Injuries Increasing During the Pandemic
Is it strange and a coincidence that a number of runners I know of and coach, have been picking up injuries during the past several months? I say strange, because for the most part training has eased off considerably with races and 2020 goals seemingly vanished. Yet, the number of runners with injuries appears to be increasing.
I have a few thoughts on this unexpected trend. Runners are creatures of habit and routines. Most runners work through training cycles with increasing workload paying meticulous detail to the important details (i.e. sleep, diet, strength training, etc.) preparing for their peak races. The pandemic has permeated every aspect of our lives. We are reminded daily of this and while the situation across Canada seems to be improving, health experts constantly warn us of the second wave.
It is no wonder many runners have lost focus, motivation and perhaps even hope amidst this climate of uncertainty, gloom and doom. Then there is the growing stress emanating from disrupted lives and relationships that are being tested. Many have been laid off work or face an uncertain academic year.
Social distancing while necessary and important have caused runners to forego training groups and the important social connectedness many of us need. While running has been viewed as a positive and healthy activity, many runners have been ostracized for running in public spaces and without masks. A paradigm shift, foreign to those of us who run. No doubt running under duress can only add stress and tightness to our muscles, to those of us sharing the road in public spaces.
While we continue as a society at large to return to a place of normalcy, I feel it is important to be mindful of why we run. Goals delayed are not goals denied. Our training needs to reflect the reality of our circumstances. Focusing firstly on maintaining fitness before performance, may alleviate short term stress and anxiety for some of us. Maintaining a planned routine is still important. As I often said, take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves. The opportunity to race again will return and no doubt we will be more grateful for those opportunities going forward.
Tim has been an active runner since 1969 and coach since 1978. He helped co-found the Longboat Road Runners, where he served as the club’s first head coach from 1981- 1990. Tim is a NCCP level 3 certified Distance Coach and has coached at the high school and university levels (Head Coach atNipissing and Ryerson) and at several clubs, notably University of Toronto Track Club and Toronto Olympic Club since 1978.