5 QUESTIONS AN INJURED RUNNER NEEDS TO ASK?
Much as we wish it wouldn’t…injury strikes. Train hard for long enough and you are going to suffer at some point. We runners often down play things as “little niggles” thinking that we can “just run it off.” It should be pretty clear what is and isn’t a niggle and there are 5 questions you need to ask yourself:
- What is the injury? Don’t be tempted to self diagnose the problem. Go and see an expert opinion and find out exactly what the problem is. Get advice and most importantly a plan to recover!
- Why has it happened? Reflecting on what has caused the issue can play a very important role in preventing a future recurrence. Do you have muscle imbalance? Is your technique overloading areas of the body unnecessarily? Have you upped the intensity of training too quickly? Identify it and then address it.
- What do I need to do to get fit? If you are anything like me you are probably not good at doing the rehab exercises that physio’s prescribe. I have learnt my lesson as I have got older and now do them religiously. These small exercises can be great for creating stability, improving strength, developing flexibility and solving the problem. If rest is what you need – then rest. Do what you need to do to get fit and back out there doing what you love.
- What can I do to keep fit while I can’t run? Chances are you love exercising and it has a major part in your life. You may not be able to run, but, find out what you can do to keep the endorphins flowing. Can you swim, lift weights, cycle, spin, do some yoga? It might play a part in helping you recover as well as keeping your sanity while running is not an option.
- What do I need to do to stop it happening again? Prevention is better than cure. If strength work helps you recover, and developing flexibility and balance is needed – the answer is probably to keep this going once you are back out and racing. I have had a series of ankle injuries and, if I am honest, each time a situation has arisen it is the result of poor mobility and flexibility. I know this but I have taken my eye off the ball and allowed things to deteriorate again to a level where injury has struck. If I kept up the strength work and regularly stretched my calves – chances are I would have spent less time on the sidelines of late.
For more on injury prevention check my article on why strength and conditioning is so important for runners.