Running Injury & Recovery
Even the most dedicated runner may find there are times when they are unable to run. A holiday, a working commitment, or at worse an injury can all mean that you are sidelined from your running. However, there are ways to maintain your fitness level, or at least minimise your running-specific fitness losses, even when you can’t run.
(A note of caution: If you’re unable to run because you are injured then you need to ensure that any exercise you do will not aggravate your injury. If you are in any doubt whatsoever, consult a reputable sports therapist.)
Alternative training options to running
There are plenty of training options available to you including:
- Other training options
The key thing to remember with your alternative training is that you’re trying to replicate the challenges of running as closely as possible without actually running. To do this, you need to focus, where possible, on exercises that use the legs and work the cardiovascular system.
Outdoor training activities
As a runner, outdoor training is likely to be your most preferable option. The following options are all great alternative outdoor pursuits:
- Rowing. An excellent exercise for all-round strength. Rowing involves your bodyweight being supported, unlike running, so your training session will need to be longer than your usual runs (depending on the intensity of both your row and your normal running sessions). Always remember to drive with your legs as well as pulling the oar with your arms, which will mean you’ll be more efficient, row faster and get a higher quality workout.
Gym training activities
Gym training on a machine for long periods can get a little dull, so take along your favourite tunes to listen to or find a gym with TV screens to keep you occupied.
- . This very closely copies rowing on water and provides a good workout, although you’ll need to train for longer than your usual running sessions because you’re seated rather than standing up, and so are supporting your bodyweight.
If you can’t get outdoors and there isn’t a gym nearby, there are still activities that you can enjoy to maintain your running fitness. Try the following:
- Pool running. Otherwise known as ‘wet-vesting’, pool running is an excellent training alternative to running, particularly if you’re injured. To train in the pool, you need to wear a small flotation aid around your torso, which gives you sufficient buoyancy to maintain an upright position in the water. Then, making sure that you’re in water deep enough so that you can’t touch the bottom, you run! To generate forward motion, your arm and leg movements have to be exaggerated compared with running through air, but other than that, the two disciplines are extremely similar. Despite your weight being supported by the water, you can achieve an excellent CV workout that is as close to running as you can get.
Back to running
Aside from suffering from an injury, it is likely that any enforced changes to your usual running routine will not be for long. You could actually look at it as an opportunity to experience some different training options, such as those described here, while keeping running-fit at the same time.
Whichever ideas you dip into from the selection above, you can be sure that they have all been chosen because they can give your CV system a workout, which, as a runner, should be your primary aim. Then when you are able to don your running shoes again, it’ll feel like you’ve never been away!