Training Tip: Coping with Injury

If you injure yourself while walking or running, what should you do?

By Alyssa Shaffer
group of runners from the waist down image
Photograph: Photo by: iStockphoto

Plan developed by Mindy Solkin, owner and head coach of The Running Center in New York City.

Last week, we talked a little about how to avoid getting injured during your training. But injuries do happen, especially as you get closer to race day. The key is to listen to your body and respond quickly to prevent a minor injury from turning into a major setback.

"If you have pain that’s ongoing for a week to 10 days, or more than two or three times when you run, try cutting your mileage in half and then gradually build it back up," advises Vijay Vad, MD, a sports medicine specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. (Also avoid doing speed or hill workouts while you’re in recovery mode.) To help keep your fitness level up, cross train with a low-impact activity that doesn’t affect your injured area — get in the pool or hop on a bike. In addition, make sure you stay hydrated while you’re training. "Dehydration weakens the muscles and tendons and makes them more prone to injury," notes Dr. Vad.

If your aches and pains continue to last through your workouts — or if they surface when you start running or afterward — seek out the help of a sports medicine doctor, who can help analyze the problem. With the right therapy, you might still be able to make it to the starting line and finish strong.

Next Training Tip: Get the Right Sneakers

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Originally published on, March 2009.

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