I haven’t run in fourteen days. Believe me, it has wreaked havoc on my mind. It’s a situation I think a lot of runners can relate to. When you go from being on a roll, hitting 70 miles per week, and enjoying the routine of it all to suddenly nothing, things can go awry.
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While running on the treadmill a couple of weeks ago, a pain in my left foot that stopped me on the spot. I haven’t been able to run, or put proper weight on it since. In effort to get back at it as soon as possible, I took 10 days completely off to rest it. After day 10 though, it was obvious that I wasn’t going to be running anytime soon.
With my sights set on running my first marathon this spring, keeping up fitness was important. I had to accept the fact that I wasn’t going to be able to run immediately and I hopped onto the elliptical and bike for a few days instead. This didn’t go well either though and the pain became noticeably worse.
I’ve since tracked down a physiotherapist here in Omaha and will give an update on this in next week’s writing. For now, I’m simply going to share some of my takeaways from the last couple of weeks in regards to keeping the mind healthy through the early stages of injury. I know I’m not the only runner out there who’s struggled through this period of time, and I hope this small list can help out a bit.
Get real about expectations: Injuries are a part of running. If you set yourself up to believe you’re never going to be sidelined, it will be difficult to accept when it does happen. And let’s not fool ourselves, it will happen. We know this because even the best of the best in this sport experience injuries.
It’s all about resilience: It’s not what happens to you, but how you respond that will determine the outcome. The ability to absorb the disappointment and turn it into an energy and determination to grow and become stronger through the experience is what creates longevity in this sport.
Keeping perspective: Though it may not be of much comfort right away, the truth is you will come back. These injuries aren’t career ending (in most cases). You will run again.
Embrace the limbo: Early on with injury, the specifics are often unclear. There is almost always a period of a week or two when rest is the only thing to do in order to rule out some potential injuries, and start narrowing in on a diagnoses. This can be one of the most challenging times. I know it was for me over the past couple of weeks. I went from being in a nice routine and putting in solid miles to suddenly nothing. As someone with ADHD, who relies on running to help keep my mind healthy, this was admittedly, a pretty rough fourteen days. However, there’s a silver lining, as I’ve come through it with a clearer understanding of my love and commitment to this wild running journey.
Accept the support: It’s easy to get mad at everything and everyone around you in times of frustration, but remember this will all pass and in the end it’s these people who matter most in life.