Things are going well. Your running times are improving all the time, you can feel your body adapting to the demands of the sport, and you’re confident that all in all, you’re on the right track (hey) for running success. And then you feel a twitch in your leg and, just like that, you’re laid up and unable to run. There are two options in this scenario: you can lie down and bemoan your luck, or you can do all you can to get back up and running as soon as possible. Let’s take the second option, and get back on the track after a muscle injury.
Keeping Things Cool
If you’ve injured yourself now, then you’re fortunate that it’s summer, because things are about to get pretty cool. When you have a strained muscle, ice will be your friend. How you do is up to you; you can get an icepack and target the sore spot exclusively, or you can be brave and have an ice bath. Settling into a bath of icy cold water might not sound like much fun, but it has bags of benefits before your injured muscle, including boosting your all round recovery, boost circulation, and even give your happiness levels a lift too.
To The Core
You might have a massage to help you unwind, but to recover from a muscle injury? It’s true. A deep tissue massage will relax your muscles, which will soothe the pain of the injured area, and also get those deep-lying toxins and tight muscle areas moving, too. Beyond speeding up your recovery, there’s another obvious advantage to getting this type of massage; you’ll feel extra relaxed, which might be important when you’re not able to release those tensions through long running sessions.
Stretch it Out
Stretching is an underrated tool for runners. For starters, if you make stretching part of your everyday routine then you’ll be greatly reducing your chances of getting injured; indeed, it’s because of inadequate warm-ups that cause most injuries to happen in the first place. When you are injured, stretching will help strengthen your muscles in a low-impact way. When you get back to running, your muscle will be stronger and less like to be re-injured if you’re stretching every day!
To the Pool
Everyone knows how important momentum and being in the “workout groove” is when you’re trying to build endurance and prepare for a long race. If you’re lying on the couch every day, then by the time you get back on the track you might have lost the edge you’ve gained during your training. As such, head to the water when you can’t run. It’ll cause no troubles for your legs, but will help you stay active and build up your endurance. And who knows: you might fall in love with swimming, too.
OK, last tip: when you’re injured, it’s extra important that your patient and get plenty of rest. If you neglect to do either of these things; then you’ll run the risk of having a relapse as soon as you’re back running. Not what you need!
Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.