 3 you can do a formal test of HR, Pace, and Power.

    Note that your Pace and Power zones will change rapidly as you gain fitness quickly, but testing every rest week is enough.



    Woah…that was slow. Probably 1:30/mile slower than before at the same heart rate. Good workout though. Feeling strong. Hopefully the stamina comes back fairly soon.

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