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 sufficient 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. Consult with experienced runners for recommendations.

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 work out 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 guidlelines. 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 well, allow you to then build up over a further 3 days and return back to normal training.

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