• Tue05April 2016
  • Injured runners: what you can do to maintain fitness

    What does it feel like not being able to run, cycle or do anything you consider to be sweat-inducing exercise? Awful. Not only are you out of sync with your routine, it completely drains you both physically and mentally. That cycle or #runcommute that takes you the maximum of an hour is now an hour and a half journey consisting of two buses stuck in traffic. Trying to arrange an evening out proves tricky as you have to consider how to get there and as for the exercise, well let’s just put it this way. You could almost be a living advert of those PTs who go from fit to flab to fit, only you’re stuck at the flabby stage.

    Yes, that's the aim

    Yes, that’s the aim

    Despite all of the above, there are certain things you can do to pull yourself out of the blatant self-pity. In fact, I’ve found the following really rather useful.

    1. Get a second opinion

    When it comes to serious injuries or anything in life really, it’s always worth getting another point of view on the matter in hand (or in my case foot). Yes, it may be more time consuming and not be exactly what you want to hear (as in – my second opinion diagnosed an even longer period of time to stay off my injury/what feels like an age until I can run again) but it could prevent further problems in the future. What’s more, it could help focus your recovery in a more constructive way.

    1. Don’t become a recluse

    There’s no good time to be injured but the start of the marathon season is deeply cutting, especially when running is so intrinsic to who you are. All you want is to be out there, running in the sunshine, coming home with a new PB. Instead you’re trawling through Twitter feeling like you have nothing interesting (or nothing at all) to contribute because you are not able to take part in this fun and enriching pastime. Don’t let yourself withdraw into your very own woman cave. Remember, you may not be able to run at the moment but you can still support those who are, and what feels like a lifetime will only be a tiny blip on your racing in years to come.

    1. Get friendly with the gym

      Spin bike and motivation

      Working that cardio on the spin bike

    Hands up who actually enjoys going to the gym? OK, that’s a bit harsh as there are plenty of people who absolutely love it. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. Believe me, I’ve tried to get into it. I’ve looked into the amount of reps per machine you need to do to make a difference and worked with PTs on training plans when I was running but classes coupled with running and cycling outside always seemed way more appealing to me. Now I’m unable to do any of that, I’m getting to know the gym and all its equipment once again.

    Is that an instrument of torture?

    Is that an instrument of torture?

    It’s all very well doing exercises in your own home to tone, cardio however is a different story. The only place I have sweated in the past few weeks is by flipping between sprints and recovery on the spin bike at the gym. I’ve also been using the resistance machines to load up my legs and build on my upper body without putting weight on my foot.  And no, it’s not enjoyable but I can make it slightly more satisfactory by listening to The Archers podcast or a Radio 4 Drama (Three Sisters by Chekov is particularly worth a listen – such an insightful account of three women living in Russia at the turn of the last century).

    1. Swim yourself fit

    This is next on my list of things to do and the final piece of the puzzle at this point in my recovery. With the red light still on anything involving weight-bearing activity, swimming is a great option for an all-over body workout. So what’s stopping me? Nothing. I have dug out my swimming costume ready to hit the pool at least once if not twice this week.

    1. Build on your core

    When not at work, the gym, sat on a bus or watching a film of which I have seen several in the past few weeks, you’ll find me horizontal – I’m either sleeping or working on my core muscles. I’ve found an old mat Pilates DVD which helps me to focus on those hard-to-reach tummy muscles and also follow the YouTube videos I wrote about a few weeks ago. Whether it’s doing the job or not is a completely different matter, I do feel however that at least I’m doing something towards fit rather than flab.

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