So, you found yourself injured but you still want to stay active. It’s really a dreaded spot to be in. You hate not running but here we are, what are you going to do? I'm Jessie Funk, and I'm going to give you my experiences on today's episode of Runner's High on staying active, for the numerous times I've been injured, over the years.
The first thing to assess is what kind of injury do you have? If it's a soft tissue injury, and you're able to still run, you will probably do that, the big judge here is if your injury affects the way you run; you hobble, you limp, you kind of avoid a certain move, then it's probably good not to run at all.
And this is where we are when we're saying okay, we want to stay active but we can't actually run. So, it's going to be really what's particular to your injury, and that can be a wide variety of things.
But we're going to assume it's probably something with your legs, or your feet, or your ankles. The best thing to do is get in the pool, which is really the complete opposite thing that any of us kind of land creatures want to do is to get in the pool. But it's a great skill to have even for people who don't want to be triathletes. I made the transition. I really enjoy being in the pool now, but it was very, very awkward to start.
I'll say when I wanted to transition to triathlon competitively, I got in the pool I couldn't swim, a length with my face in the water and that's okay. I actually use swimming during high school to bring my aerobic capacity up and become a better runner. So, sometimes being injured but trying to stay active and doing this kind of cross-training activity is a good way to find other activities to get you in better shape than you could have been just by running itself.
Now, that's not to say, you're gonna go swim and then come back and be a better runner but if you incorporate that skill that you're going to be forced to learn like swimming in this off period and then bring it back into your running schedule, you may be able to create a better body of our engine than you were before. Obviously, if you don't have access to a pool, that becomes very, very tough.
My next go-to is obviously going to be cycling because we're still going to use your legs, somewhat similar firing pattern to running not exactly the same. But we're going to use a lot of the same major movers, those big muscles in our legs that we would when we're going to run. Plus, you can get plenty of aerobic capacity and it’s gonna be non-weight bearing so you’re not going to have the kind of impact you would when you're going to run.
What you want to avoid, especially if you have ankle injuries is like saying, hey, let's go play basketball or let's go play hockey or anything with those sharp cuts that is obviously gonna make things worse than better. But really, it's a matter of assessing what is the problem, what motions can I still do, and then how do I incorporate that into some kind of exercise routine.
If you don't know how to swim, you don't have access to a pool, you don't have a bike and access to a kind of indoor bike like a gym, then the last thing that I would kind of go-to before we start going into really sports that have not a whole lot of relation to running is doing weight training because you can isolate when you’re doing weight training, and if your injury is soft tissue related, most likely you need to spend some time doing rehab activity so you can incorporate those rehab activities as well as kind of whole-body conditioning which is strength training.
The fact of the matter is that if you're injured and it is affecting your running, most likely, you simply need to take time off for it to be better. That can be a little infuriating. Trust me, I know I've been injured. I simply can't count how many times anymore in the last 20 years, and it sucks, every single time that you're injured because you're not doing what you want to be doing.
But take that patience, take that time, you can channel that energy into an activity that does not affect that motion. If you're working with a PT or a doctor ask them what the best activities are for your particular injury.
But those two, swimming and cycling are often going to be your best bets to start with. And always strength training, PT, that kind of stuff is great for a running injury when you can't get outside and run. So, do you have any questions for me about running that you'd like me to answer? Leave them down in the comments below, and I'll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.