Don’t let injury set you back. These alternatives will keep you in the game.
Research suggests that nearly half of all runners experience an injury every year. That’s a whole lot of harriers sentenced to time off their feet. Lucky for all of us, there are a number of workout alternatives that allow you time to heal without sending you back to square one of your training regimen. “Using alternative means of exercise while recovering from running injuries can help maintain general fitness, while also providing an important psychological boost for athletes accustomed to training day in and day out,” explains Adam Hodges, a multisport coach at Alp Fitness in La Crescenta, Calif.
Consider the following workouts for some of the most common running injuries. Hodges reminds runners, “the key for any of these injuries is to find an alternative form of exercise that the athlete is motivated to do and that doesn’t aggravate the injury.” Keep moving, listen to your body and you’ll be back logging mileage in no time.
Typical healing time: 6–8 weeks
Alternative: Deep-water running. Allowing you to avoid all the pavement pounding, deep-water running still trains the running movement. Not only will this get your heart rate up, it’ll strengthen some of the same muscles you’ll use when you get back to land running.
Try this: Wear a flotation belt during your first workout, but once you master the form, consider shedding the belt for a more intense cardio session.
- Warm-up: 10 min easy water jogging
- Run slightly harder than 5K race effort for 1 min, 2 min, 3 min, 4 min, 3 min, 2 min, 1 min with half rest jogging recovery between each
- Jog: 4 min recovery
- 6×30-sec sprints with 30 sec active rest in between
- Cool-down: 5 min