If you haven’t noticed from the lack of running-related posts over here lately, this summer’s running season for me so far has been nearly nonexistent, due entirely to my still-healing lower back. It’s funny (or sad…) to think that a slip on ice that happened four months ago is still causing me problems now. But it is, and I think I’m coping fairly well.
After months of visiting my chiropractor, he finally threw his hands up in the air a couple weeks ago and told me he isn’t sure what is wrong, but whatever he’s been doing obviously isn’t working. So I’m now going down the road to recovery solo with simple home therapies (ice, stretching, strengthening exercises, etc.). I guess the upside of that is I’m saving money on office visits.
Anyway, since I’ve always wanted to keep my entire blog a happy place, and because it’s not really my nature to get down on things out of my control anyway, I thought I’d share what I’ve found I am still able to do to maintain fitness through this rough patch of running (you might have noticed on my workout log that longer/regular runs have basically disappeared lately).
None of these non-running activities will ever replace running completely, since running for me is more to me than a calorie burn, it’s a happy place (another post for another day, I suppose). But for now, these things have been keeping me mentally sane.
- Walking. I think I mentioned awhile back that I’d found a new appreciation for walking. Again, probably not something I’d ever have taken much of an interest in if I were able to run regularly. But when you’re not able to run, walking is actually a great way to stay active. On any given walking day I’ll go out for 4-6 miles, usually maintaining slightly under or over a 13 minute pace. Some days I can keep a 12:00 pace, which I thought was speedy until I realized Olympic walkers walk sub-8:00 minute miles!! Who are those crazy people?!
- Run/walk combos. I know I should probably stop running cold turkey if I want to get better, but my crazy mind just won’t let me do that. So a few days a week, I’ll do a walk/run combination workout. I stop running as soon as my back starts to feel uncomfortable, but it makes me happy to be able to run at least a little bit.
- Slow, watch-less runs. Keeping the “need to run” thing in mind, if my back feels OK on any given day, I’ll go out for a slow run (I hate to call it a jog). I don’t wear a watch (or, at least not my Garmin) because I really don’t want to see how fast or slow I’m running — I’m just happy to be running!
- Swimming. It’s funny how little swimming I do considering I spent a solid 17 years swimming competitively, but I learn to appreciate my ability to jump in the pool and swim every time I face a running-related injury. Swimming is such a low impact workout, which means, unless you’re battling a shoulder injury or something, you can likely swim through just about any injury. I’m actually going to try to up my swim workouts in the next few weeks, in case my brother and I get to swim in an alpine lake while we’re in Europe!
- Aqua Jogging. If I get bored swimming laps, I often throw on an aqua jogging belt and run in the water. It tricks my mind into thinking I’m running, without having to pound pavement. The only problem with aqua jogging is how boring it is… I need to find myself an aqua jogging buddy or something to make the time pass!
- Strength Training. I’ve really learned to appreciate weight lifting over the past couple months. I always lifted weights when I swam in college, but sort of got away from it a bit when I started running after college. It’s such a great workout when done right (i.e. not just picking up random weights and doing random things). I think I have Tina’s bootcamp to thank for getting me back into the iron pumpin.
- Lawn Mowing. Haha, I’m just kidding. But if you follow me on Instagram (LBBakes) you might have noticed I’ve been mowing my parents’ lawn lately. Hey, I think it gets my heart rate up.
Sometimes I wonder if any of this is actually keeping me in decent shape, but I think my random 5k PR a few weeks ago is a decent indication that I’m still in fairly decent shape… even though I actually felt completely out of shape during that race! Anyway, I have no idea if it’ll be 1 month or 1 year before I can run pain-free again, but until then, I’m making the best of what I can do to stay active and healthy!
Am I missing anything? If you’re a runner, what type of workouts do you turn to when you can’t run?