Hey y’all! Welcome back to the Running Coaches’ Corner — a great linkup where we share words of running wisdom, tales from the trails, and workouts to help you along with your training. I hope you’ll linkup and join us. Read the rules here and then post your link below!
It was about this time last year that I suffered a fairly bad injury. I ran the Cleveland Marathon extremely injured. It was foolish and I should have DNFed, but I did it anyway. This year I ran the Cleveland Half Marathon. I didn’t start injured — but I ended up that way anyway. This time around I’m not nearly in as bad of shape as I was last year so this recovery will be much different. But I’m still injured nonetheless.
I have a summer full of training ahead of me. Is this how I wanted to start things off? Absolutely not. Did I cry a few times on Sunday because of it? Possibly. But I know what I need to do to get back to healthy and I will do it.
What To Do When You’re Injured Just Before Peak Training Season
So what do you do when you’re injured and it’s about to be your peak training season? You take the proper time off and rest up. You do the strength training, you do the foam rolling. You do as little as you can while your body heals itself. And what happens if peak training season just so happens to be summer as well? Well…
See your doctor. If it’s a new injury that you’ve never experienced before, see a doctor. If you’ve got a race coming up in the next few months, the last thing you want to do is “wait and see” only to be “waiting and seeing” on the wrong injury. If it’s an injury you’re familiar with (hello, ITBS!) you can probably use at-home treatments that have worked for you before.
Create a recovery plan! This one’s kind of tricky because it depends so much on the injury, prognosis, and when your next race is, but it’s important to do. One thing I really like to do is to focus on fitness in other ways when I’m injured. For example, instead of putting a lot of emphasis on running, I focus on yoga, core strength, hip and glute strength, and cycling. Cycling keeps my cardio up, the strength work will help me heal faster and hopefully stave off future injuries, and yoga is soothing and helps with balance.
Cycle, aqua-jog, or run on an Alter-G treadmill. Summer is actually the perfect time for cycling and aqua-jogging. You can be outdoors and enjoying the summer sunshine while exercising, but you don’t have to be running! If you have to be injured at all, summer is actually a pretty good time to be. I’ve already moved my bike trainer from inside to out and I plan on enjoying the view as much as possible while I recover.
Hire a coach to help you get back to training. Once you have a plan for recovery, it’s wise to hire a running coach to help you create a comeback plan. And let’s face it, sometimes a coach is useful in helping to create the recovery plan, too. But the comeback plan — that’s the important piece that you’re thinking of while you wait for days and weeks while you’re injured. You’re ready to go. But without guidance from an experienced coach, you may find yourself back in the same injury-prone situation. Hiring a coach will help you get to your goal safely and smartly. (Plus it’s less stress for you. You focus on recovery, coach will focus on the training plan.)
Don’t let your health and fitness fall to the wayside. Just because you’re not running high mileage and working out like crazy while you’re injured doesn’t mean you get to slack off and do whatever you want and eat whatever you want. Unless of course you’re injured so much that you can’t do anything, in which case I’m sure your fall race plans have already changed drastically. In any event, don’t slack off. Keep your eyes on the prize!
Keep things in perspective. I just read a statistic recently — 80% of runners will be injured each year. That’s a really huge percentage if you think about it. So basically if you’re a runner, you’re gonna get injured. Maybe not now, maybe not in two months, maybe not even next year. But the more you run, the higher the probability of injury becomes. So if and when it does happen, realize it’s not the end of the world. Your body will heal itself if given proper love, nutrition and rest, and you will run again. Above all else — relax. It’s summertime.
I leave you with three words. Three words with a lot of meaning.
Focus your efforts on healing. Be determined not to let anxiety or self-doubt get in your way. And resolve to come back stronger than before.
GOOD LUCK. You’ve got this.
TALK TO ME!
Have you ever become injured before your peak training?
How do you stay active and physically fit during the summer?