Wayne’s Achilles Blog

August 18, 2009

Week 14: Return to Running Program

Filed under: Uncategorized — wayne @ 8:33 pm and

My ATR recovery is going quite well.  I’m now at a point in my recovery where I visit my physical therapist once a month.  In my last blog I mentioned that my physical therapist started me on a Return to Running Program that is based on a program designed by Steven L. Cole from the College of William and Mary.  The complete program is explained at http://www.step-rite.info./files/Return_to_Running_Program3.htm

I’m currently in Phase 2 of this four phase program.  My therapist has me on a regimen consisting of a three day rotation of exercises:

1- Weight training for the calves (strengthening)

2- Double and single leg heel raises (flexibility/range of motion)

3- Return to Running Program

Here’s a summary of the Return to Running Program.

Phase 1:  Walking Program. Best performed on a treadmill.  This phase consists of walking at roughly 4.2 to 5.2 mph.  You need to be able to walk pain free at this pace before moving onto the next phase.

Phase 2:  Plyometric Routine. This phase consists of  ”controlled” hopping.  The key element of a controlled hop is a proper landing.  Its very important that the ankle, knee, and hip joints work in concert to absorb the shock of landing.  A loud slapping sound while landing indicates poor technique.

In my case, my therapist is having me ease into the hopping exercises by first performing these exercises in a pool with the water line at chest level progressing to waist level.  I subjectively guage my effort level at 50%-75%-100% progressions.  Meaning, that I begin by performing my hopping exercises with the water at chest level at 50% effort, then progress to 75% effort, then progress to 100% effort.  Once I reach 100% effort I’ll move towards the shallow end of the pool and  perform my hopping exercises with the water at waist level, progressing at the same rates.  Once I’ve mastered hopping in a pool I’ll move to performing these exercises on land and start all over again!

The Phase 2 Plyometric hopping exercises consist of:

- Two leg hops in place

- Two leg hops forward/backward

- Two leg hops side-to-side

- One leg hops in place

- One leg hops forward/backward

- One leg hops side-to-side

- One leg broad hop (my therapist didn’t prescribe this exercise for me)

Rest Intervals: 90 secs between sets / 3 mins between exercises

Its anticipated that I’ll be in Phase 2 for approximately 4-6 weeks.

Phase 3:  Walk/Jog Progression. Progress to Phase 3 only after you’ve completed Phases 1 & 2, have no pain with normal daily activities, and the AT no longer hurts when you press on it.  Phase 3 consists of a progression of alternating between walking and jogging.  The ratio between walking and jogging starts with 5 minutes of walking, 1 minute of jogging (repeated 5 times for a total of 30 minutes).  You go through a progression of improving upon the walk/jog ratio ultimately reaching a goal of being able to jog every other day at 30 consecutive minutes.

Phase 4:  Times Running Schedule. This phase marks the final phase of the Return to Running Program.  In this phase you increase the intensity of the jog/run as well as the duration.  Use the 10% rule:  Only increase the weekly mileage by 10% of the previous week.  Eventually you’ll increase the frequency of days you jog/run.

And from here, you’re on your way to full recovery!  Simple enough, right?!


  1. Congratulations on your recovery to date. I hope to do as well. I plan to print out the Return to Running program and give it to my surgeon and physical therapist.

    Comment by GerryR — August 18, 2009 @ 9:40 pm

  2. Wayne - Thanks for sharing! You’ve posted some really good and valuable recovery information. Keep up the good work.


    Comment by tomtom — August 19, 2009 @ 7:15 am

  3. Thanks so much for posting this Wayne… truly excellent information and made me think my ambition to run 12K’s by Christmas is possible.

    Comment by bubble — August 21, 2009 @ 11:33 am

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