Cross training is a good way of avoiding the crushing guilt that coincides with a sudden break from your running routine. Swimming, cycling and walking are all low impact cardio exercises which can maintain your fitness whilst you are out of commission.
Anecdotally, cross-training is an exercise improves running times. Whether it maintains your running ability or even improves it, it is healthy to keep a relatively active routine whilst nursing your injury.
Alongside your cross training, take the extra time to strengthen stabilising muscles and potentially alleviate any injury related pain you may have.
12 repetitions of sun salutation is a simple way to slip healing exercises into your day while recovering. If you are less acquainted with yoga routines check out Runner’s World’s recovery routine which walks you through their running specific exercises here.
Other exercises which will strengthen your legs and stave off injury for when you get back on the horse are slightly less exotic. Planks, squats, bird dogs, pistol squats, lunges, heel raises etc. are all effective and will be fundamental in keeping you running in the future.
Relax and recover
Put your feet up, read a book (I’d recommend Feet in the Clouds) or watch a documentary (The Barkley Marathons on Netflix, perhaps). Or, if you are like me, keep away from running movies as you might end up excitedly slipping your running shoes on prematurely. The point here is to simply… relax.
With the time that you might have spent running, don’t feel like you are wasting it lying down on the couch. If you are going to recover, you will need to rest and if you are going to rest you must relax. Put your feet up… preferably elevated above your head.
Generally, a runner can take two weeks off from running before seeing their fitness deteriorate. After two weeks it will take the same amount of time training as time rested to achieve your previous running fitness.
Two weeks is a long time – take solace in that and tackle the above exercises casually (especially the Netflix and reading).