*Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor, and I am NOT offering medical advice. This article is about planning a RUNNING schedule around a common medical procedure. Everyone responds differently to medical procedures. If your DOCTOR tells you something that differs from this article, listen to your DOCTOR you stubborn knucklehead.
In vain have you acquired knowledge if you have not imparted it to others.
– Deuteronomy Rabbah
It’s been said that if you’re going to write, you should write what you know. Well, I now know how to plan running around a vasectomy. Why would I do a write up about such a topic? The better question is why the hell not? WebMD tells me that about half a million guys get vasectomies each year. There HAVE to be some runners in there looking for advice just like I was…
My wife is the most amazing person I know, and one tough cookie to boot. She carried our two amazing kids with grace and grit, and endured two C-sections because those kids were stubborn and upside down (rightside up, really) until the bitter end. So when we made the decision that our family was complete, the least I could do was step up and take care of that with some minor, outpatient surgery.
Because I am an obsessed crazy person when it comes to the sport I love, I had one major question about the procedure: How would it impact my running schedule? I was really surprised to find that a quick interwebs search on the specific topic of vasectomies and running only yielded some discussion threads from Letsrun.com from about ten years ago, along with a bunch of general advice on returning to “physical activity.” As my initial consult visit was coming to and end, my doctor asked if I had any questions. “Well,” I began, “I’m a runn-” He cut me off, saying, “You’ll be good to go between 1-2 weeks. Is knowing how soon you can get back to running all that you people actually care about??”
Yes, doc. Yes it is.
With that in mind, here’s a step by step plan from first-hand experience for scheduling a vasectomy around your running…
Step 1: Plan your procedure to immediately follow a season-ending, goal race. For example, if there is a goal marathon that you’re gunning for, you most likely have been following an 18-24 week training schedule. At the conclusion of that goal race “season,” it’s good practice to take some time off from running, even if you’re completely healthy. If you work a Monday-Friday job, go for a Thursday afternoon procedure, the Thursday immediately after your big race. That will give you three full days to chill out before you have to hit work on Monday.
Step 2: Rest and recover. Take a solid week to do NOTHING exercise related. Remember, this is good practice for any runner after a race season.
Step 3: Start to move. After that week off, take another 3-4 days to go on some walks/hikes and work in some stretching movements. This will have your legs more prepared for some easy running.
Step 4A: Return to running. At this point you will have taken two full weeks off (3-4 days before surgery, another 10-11 after). Please remember that returning to running after time off for any reason, be it illness, injury, or planned, should be done patiently. Take the first week back to do nothing but easy miles, totaling about 50% of what your typical weekly mileage would be. During the second week, continue with easy miles, but up the total distance to around 75% of your typical mileage and throw in some strides (6-8 of them) on 2-3 of your runs. After that, you’ll most likely be ready to roll into your next “season.”
Step 4B: Look for support. As an extra measure of precaution, wear a pair of supportive, jock-style briefs to help keep the boys in place the first 2-3 weeks back to running. Better safe than sorry!
Step 5: Listen to your body, and listen to your DOCTOR. (See disclaimer above.) If something doesn’t feel right after following this timetable, don’t force the issue. Stop running, you stubborn SOB. Each of our bodies reacts in different ways to medical procedures. Never be afraid to reach back out to your doctor to get re-evaluated if something seems wrong.
Well, that’s one of the more interesting pieces I’ve written about running to date. Like anything I write, it’s my hope that someone out there can learn and benefit from my experience. If there’s anyone out there looking for a recommendation on where to go for the procedure, I’d be happy to share my doc’s information. Dude was awesome from consult to follow-up. The procedure was a piece of cake, and this is coming from someone that can’t give blood without passing out and needed to lay down for three stitches in his hand. Don’t be afraid to step up guys!