The worst thing about being injured is knowing what to do with all the extra time you have. Also, how do you maintain the fitness you have worked so hard to achieve?
Now is a good time to read up on training methodology and injury rehabilitation. It is also the perfect time to complete all your exercises to rehab your injury…and don’t stop once you’re better, you need to keep them up. I know this is difficult, and I am often guilty of it, but truly pre-hab is so much better than re-hab!
Injury is also a good reason to include cross-training in your regular training schedule; not just so you can avoid injury but so you have an activity that you can (hopefully) easily switch over to whilst your injury is healing.
Exercise options when you are injured:
Cycling is great because it keeps you outdoors. I’m a particular fan of mountain biking, seeing as I used to be a mountain biker!! Some people feel nervous about cycling, but even if you just stick to bike tracks you will get fitness benefits. And the feel-good benefits from being outside. Even doing spin-style classes are of benefit. It all depends on what your injury is, as you may not be able to cycle if you have a leg stress fracture.
This is a good one if you are trying to maintain the running position. It’s good to incorporate your arms in this too. I have spent many an hour on the elliptical! Only problem is, it is incredibly boring.
Clearly you need to be able to weight-bear for this activity. It is great for maintaining fitness and keeping you outdoors. However, it is very easy for runners to take this too far and therefore not allowing the injury to heal properly or as quickly as it may have. I’m sure I’ve never been guilty of that…much…
This is actually my favourite! Ok, now pick yourselves up off the floor, and hear me out. It actually replicates the running pattern the most. It is completely non-weight bearing and thus will not exacerbate most injuries. Many years ago, I had two stress fractures in my right leg. I did pool-running for 6 weeks, and my race season following this was awesome! I also lost weight! So it was win-win! Give it a try! If you want specific sessions to do in the pool, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you some.
For some reason I like this less. Yes, it’s non-weight bearing. However, I have also heard that swimming can create torque on the legs which may not be helpful during rehabilitation.
It is easy to get down and a bit depressed when you are injured. You just need to tyro to find some different exercise to do and keep the re-hab up. Keep these points in mind and you will stay positive and be ready to get running again when the time comes! And who knows, the mental and physical break from running might lead you towards your best season ever!