Sunday 25 February 2018

What to do when your exercise routine is hampered by injury

Sports injury: listen to your body
Sports injury: listen to your body

Liz Costigan

If you exercise, sadly at some point you are likely to get injured. Whether you are a competitive athlete or someone who exercises to stay fit, injury will surely interrupt your routine at some stage.

Listen to your body

If you feel pain, don't ignore it. It is normal to feel discomfort from time to time, especially if you are just starting out.

Follow the plan

My eight-week plan is a gradual climb to the distance and fitness required to run a safe half-marathon. Even if some weeks you are feeling superhuman, do not over-train, as this will lead to fatigue, bad technique and ultimately to injury.

Warm up - stretch - roll

It is important to gradually build up your pace when you start a workout. The temperature is warm at the moment but that doesn't mean the muscles are, so don't skip your warm-up, 5-10 minutes will suffice.

I like to stretch after a run, it helps me feel less stiff, it's a great relief for tight muscles, but, I always advise people to do what feels right for their bodies. Foam rolling is really effective for injury prevention; it relaxes tight muscles and helps remove muscle knots, similar to a deep tissue massage.

Strength train

It is important to add resistance training and core exercises to your programme to improve your overall strength.

Be shoe smart

Wear proper-fitting socks and shoes with good support. I would advise all runners to get gait analysis done - this will ensure you are running in the right shoes.

So what to do when injury calls?

An injury can cause a lot of stress and frustration. Knowing what to do if and when injury occurs is so important.


It all depends on the stage at which you catch your injury. Treating it within 24-48 hours is critical, which is why listening to your body is incredibly important.

If you feel a strain or sprain don't push it, learn to pull back and RICE.

Rest: Put your feet up and rest for 24-48hrs to protect the injury from further damage and encourage healing.

Ice: In the first 24 hours post injury, use an ice pack for 15 min 3-5 times a day.

Compression: This helps to reduce swelling and gives pain relief.

Elevation: Try to get the injured area higher than your heart to reduce swelling.


Yes you read right! You can continue exercising while recovering. You will have to take some time off initially from the programme but you won't have to stop completely. Exercising will maintain your fitness levels and stop you from going crazy!

Be positive

Try to be as positive as possible, it won't be easy but it will be critical for your rehab.

Visualise yourself coming back stronger. Focus on how determination and a good attitude got you this far, this will also get you back on the road and running in no time.

Run It programme

You do not have to perform all five workouts ­- three days is the minimum required. Please try to do your long run on Sunday and alternate the other two sessions between your 100 FIT Days workout, cross and your short run.

Race It programme

As this programme is geared towards improving your race time, please ensure you get your intervals done this week. Run 400m at your 5k race pace (fast), followed by 400m at recovery pace. Repeat 8 times.


The Run It programme The Race It programme 
Tues4 milesTues3 miles
Wed100 FIT Days workoutWed8 x 400
Thurs4 milesThurs100 FIT Days workout
Sat40 min CrossSat5 miles
Sun9m/ 14kmSun10 miles/ 16km


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