The five running injury principles that’ll get you back to full training in no time…
Imagine the scenario; you’re weeks away from your big race, and you’ve been training hard for months on end. Everything’s going well, except for a niggling injury that seems to be getting worse and worse. Eventually, it gets so bad that you can’t even run, and you’re forced to admit defeat. Heartbroken and disenchanted, you forfeit that all important race entry and begin the long road back to recovery. The big race will have to wait another year.
Former marathon World Champion Rob de Castella summed it up well when he said: “It’s easy to look after yourself when you’re healthy and training well; what makes a true champion is how you look after yourself when you’re injured.” Particularly for marathons, it is important to follow an expertly-written marathon training plan to minimise the risks of injury. But being injured needn’t be so tough. By applying a few simple principles, you can reduce the impact and the recovery time of all but the worst injuries.
1. Look on the bright side
One of the best things about being a triathlete is that injuries don’t force you into becoming a couch potato. You may not be able to run as often as you’d like but at least cycling and swimming are still on the menu.
Injured triathletes often make swim and cycle improvements that stay with them for years. Make sure you’re one of them. It’ll also keep you fit so that you won’t lose much of your running speed during your lay off. Just be careful with high-intensity cycling during the acute stages of an injury, as it can hinder your recovery in some cases.
2. Doing nothing doesn’t work
3. Pain isn’t always a disaster
4. Don’t take shortcuts
5. Comeback to running gradually
When you start training after an injury you should do it gradually so that your body has time to adapt. At this point you’re neither injured nor cured – you’re somewhere between the two, and doing too much can set you back.
Once the worst of your symptoms have subsided you should try a short and slow two-kilometre run. If you get through it unscathed try running 2.5km two days later. Keep up this regime of running every second day, adding half a kilometre each time until you can do 10km without much trouble. You should adjust this programme if your symptoms flare up so that you progress more slowly. At the same time, make sure you’re doing everything else you can to fix your injury, including rehab exercises, massage and core stability work, before returning to your usual running training plan.