While most of your running partners are cruising the trails, hitting the track, or running mind numbing repeats on your town’s version of heartbreak hill, you might be sitting on the sidelines. The injury bug is real, but that does not mean you cannot improve. Get out of negative town, get off the pity train, and start making some changes so when you are 100%, you are ready to be the best you!
I read a great quote on Tommy Caldwell‘s Facebook page that read “If you feel like your body just isn’t keeping up with your training- take a week off and focus ONLY on mobility. It’ll set you straight!” This has to be one of my favourite quotes and greatest pieces of athletic advice. As endurance athletes, our tendency is to combat injury with more of the same stuff that put us on the injured list. When you are injured you might notice that you have more time on your hands. Use it wisely. You might be surprised to notice that the last way to improve on my list is cross training. While I believe it is very important to maintain or improve upon your aerobic fitness, it is more important to find ways to ensure you do not end up on the sideline again.
7 Ways To Improve While Injured
GET MOBILE. Open up your hips, relieve tension in your low back, and increase the range of motion in your hip flexors. This might be the most overlooked aspect of an endurance athlete’s training plan. As always, we recommend Active Isolated Stretching.
2. Correct Muscle Imbalances
This goes hand in hand with mobility. Visit a trusted therapist that can devise a plan to correct muscle imbalances. The therapist should give you a series of exercises to complete when you go home. DO THEM. No matter how insignificant the exercise may seem, do it. Write the exercises down and make sure you know how to do them properly before you leave your therapist’s office.
3. Training Plan
Just because you can’t train the way you normally do, does not justify not having a plan. The best training plans are the ones that are adjusted according to your personal development throughout the plan.
This is your body’s best time to recover and repair. You will sleep well knowing that you are doing everything in your power to get well and be better than before you were injured.
This is an area that requires a significant amount of time and energy. With a bit of extra time on your hands, educate yourself on how to clean up your diet in order to perform optimally.
6. Get Strong
Hit the weight room. Depending on the injury, you might be able to do running specific exercises without weight bearing or going through the range of motion that hurts.
7. Cross Train
Do your best to maintain or improve your fitness in the pool, on the bike, or on the elliptical.
Brandon Laan is a runner, coach, and entrepreneur. He spent his undergraduate days at The University of Western Ontario where he captained the Cross Country Team before fleeing to Hawaii Pacific University for graduate school. He is a Level II Certified USATF coach and holds personal bests of 1:06 and 2:21 in the Half Marathon and Marathon respectively. He also enjoys running to eat, not eating to run…and always will.