Why You Shouldn’t Take Time Off When Injured – Dr. Christopher Segler

Most of us have been there.

You’re in the thick of training just a few weeks away from your big goal race, and then one morning you step out of bed to discover a new pain – a pain far worse than the everyday soreness you know too well.

*insert expletive*

So what does the doctor prescribe? You guessed it. Time off.

These two words are pretty much the last thing we runners want to hear after months and months of hard work, and the thought of scrapping all that work and starting over after your goal race has come and gone can be demoralizing.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Enter Dr. Christopher Segler of Doc On The Run, a San Francisco-based practice that specializes in podiatry and running injuries.

An accomplished marathoner and Ironman triathlete, Chris knows full well how frustrating injuries can be, which is why he’s devoted his life’s work to getting sidelined runners healthy and back to the grind as fast as possible.

So what’s the first step to a speedy recovery? According to Chris, don’t take time off.

You read that right.

Despite those conventional protocols to which we’re accustomed (“six weeks off” ring any bells?), Chris maintains time off is not only unnecessary, but it’s also counterproductive to recovering from most injuries.

In this episode of Run to the Top, Chris will dispel the myths surrounding injury and discuss better alternatives to time off – methods that help you bounce back not only stronger than before but also equipped with the knowledge crucial to preventing future injury.


Here are some of the topics we’ll discuss today:

  • A little about Chris and Doc On The Run
  • The most common causes of injury among runners
  • Stresses and lifestyle habits that contribute to injury
  • Chris’ thoughts on minimalist and maximalist shoes
  • Why inactivity is counterproductive to recovery
  • When time off is actually warranted
  • How to remain active while recovering
  • Questions Chris is asked:

    3:10 Tell us about yourself as an athlete as well as Doc On The Run.

    6:08 What have you found to be the most common cause of injury?

    7:27 What are the typical causes of plantar fasciitis and metatarsal stress fractures?

    11:14 How would you advise people maximize their ‘stress threshold’ without exceeding it?

    13:20 How familiar are you with Irene Davis and her research?

    14:29 Do you think that footwear causes injuries?

    17:07 Do you advocate minimalist shoes?

    22:34 When should a runner avoid using minimalist shoes?

    24:48 What do you mean when you say that runners have an unfair advantage when it comes to recovering from injuries?

    29:46 Why is inactivity the last thing a runner needs when recovering from an injury?

    36:55 Why does conventional medicine have such difficulty with treating runners?

    37:42 What should runners actually do to facilitate recovery for different types of injuries?

    44:58 How should an injured runner know when it’s time to swap out running for a lower impact activity to aid recovery?

    48:39 How can runners determine which cross training activity best suits their injury?

    49:57 Will anti-inflammatories inhibit recovery?

    56:26 The Final Kick Round

    Quotes by Chris:

    “That’s the way I’ve really shaped my practice is to help runners achieve their goal – not just make their pain go away.”

    “People say running causes running injuries, and that’s just not true.”

    “A news guy was interviewing a highway patrolman, and he was talking about snow – it had just started snowing in Lake Tahoe. And then while they were standing there talking about this, there was actually an accident right behind them….And so the interviewer said to the highway patrolman, ‘Well isn’t it true that snow causes accidents?’ And the highway patrolman looked at him like he was an idiot, and he said, ‘No, driving too fast for conditions causes accidents.’”

    “I believe you only have so much stress that your body can take, and if it’s too much then something breaks.”

    “The overwhelming majority of children actually run as forefoot or midfoot strikers. 85% of adults run as rearfoot strikers. 85% of adults who run as rearfoot strikers have also all been wearing some sort of shoe that has an elevated heel usually somewhere roughly in the vicinity of 12mm for pretty much their entire lives.”

    “I believe that most runners who have been habitually active – that cycle of tissue damage and tissue repair effectively trains your immune system and your body to heal injuries faster.”

    “Most runners don’t feel good when they don’t run, and it’s not because they’re exercise addicts. It’s because their physiology is different.”
    “I think it sets up a whole chain of recurring injuries when you stop running.”

    “The doctors look at it and they say if you want this one thing – this one injured thing to get better – you have to pay for it by this whole protocol that we use in America as the standard treatment. And they don’t even mention that you’re going to have this enormous risk of recurring injuries that may or may not ever go away.”

    Take a Listen on Your Next Run

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    Mentioned in this podcast:

    Doc On The Run
    Run to the Top interview with Dr. Irene Davis
    Newton Gravity 6
    RunnersConnect Running Form Course
    Book: Iron War
    Video: Peanut Butter Jelly Time (listeners beware)
    Garmin Forerunner 910XT
    Follow Chris on Twitter

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