I'm Injured! Now what?
Like all endurance athletes, you have goals and you work hard to achieve those goals. But, injuries will occur at some point in your athletic career. What are you going to do while you heal and recover?
For some, it may be tempting to stop training altogether during rehab and recovery. Other athletes may try continuing training as usual, which could cause injuries to become chronic. Work closely with your coach and always follow your doctor’s advice on the best course of action for severe injuries!
Fortunately, with most sport-related injuries you can still train with modifications and limitations to keep you safe and continue the healing process. Training may have to be significantly different than what you are used to but any workout that does not exacerbate the injury will be beneficial.
If you are a multi-sport athlete you have the opportunity to focus on the other two disciplines that are not affected by the injury. For example, if, you can’t swim due to a shoulder injury, turn your attention to what you can do on the bike and the run. Use this time to improve these areas and get the best fitness you can under the circumstances.
Runners often become triathletes after a foot, knee, or back injury. By using swimming and biking during recovery from said injury, the athlete discovers the incredible world of triathlon. Cross-training helps the athlete stay strong and keep cardio fitness without running, therefore allowing the injury to heal. (Another fantastic option to help runners stay fit is water running or water treadmills.)
Strength training can be modified to avoid further injury as well. Resistance training using stretch bands, free weights, weight machines, and body weight are excellent options to maintain muscle and endurance. As always, be sure to ask your coach, doctor, or physical therapist for safe movements that will not affect your recovery but will help you gain strength in other areas.
Finding the motivation to continue or modify your training can be difficult. You may not be able to do the sport you love while you recover! Once the injury is healed and you’re ready to resume training, you will enjoy it so much more and still be able to reach the goals you have set.
The bottom line is to just do something! When you’re injured, you can still keep your aerobic machine functioning by finding ways to train safely. Get your aerobic conditioning in other ways so that when the injury is healed, you are able to resume training and you haven’t lost fitness.
Be Smarter so that you can be Stronger and Faster.