Can’t Run? You Can Still Train.

May 30 | Posted by The SportsAndFamily.com Staff | Training

You already knew the answer long before you made the appointment with the doctor; that your injury wasn’t going to get any better until you stopped running and let it heal. There’s no need to abandon your training routine during a post injury recovery period, in fact that would inevitably do more harm than good. The key to maintaining an effective sports training program is to incorporate a variety of exercise options that offer similar fitness benefits at modified or lower impact levels. Alternative training will keep you in line with your fitness goals while allowing your injury to heal. There are a number of fitness training options available for injured runners, so if one option isn’t accessible there are several others that are equally effective to fall back on.

Runners at every fitness level place tremendous strain on their bodies, and injured muscles, ligaments and tendons need a break from the repeated impact of full body weight in order to recover. The Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill is exactly what its name implies. It is a piece of sports training equipment that allows runners to keep up with similar “pre-injury” running workouts by lowering the percentage of body weight used and placing considerably less strain on the body. The Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill can be highly beneficial for speeding up the recovery process because it enables runners to quickly resume running and maintain fitness levels that would suffer from having to take a few weeks off. The Alter-G isn’t something you readily find at most gyms, but just a little bit of searching on the web should tell you if there are any local sports training facilities that have one, as well as how you could rent one.

An easily accessible option for training through a running injury is as close as the deep end of the nearest swimming pool. Treading water or water running combines a great aerobic workout with no impact and strain on the healing injury. The most beneficial water workouts will be to run in short intervals and include rest times that are at least half as long if not the same amount of time. The resistance of the water demands extra attention to intensity level and form, and for the maximum aerobic benefit intense underwater sprint style intervals are recommended.

It’s not easy to adjust non-running exercises to meet, or at least come close to the level of fitness you had attained prior to the injury, but with perseverance and a little imagination it can be done. Keep in mind that while bike riding is great exercise, regular road cycling won’t provide the level of intensity that you need to sustain your running fitness. Spinning is a great alternative training option that you can easily take up at home or at most neighborhood gyms. As a general rule, each spinning workout should last 1.5 times longer than the equivalent running session, at a low to medium resistance setting while maintaining 90-100 RPMs’ to mirror benefits of running. The low impact of spinning facilitates quicker healing of injuries while increasing strength and endurance.

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