Yohan Durand, the French runner who is aiming to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics, is currently deep into his training for the Valencia Marathon on December 3rd. Despite facing challenges posed by an injury that sidelined him for many months, Yohan has diligently focused on cross training and rehabilitation from January to August 2023. With unmatched determination, he remains motivated and enthusiastic, aiming to surpass his own personal record of 2:09:21 established in 2021.

Injury and Return to Running Timeline

Yohan's Base Fitness from February 2023 to currently.

Base Fitness: This metric is a  rolling 42-day average of your training load. Every workout you complete will have a training load to show how stressful it is for your body. When building, we recommend focusing on 2-6 points per week.
  • August 2022 - Just weeks before the European Championships, Yohan Durand suffered from his injury. Despite receiving immediate treatment to alleviate the symptoms, Yohan persisted in training and racing through the pain until it became unbearable. Eventually, he realized further treatment was needed.
  • February 2023 - Yohan began to seek proper treatment. During this time he did not run and focused on cross training instead, like cycling and swimming to continue to build his Base Fitness. In the later stages of rehab, he slowly began to integrate running sessions.
  • August 2023 - Yohan began to run more consistently after several months off. He has been focusing on building aerobic fitness as well as speed and strength. He has been able to build his training back up to 150 kilometers per week without pain.
  • October 8th - Yohan participated in the Paris 20K race to assess his current fitness level. To his surprise, he felt well on race day. However, he remains aware that there is more work to be done in order to achieve his ultimate goal, which is to qualify for the 2024 Olympics.

Building Fitness While Not Running

A training week with over 12 hours that mainly focuses on cross training.

Yohan refused to let his injury bring him down or make him let go of his goals. He did not enjoy swimming but would swim weekly to maintain fitness. In addition to swimming, he added cycling and elliptical workouts to his routine. Yohan stayed motivated and worked hard with cross-training throughout his injury.

I made a point of swimming twice a week even though I hate swimming just to work on the mental aspect of training. That way, I can still work towards my goal despite not being able to run.

Yohan focused on cross-training through August then began to add consistent running into his training. Yohan shows us that you can increase fitness even when you can not run. Here is a closer look at his Base Fitness scores:

  • In the early stages of his recovery, Yohan's score was 74 at its lowest.
  • While he cross-trained, he kept a score between 80-90 to maintain fitness while he could not run as much.
  • As his running began to increase, his score went from 90 in August to 209 in October. This is a big jump and not recommended for all users.

Yohan Durand, 1st French runner at Paris Marathon 2021. New personal best of 2:09:21.

The Comeback and Future Racing Plans

Upon resuming his running routine, Yohan encountered difficulties and didn't feel like his usual self. He openly admitted to experiencing a decline in his running economy due to the several months off of running. Running didn't come as naturally as before. However, with perseverance and determination, Yohan gradually found his rhythm and began to rebuild his confidence.

I lost the specificity of running, but I maintained a fairly decent level of endurance because of my cross-training: I was immediately able to resort to my fundamental endurance rhythms, but I lost in MAS and race paces. I was loading up much faster muscularly because during all those months without impact on the ground, my muscles had become unaccustomed to it.

Yohan is determined to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics in the marathon discipline. Feeling highly motivated after his period of rest, Yohan believes that this renewed enthusiasm will greatly benefit him in his upcoming races.

Today, I think having experienced this frustration has created extra motivation. When I was injured, I used to say to myself: 'If I ever manage to get out of this impasse, I'll no longer have the right to complain when training becomes difficult. If I can find the motivation within myself to continue training through sports I don't like, then my motivation for racing will be all the greater when I get back to it'. The mental aspect of injury is not to be overlooked, and it can be a real asset if you manage to use it intelligently.

The COROS team extends their best wishes to Yohan as he enters the final weeks of preparation for the Valencia Marathon. We look forward to following your comeback and performance!

Credit: Albin Durand / ASICS France