I work with many runners suffering the misery of injury. I know it well, I missed out on running at the Olympic Games due to injury. Being injured is highly frustrating, it affects our mood and sense of well-being. We lose our routine and many runners report higher stress levels and reduced quality sleep.
When injured and whilst building back to fitness we accept the need to do alternative forms of low impact exercise such as swimming and cycling. How many runners have returned from a trip to the physio with resistance bands and rehabilitation exercises?
As soon as we can run again we ditch the exercises. It’s not surprising that injuries often reoccur. For this reason professional athletes now recognize the importance of prehab rather than rehab. I teach indoor cycling, yoga and balance to Olympic and World medalist swimmers, it’s part of their training routine.
Prehab is about being proactive and training smartly to avoid where possible the frustration of injuries.
Add cross-training to your regular running training
Variety in training is important so try embracing cross-training and building it into your routine to reduce the chances of overuse injuries. Alternative forms of exercise will work and strengthen your body in ways running may not and overall conditioning is key to avoiding injury.
Build cross-training into your routine rather than waiting until you get injured and unable to run. Try:
- Indoor cycling class
- Circuit training
- Yoga or Pilates
- Any other exercise you enjoy
Cross-training has many benefits; it improves overall conditioning, helps us to reduce the risk of overuse injuries, helps keep us motivated as we have more training elements that we can see improvements in and is likely to improve your running performance and help you achieve your goals.