2011-07-18

Training While Injured

My calf injury has turned out to be quite persistent. It's not a particularly bad injury, but it's not going away. It's also preventing me from being able to engage in in my full, regular training routine. So what started out as a minor pain has quickly evolved into a significant obstacle. How annoying.

While I am fully engaged in giving my leg the rest it requires to heal and recuperate - including, sadly, foregoing the ten-mile race I was going to run this Wednesday - nevertheless, not being able to run is presenting me with a significant challenge, and I am going to have to get creative in order to train through my injury without losing too much ground.

To be clear, I am not particularly worried about being able to run the marathon. I'm well on my way to being able to finish. However, I might not be able to run it as fast as I had originally planned. Furthermore, the overall flow of my 18-week routine is going to be significantly disrupted. It's unfortunate, but unavoidable.

Well, in the face of bad news, one has to get creative. While I don't yet have a comprehensive plan for accommodating my injury, I can put together a working list of viable ideas and concepts to keep in mind as I navigate training with an injury. Yes, it is my fault for not really going into this with a contingency plan in such an event in the first place. Luckily for all of us, though, this blog can serve as a medium for working out these sorts of things, so that we can keep them in mind later. 

1. The Morning Workout is Crucial
This item is primarily rooted in diabetes management. I have had such a good physical response to twice-a-day training that I am really disappointed whenever I have to cut a workout short for the sake of my injury. That being the case, a morning of regular strength training and/or light cardio becomes absolutely crucial to my training plan. If I can't get a great workout in the afternoon, I can take some solace (and extract many blood glucose benefits) from having a consistent morning routine, at least. 

2. Developing an Alternative to Speed Training
As I learned last year by experimenting with Hyperfitness, plyometrics can be an excellent short-term substitute for speed training. In fact, plyometrics are an integral part to my overall training philosophy. It goes without saying that for the time being, I will be replacing my speed work days with plyometric training. The challenge is that many running-specific plyometric exercises involve the same muscles and motions that running does. In other words, I might still find this a challenge because of my injury. I am going to give it a try, though. As long as I avoid the more drastic squat jumps, etc., I'm certain I'll be able to work out something viable.

3. Keeping Up With the Miles
Naturally, the most important aspect of marathon training is the mileage, and especially keeping up the daily intensity of running consistently. Try as I might, I still cannot get as good a cardiovascular workout from biking or using an elliptical machine as I can by running. Perhaps the only way around this is to simply go for longer. I am not looking forward to this, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Conclusion
As you can see, I have my work cut out for me. It can be tempting to set the whole marathon thing aside. In all honesty, I may have to do that yet. However, as my wife reminded me this morning, I have set a goal for myself. It would be a shame to have to fall short of that. There is still some time. I will watch this play out very closely.