Today’s post comes from Melis Edwards, author of Deep End of the Pool Workouts: No-Impact Interval Training and Strength Exercises — and you might recall that she shared a great pool workout with us last year. Melis has more than 30 years of experience as a running and triathlon coach, personal trainer, fitness instructor and athlete, and has participated in Ironman distance triathlons as well as the Western States 100-mile endurance run. She holds a Master’s Degree in Health Promotion, a Bachelor’s in Health Education, and several teaching and training certifications. And she’s got some great tips for workouts runners can do to overcome common injuries.
Runners like to run — plain and simple. From trails to city streets, races to social runs, they look forward to their feet hitting the ground. I have been a coach, trainer and athlete for years and I can tell you, the kiss of death for a runner (or really any passionate athlete) is an injury.
Runners hear the words “no running” and cannot imagine what they’ll do instead. This leads to what I have seen over and over again through the years — people running on injured body parts when they shouldn’t. I seen runners limping from plantar fasciitis or an ankle sprain, bent over with poor posture from tight hips or weak core muscles, bands strapped on their knee suffering from iliotibial band syndrome or patellar chondromalacia, you name it.
What gives? Do they not know how to rehabilitate properly? Or are they so set in their ways that they are not open to other possibilities? On multiple occasions I’ve suggested an injured athlete crosstrain or work with a physical therapist and been met with skepticism.
Well, I used to be a skeptic, too. I thought I could work out my injuries without assistance. However, over time and injuries/accidents, I realized I could heal faster and stay injury-free longer with the right assistance.
So, if this is remotely sounding familiar to you or someone you know, consider entering the world of water training. It’s a serious mode of rehab and cross training for any sport, but especially for runners because it can help strengthen and stretch a runner’s body with low (or no) impact. In deep water, the runner experiences a complete open kinetic chain motion with zero impact to joints, and even in shallow water, the buoyancy means that ground force trauma is far less than with land-based movements.
I’ve listed a few of the most common running injuries I see, along with the workouts I suggest for rehab. Your first step, though, should be to consult with your physical therapist or doctor so they can guide you to exactly what you should do on your own. Then, you can ask them about pool training as a rehab choice. I co-authored my book (Deep End of the Pool Workouts) with a physical therapist (and amazing friend of 30 years), Katalin Wight, and these workouts have her approval.
An ankle sprain can take a few days to many weeks of rehab. You’ll experience pain, swelling, instability in walking, so being in the water with little to no joint impact can help you get back into the running game.
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