When Things Go Wrong

It is common for runners to enjoy good form when they have had a prolonged period free from injury or illness. However, regardless of attention to nutrition and care to ensure recovery from training and racing, injury and illness will from time to time afflict most runners.

What to do when things go wrong? Let us deal with injury first. It may be that 48 hours rest will result in a marked reduction in pain, and should that be the case tentative jogging on a soft surface and monitoring of any reaction may be suffice to allow a gradual return to normal training. However should there be no improvement it is important that advice is sought as soon as possible from a suitably qualified practitioner. The optimum way forward is to ask experienced runners if they have knowledge of such expertise.

If running has to be avoided for a period, fitness may be maintained by walking or gym work if these activities do not exacerbate the injury. One of the best pieces of equipment to ensure a good workout with no impact is the flotation belt. Quality sessions can be carried out in a swimming pool, either continuous “running” or interval work.

With regard to illness, clearly medical advice should be sought. In the case of the most common illnesses, i.e. the common cold or influenza, it is very important to follow conservative guidelines. With a cold, where symptoms are confined to below the neck, a couple of rest days then 3-5 days of light exercise should see the symptoms resolved. Build up your training over 3 days and then return to normal work. With influenza one has to be extremely careful. Complete rest for at least 7 days, followed by 7 days of light exercise and monitoring of symptoms should, all being wel,l allow building up over 3 days and return to normal.

It cannot be emphasised enough that when things go wrong an attempted quick return to normal can result in a prolonged disruption to your running.

Mel Edwards
November 2007