I made good on my New Year’s resolution and have faithfully been going to the gym and running three times a week, but for the past month, my leg has been hurting whenever I run. I took a week off to see if it would go away, but it came back. What should I do?
While I’m no doctor, chances are your body is trying to tell you something. Whether it’s your footwear, your training, or the way you run, an injury is an indication that something needs to be addressed.
My first and most important piece of advice is to see a physiotherapist or your doctor as soon as possible. If things aren’t getting better with rest, there’s no sense in waiting. Be proactive and get it looked at right away.
In the meantime, you can stay active and maintain your fitness with alternatives to running. If biking doesn’t hurt, try some spin classes or go for a bike ride outside. In the gym, you can try out the elliptical, a low impact option, to see how it feels. If you’re not sure how to use the machines, just ask a trainer to help you out.
If you’re jonesing to run, try water running. While you’re at the pool, you might as well swim—it’s an awesome cardio option to spice your routine up whether you’re injured or not.
If you’re still looking for ways to stay active, be creative. Try an invigorating yoga class or a challenging strength class.
Part of dealing with an injury is physical. You’ll likely get physio exercises, a stretching routine and plenty of advice when you go see a professional, but there’s a big mental element involved, too. It can be frustrating to get hurt, but reminding yourself of all the people who have gotten over injuries and come back stronger than ever is motivating.
If you’re facing an injury, keep your thoughts positive. Use the time off to try out new activities and focus on other ways to de-stress daily, like calling a friend, reading a book or doing something crafty. Stay active in other ways, listen to your doctor or physiotherapist and make sure to take care of yourself—as cheesy as it is, what doesn’t kill you really will make you stronger.