At some point in your running journey you will probably sustain an injury. Maybe it will something minor that will only set you back a couple of weeks. Or maybe you will ignore the initial pain and end up with something major that will really set you back a few months. Either way you need to have a back up plan so you don’t lose your fitness and motivation momentum. Depending on your injury you may or may not be able to choose just any activity. So make sure to check with your doctor or sports therapist before picking up any new fitness plans.
The key to keeping the momentum going while injured should actually be put in place BEFORE you get injured. Adding some strength training and stretching activities to your running schedule is crucial. Not only is it beneficial for preventing injuries and making you a better runner but it will also be there as a backup should you actually get injured and need to take some time off.
Choose cross training activities that you enjoy and that compliment your runs. This way you can just increase the time you spend on those activities when you are nursing an injury and you won’t feel like you have completely lost your fitness momentum.
Yoga & Pilates
Fabulous for building flexibility and strength. Yoga & pilates can easily be done at home or in a studio. You can choose to focus on one particular part of the body at a time or follow exercises that have more whole body benefits. Not only are these great fitness options that compliment running but they also calm and center the mind. Running is a stress reliever for many people and without it runners often really feel the effects on their moods. However yoga in particular has both physical benefits and emotional ones as well.
This is a go to workout for many injured runners. Cycling helps keep your aerobic levels high and is a great lower body workout. Spin classes are good options but you may find it to be a better mood enhancer to cycle outdoors. One of the things that most runners miss when injured is spending so much time outside. So dusting off your bike and going for an outdoor spin is an even better option.
Walking & Hiking
Again like cycling, these are great outdoor options. In fact you may be able to frequent many of the routes and trails of your usual runs but without the impact that aggravates your injury. Keeping to the same routes will help you to maintain focus on your running goals and you can even increase your usual distance if your injury allows for it.
Swimming and deep water running are often prescribed to injured runners. Without the impact on the body, swimming is a great way to keep up cardio levels and continue to maintain strength.
Other than taking care of your injury and following the prescribed treatment plans, it is important to keep up with some form of fitness that nourishes both body and soul. Runners most often enjoy the outdoors as much as the physical challenges of the sport. So spend some time on complimentary activities that feed these needs and incorporate them into your fitness routine before you get injured. That way you won’t feel lost when you need to cut back on your running.
And last…try not to get frustrated. Injuries are not an ending but rather they are a beginning. A beginning point that teaches you to take better care of yourself. Don’t skip out on stretching, strength training or getting new shoes. Follow training plans and don’t do too much too soon. All good lessons but often ones that we learn best after being injured 😉