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What other activities can help you maintain running fitness through injury?

How you can deal with an injury without sacrificing fitness

Injuries are the worst, and if not dealt with properly, they can linger longer than necessary. Runners love being active, which is why they can rush back sooner than recommended and risk re-injury. If you’re waiting out an injury and wondering how you can preserve fitness through the process, here are some ideas. 

Water running

Water running, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with a stress injury and shouldn’t be weight-bearing, is a great way to maintain fitness. To water run properly, everyone should purchase a flotation belt (which will run you about $30), so that you can maintain your running form while in the water. Once you’re comfortable with the activity, work some repeats into your run. Add 10 by 30 hard and 30 seconds easy to help get your heart rate up.

Strength training

So long as your medical practitioner has cleared you to strength train, working on your weaknesses can help you come back a stronger runner. You can start with physio exercises to strengthen what’s broken, but also, lifting heavy weights is great for runners (professional runners are lifting heavier and heavier all the time).

If it fits in the budget and you’re getting in the gym for the first time, booking an appointment with a personal trainer to get the basics down is a great idea. If it doesn’t fit in the budget, there are lots of online resources to help you as a first timer. 


Much like water running, the bike and the elliptical are two ways to put in long efforts without bearing weight. Especially for marathoners looking to maintain fitness, you can go for hours using either of these tools.

One caveat: if you’re struggling with a hip or ITB issue, the bike and elliptical can make it worse. Try strength training or water running for these injuries. 

Hiking and walking

Sometimes an injury is your body telling you to take a break. If you feel you need some time away from structured training or cross training, going on walks or low-intensity hikes is a great way to get moving without straining your body too much. If you need a break, take one.