using pt to reach your {running} goals

Happy Wednesday, and thanks for joining us for another Runners’ Roundup! We have been so glad to welcome so many voices to this weekly community!

I’m not doing much (any) running at all, these days. Instead, my calorie burn comes from twice-a-week physical therapy, gym cardio and weights, and at-home pt exercises. It’s hard to envision running evolving from the series of stretches and flexes I do every day, but that’s the end game.

pt running goals

Be clear about your goals.

There were no questions that my goal, apart from recovering from two broken bones, was to run again. Specifically, to run half marathons, and maybe one spite marathon. Everyone in PT has different goals, whether they include getting back to functional life or going on to a competitive level of activity, and it’s important that everyone is on the same page.

Ask questions, but also trust.

The other day, we tried a new move: lunges on a slider with a thera-band around my ankles. I repeated the move a few times, and felt absolutely nothing. Thinking I was doing something wrong, I opened my mouth and asked what I was supposed to be experiencing and how it would help me. My PT came right over to adjust my form and show me where I needed to concentrate my efforts and why. It still doesn’t feel like I’m getting a ton from this particular motion, but I also trust that the (runner) PT, knowing my goals, is using them to help assign exercises.

Push yourself.

Again this week, I got on the shuttle and my PT set the resistance. I tested it with a single leg press, and it was not quite easy, but certainly not challenging. Instead of letting it be, I asked if we could try a slightly more difficult setting. The PT obliged and asked me how that felt. I was honest when I said I wasn’t happy about the increased weight, but I could do it, and so I did. It was hard, but I can do hard things. While I don’t want to aggravate anything, I’m not going to get anywhere without challenging my comfort zone either. It also explains why I leave PT in a full sweat, every time, without fail.

Ask for recommendations.

Obviously, not every home is equipped with a full suite of PT equipment, and not every patient has access to a gym, so it can be difficult to replicate exercises independently. Your PT can show you ways to modify things for when you’re not in their office. I have used towels for straps and paper plates for sliders. Tall, plastic, drinking cups can fill in for cones and throw pillows can replace foam mats. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. As an added benefit, these are all stretches and workouts that will continue to help me when I am running again.

one month post-op

Do the work.

Friends, I don’t even want to tell you how many hours I spend doing PT exercises at home. Some days, it feels like that’s ALL I do. The fact is, the more consistent I am at home, the better my sessions at PT will go, and the more I can build and improve. If I only do PT moves while at PT, I lose entire days of fitness, strength and improvement. I’ve worked too hard to get to this point, and while I can’t rush healing, I can certainly help it along so I can get back to what I love.

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If you’ve been to PT, how did you use it to reach your goals?

Any crazy modifications you’ve had to employ in order to make PT exercises more home-friendly?

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19 Responses to using pt to reach your {running} goals

  1. Catrina says:

    Excellent points, Jenn! I also had to improvise a lot of PT exercises at home. For one move, I needed a 10lb weight, so I filled an empty washing detergent container with water and it worked perfectly.
    You’re doing so well with your PT – it’s tedious and boring but it definitely will get you to that half-marathon goal!

    • runswithpugs says:

      You have to do what you have to do! The good news is, my team is so willing to offer ideas and suggestions so it’s totally possible to get things done at home.

      It’s soooooooo boring. Ugh. But if you don’t put in the work, you don’t see the results. It’s really that simple.

  2. It’s so important to have good communication with your PT! I’ve gotten really frustrated when I just dont feel an exercise because it seems like a waste of time. A good PT should be able to help with form or change the resistance to make it more challenging. You have a great mindset with this and are doing great!

    • runswithpugs says:

      That’s where the trust comes in. Sometimes I do things and I’m like “really?” and then she shows me what we’re bridging towards and it’s a lightbulb of “ohhhhh, I see.” The good thing is she is totally supportive of my goal and getting me back. She’s a runner who sprained her ankle a few years ago and is still trying to get to right with her own running journey, so I feel solidarity.

  3. stephanie says:

    Keep doing the good work. I am with you in spirit as we recovery from injury. XO

  4. You definitely have to do the work on your own as well to reach your goals. Asking questions and advocating for yourself is so important,

    • runswithpugs says:

      I’ve really learned to speak up for myself through this process. I’m usually pretty quiet and go-with-the-flow but I learned that I have to voice concerns because it’s way too important to not address things that could lead to problems down the line.

  5. PT can be really boring and mundane (at least the exercises I did for my hamstring issues a few years ago). It was really tough to be disciplined at home…but knowing the end result made it all worthwhile.

  6. This is really great advice! I wouldn’t think to ask what I should be feeling, but that’s so important!

  7. Debbie says:

    I always tell my clients that one of the most important things they need to do, no matter what their injury or surgery, is to do their PT! You’ve been doing great. It’s good that your therapist works with you to adjust your workout as needed.
    Debbie recently posted…5 Ragnar Essentials + My Complete Ragnar Packing ListMy Profile

  8. Smitha Barki says:

    When I was injured the first time, I ignored the PT exercises. I recovered but got re-injured quickly. Learnt my lesson.

  9. Do the work – this is so important and something many people are just not willing to do on their own. Just like you, I want to recover as quickly as possible so I’m doing my PT homework like a boss!
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…Ask Coach Deb About Running on a Treadmill Versus Outside, Energy Gels, and Running FormMy Profile

  10. PT is so important for your injury if you want to get back to running.

    I’m not an person who exercises but It was in PT for about 5 months (until they kicked me out.)

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