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EUGENE, Ore. -- After you've been injured, hitting the ground running again can be daunting.
"They're starting all over again, basically," said Eugene orthopedic surgeon Dr. Stan James.
James helps athletes re-condition their bodies for exercise after an injury, and for many runners, building back up is frustrating.
"So many of them don't have any idea how to come back into a running program. And so many of them want to go back where they left off, and that's a disaster. They end up being injured again," he explained.
The important thing -- according to James -- is letting your body heal and starting workouts again slowly.
"The return to running has to be slow enough that the injury comes along OK without re-injuring," James said. James suggested running in a pool, and using low-impact devices, like ellipticals, to build back stamina.
Eugene runner Steve Cooper knows exactly how difficult it can be to run again after an injury. He was injured last March, and through working with a physical therapist, he's up to about 80 percent of his normal abilities.
But he had to take three months off from his running shoes.
"It was murder," said Cooper.
After the break, he was back to jogging. But that wasn't easy, either.
"It was gruesome. I felt like I was learning to crawl again," he said.
James said a successful, injury-free running routine is different for every person.
"The key is finding out what your body will tolerate without getting injured, and I don't know any good way of doing that other than trial and error," said James. "It's OK to make a mistake and get injured running. The thing I don't like is people make the same mistake again and again."