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The trick that got me through my time off with a running injury

Having a running injury can be soul destroying. When Tara was forced to log less miles, she found one trick that helped her get through it all. Here's how to deal with running injuries.

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As I crossed the bridge along my route, a warm breeze swept up from the South Saskatchewan River and I rejoiced in the moment. This was my first outdoor run in many weeks and it was being touched by record-breaking heat. For someone who revels in warm weather, this made for an idyllic first run back.

My body felt strong and my soul felt nourished. I ran with the hope that my recovering knee would show little to no signs of pain. As I clicked off the miles, I carried on through the 40-minute mark, which, during preceding treadmill runs, had been the trigger point for discomfort. But there I was, well into my run with no signs of any of that. I continued to complete the 70-minute run with only the slightest bit of discomfort. This, combined with the progression I’ve seen over the past couple of weeks has been enough to help me believe that I’ll be back into the full swing of training soon.

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Anyone who has been injured knows that it can get pretty bleak at times (especially when you’re forced to hearing THESE things). Not knowing when, or how you may heal can be nerve-wracking and frustrating. That said, there’s a lot of peace to be found in taking control of the situation and dedicating yourself to doing whatever it takes to heal. Over the course of the past couple of months, I’ve discovered the key not only to treating an injury, but also in prevention. That is being consistent. Here are a some of the notes I’ve made along the way:

1. Stick to the plan: As tempting as it may be to start pushing the pace and distance, I committed myself to sticking exactly to my coach’s plan. That has meant running a lot slower than I’m accustom to and doing more cross-training than I would have chosen to do. Trusting in the plan and executing it on a daily basis is proving to work.

2. Strength: In order to treat this injury I’ve had to focus on strengthening my glutes, hips and core. The treatment has worked because I have been diligent with my exercises. As I continue to heal, I’ll commit myself to continuously working on strengthening my body to prevent future injury.

3. Nutrition and rest: Staying on top of my nutrition and getting adequate sleep has proved to be just as important in the healing process as it is for intense training. I didn’t have to stop training, I just had to do it differently. I have spent hours cranking out workouts on the elliptical and treadmill and strength training. I may not have been putting in the miles I’m used to on the road, but that hasn’t meant I can back off nutritionally. Staying consistent in what I’m putting into my body has helped tremendously in recovering.

4. Journal: I find this to be one of the most effective ways to stay on top of training. Writing down what I have done every day helps me see the small pieces of the bigger picture.

5. Be patient: It can be difficult to stay on task when you aren’t seeing any results. It may be tempting to quit when instant results aren’t there. I certainly have had my moments of wondering if all I’m doing is actually going to lead to a full recovery. Trusting the plan and being patient, helped everything come together.