Beating the Injury Blues

recovery comic

I recently had to take a bit of time off running, hence the reason I won’t be racing until outdoors, and as anyone who’s ever been injured can tell you, taking a break is no easy thing for most runners. Asking a runner to take a break can be like asking them to give up their soul, or cut off a limb, and something like six weeks off feels like six years to us. If this sounds like you, never fear, a strategy to “Beat the Injury Blues” can be found here!

Rule #1: Accept and Commit to It

The sooner you face reality the better. Whatever your injury is, seek medical advice and listen to it! Far too often when Doc tells us to take a break we enter what I call the “denial stage,” Time off? Runners don’t take time off! Six weeks? I’ll give it six days. Maybe this doctor doesn’t understand running, I think I’ll get a second opinion before  I take a break…make that a third opinion..

Don’t beat around the bush! The sooner you commit to the break the sooner you will recover. And in the meantime, learn to recognize the many benefits to taking a break.

Rule #2: Don’t kid yourself–Prepare yourself!

Once you commit to the break don’t kid yourself into thinking it will be a piece of cake. Running can be very addicting. Ever heard of endorphins? You know, those “feel-good” chemicals your body releases during exercise? When you stop running, you miss out on the “runner’s high,” and no longer get that daily stress relief running provides. Before long you find yourself more stressed, anxious and borderline depressed.

If this sounds familiar, you may indeed have a running addiction. It’s okay, really, but rather than living in denial you need to do something about it:

-Find healthy, new ways to de-stress (yoga, reading, hiking, listening to or playing music, even Netflix or video games [just not all hours of the day])

-Make plans to do thing you haven’t been able to do when training hard (go to a concert, a retreat, weekend get-away)

-Make plans with friends (sounds obvious, but sometimes the hardest part of being injured is missing out on team camaraderie. You may not be there for the long run gossip, the inside jokes or track meet experiences, but you can grab a coffee with your teammates, plan a game/movie night, or make them dinner when they’re out at practice til 7pm.

Rule #3: Practice Positivity

If there’s one thing that will make your break a million times better its a positive attitude. Whether in sport or in life you’ll always to go through rough patches, so why not use this time to practice your positivity? –>Check out a post I wrote on “The Power of Positivity.” 

Rule #4: Remember Your Motivation

When “soul surfer” Bethany Hamilton was attacked by a shark and lost her arm, many people thought she’d never surf competitively again. –Yet because of incredible faith and motivation, Bethany not only surfed just one month later, but went on to become one of the top pro surfers in the world. When an eight year old boy named Glenn Cunningham was dragged out of a burning building, doctors said he would surely die or be crippled from the burns for the rest of his life–Yet through incredible determination, Glenn taught himself  not only to walk, but run, and in 1934 he set the World Record in the mile.

I don’t know about you, but I love hearing stories about people overcoming adversity (CLICK HERE FOR MORE!) One thing all of these people had in common was an incredible amount of motivation. They learned how to “keep their eyes on the prize,” and how important it is to constantly remind yourself of your goals. Even if their goals had to change, they immediately learned to make new ones. Don’t compare your current fitness to others or worry about the time you’ve missed. Instead, focus on the future.

Rule #5: Keep Cross Training Entertaining

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Me & my girl, MoMo post pool workout

-Mix it up: During this last break I was forced to mix up my cross training because anything I did over 30min seemed to bother my injury. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I discovered that hopping around from bike to elliptical to swimming to aqua jogging made cross training MUCH more fun and interesting.

-Find a workout buddy: Whether it’s a teammate who can join your workout, the random swimmer in the land next to you whom you secretly challenge to a race, or a friend you convince to sit at the edge of the pool and keep you company, the more the merrier!

– Invest in waterproof mp3/headphones: My husband got me the Diver waterproof MP3 player and now I can’t imagine swimming or water running without music. It’s pretty inexpensive, especially considering the cost it would take to repair your iPhone if that “waterproof” case you buy ends up leaking!

-Try something new: Thanks to Jeff Caron, I went for an ElliptiGO test ride recently and I had an absolute blast! I completely forgot I was getting a workout in (well not on the uphills!) and was able to enjoy the sunny, scenic trails without any impact.

photo courtesy of ElliptiGO.com

So there you have it, I hope this helps you beat those injury blues!

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2 Comments

  1. Ugh! So sorry to hear that you had to take a forced break for a bit. Are you back at it now? I loved your ideas for beating the injury blues. If you are a runner and are working to improve and push yourself, most likely you will face an injury at some point. I’ve had to come to grips with the dreaded injury diagnosis a few times and while it’s never fun, it definitely goes better when you listen to the doctor and accept it, find some new goals/challenges to keep you busy and know that you WILL get better and be back to running soon. Sometimes my forced breaks have actually been good for me – or have fallen at a time when I needed to take a break and focus my energies on my family or other things in my life. So I’ve almost always been able to find a bright side to the forced time off. And when I’m finally able to return to running, it’s all the more sweeter for the struggle and I come back with renewed energy and focus for my training. I hope that you heal up quickly and are able to get back on the roads soon!!

    • Thanks Jenn for the encouragement! I’m back to running now, and feeling that renewed energy finally! It is pretty amazing how much time off makes you want your goals even more! You just have to stay positive in those tough times first!

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