If you're an avid runner, it can be very disheartening to find out you have a stress fracture. This lower limb injury is caused by long-term stress and impact to your leg and foot bones, and can be incredibly painful. Your podiatrist will tell you to allow 6-8 weeks for recovery, then return to running gradually. Running on a stress fracture could exacerbate the injury to the point of permanent damage. This is bad news for any runner, but especially bad news if you're training for a big race or marathon. However, if you still have several months until the event takes place, you may not have to give up your goal. Here are 3 ways to safely train your body and keep active in preparation for your upcoming race.


Swimming is one of the best alternatives to running for those with leg and foot injuries. When you're buoyant in the water, you won't be putting weight on your legs and feet. Swimming works as a form of hydrotherapy, allowing you to still work your muscles without impact to your injured limb. Start off with some simple water exercises like squats and gradually transition to full-on swimming. If you miss the act of running, why not try deep water running? Intense leg movement underwater may be too intense for some injuries, especially early on in the healing process. If you feel any pain during swimming, discontinue and consult your podiatrist.

Stationary Cycling

Cycling on an exercise bike is an excellent way to strengthen your quads and thighs without putting weight on your injured leg or foot. Prepare by putting on a sturdy walking boot to reduce the strain on your feet, and then set your bike to a moderate or low resistance level. When cycling, place as much of the pressure as possible on your healthy leg. If you prefer to train in a group, join a beginner's spin class for a high energy workout that won't be too intense for your fracture. Like swimming, if stationary cycling causes pain to your injury site, stop immediately and talk to your doctor.

Upper Body Workouts

While upper body workouts won't do anything for your lower body, they will help you maintain high fitness levels, improve your cardiorespiratory system, and burn calories - all important before a big race. Push-ups, pull-overs and presses are all great ways to target your core strength without impact to your injury. Everyone's conditions are different, so remember to consult your podiatrist before undertaking any form of exercise during an injury to ensure you're making the right choice for your body.