A Dangerous species

You probably want to do whatever you can to help. But it’s very important to approach the situation with extreme caution. They may hurt you because they are scared and panicked, they may even feel trapped and unable to escape. If you want to help, always take the proper precautions and get professional advice as soon as possible. The following advice may help you avoid common mistakes people make when approaching them, avoiding these mistakes may reduce the chances of injury to you and other members of your family. Do not move towards them too quickly, running at them or around them may cause further agitation. It’s better to draw near to them slowly and quietly. Avoid over feeding them, their body has turned against them and now they may feel like to worsening their problems by overeating – usually they have no trouble burning the extra calories off. They may not be in the frame of mind to adequately mind themselves and denial may set in, encourage them to seek appropriate treatment. The “injured Runner” is a dangerous sort and needs to be handled with care.

Injury does not just cause pain and have a physical impact on runners; it causes anger and results in a sense of injustice, it is potentially detrimental to the mental wellbeing of an athlete as they feel their fitness and hard work melt away slowly (Smith & Milliner, 1994; Smith, 1996).There is practically no drop in fitness as a result of missing up to five days of running. After that, conditioning drops more sharply. After two weeks of not running, fitness decreases by only 6%(Coyle et al., 1986).  If the injury results in 9 weeks of missed training a 19% reduction in fitness results(Ready & Quinney, 1982). However after 11 weeks of no running there is 26% deterioration from peak running fitness (Nichols et al., 2000). Many injured elite runners turn to the pool, because aqua jogging, or pool running is the most effective cross-training method for runners. Aqua jogging is a form of water training that mimics the movement of running, and as the impact is reduced it is safe for almost any type of injury. Because pool running closely mimics the movement of land based running, it provides training which not only maintains aerobic fitness, but helps keep the running-specific muscles strong. Aqua jogging alone can allow a well-trained runner to maintain running fitness for as long as four to six weeks, it is as effective as land based running for the maintenance of aerobic performance for up to 6 weeks in trained endurance runners. (Wilber et al., 1996; Bushman et al., 1997).

injury-comebackSo complete rest is rarely necessary, even with a broken limb there is still training that can be completed. Even if you don’t exercise one arm or leg at all due to injury, but work the other, the limb you don’t exercise will get stronger. So this can be used to maintain strength in the injured limb while recovering. Not only does strength and skill transfer from one side of the body to the other, but so does activation of the genes that determine short-term endurance factors. For days after exercise, the side that is not targeted can show genes active that support enhanced endurance (Catoire et al., 2012). So, at some stage, the grieving and the self-pitying has to be end. There may be no races on the horizon, but it is still possible to maintain your aerobic fitness, your training is salvageable………. because you can always do something!



Bushman BA, Flynn MG, Andres FF, Lambert CP, Taylor MS & Braun WA. (1997). Effect of 4 wk of deep water run training on running performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 29, 694-699.


Catoire M, Mensink M, Boekschoten MV, Hangelbroek R, Muller M, Schrauwen P & Kersten S. (2012). Pronounced effects of acute endurance exercise on gene expression in resting and exercising human skeletal muscle. PLoS One 7, e51066.


Coyle EF, Hemmert MK & Coggan AR. (1986). Effects of detraining on cardiovascular responses to exercise: role of blood volume. J Appl Physiol (1985) 60, 95-99.


Nichols JF, Robinson D, Douglass D & Anthony J. (2000). Retraining of a competitive master athlete following traumatic injury: a case study. Med Sci Sports Exerc 32, 1037-1042.


Ready AE & Quinney HA. (1982). Alterations in anaerobic threshold as the result of endurance training and detraining. Med Sci Sports Exerc 14, 292-296.


Smith AM. (1996). Psychological impact of injuries in athletes. Sports Med 22, 391-405.


Smith AM & Milliner EK. (1994). Injured athletes and the risk of suicide. J Athl Train 29, 337-341.


Wilber RL, Moffatt RJ, Scott BE, Lee DT & Cucuzzo NA. (1996). Influence of water run training on the maintenance of aerobic performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 28, 1056-1062.


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