It’s a warm Sunday morning. You shake off the night before. Coffee. Breakfast. Coffee. Coffee. Get ready. Coffee. Time for the long, slow, run. It’s all feeling a bit easy at the 10km point, the next race is going to be a breeze.
Until 16km. That’s when something happens, “it” happens.
Maybe it clicked, maybe it snapped, maybe it did nothing, but “it” definitely happened. You’ve gone and got yourself a running injury.
Let’s fast forward through the immediate treatment of an injury, most of you know the basics, and if not, then trust me, you’ll be googling it frantically when an injury does strike and you’ll have a decent idea of what to do. Besides, we probably want to write a separate post on that as some point.
Fast forward again, you’ve been to the doctors, the physio, asked everyone you know and the answer is the same…the dreaded “you should probably stop running for a while”.
So, what now? Now your life is literally over for (x) days/weeks/months, what do you do? How do you cope? Here’s some stuff that might be worth noting.
Before we continue, consider this a big fat disclaimer, although we’re seasoned runners at Commen Athletics HQ, and this is a pretty light-hearted article, we are not medical professionals and this article is in no way meant to replace the advice of a medical professional on a running injury. Please…listen to your doctors, nurses, physios and other medical professionals you come into contact with.
It’s your first time. You don’t really know what you’re doing, each move you make leaves uncertainty crashing around your brain, wondering if you’re doing it right. Sound familiar?
Treating your first injury is the worst, it will hang over you like the sword of Damocles for a while, especially if you have a big race coming up. So, an important step is STOP THINKING ABOUT THE BLOODY THING!
If you’re always worrying about it, prodding it, poking it, you’ll get yourself in a right tizz. Have a positive attitude and give it time. It will not get better in the next 5 minutes.
The good news is, you’ll get injured many more times in the future. It won’t be such a big deal soon. Hooray!
If you’re running 30k+ a week, then you’re essentially burning an additional days’ worth of calories, at least. Needless to say, if you stop doing this, but keep your eating habits the same, you might put on a small percentage of body fat.
Best to come to terms with that now, and realise that doesn’t matter. At all. When you’re back running you’ll be back to fighting weight in no time.
If you’re really worried about it, or if your injury is long term, you can adapt your diet accordingly, I’ve never been a fan of this though as I’ve always found it much harder to get back into the swing of a “running diet” when I’m back in action.
Speaking of when you’re back, take it easy, don’t be hard on yourself when you can’t pick up where you left off. If Rome wasn’t built in a day then there is no way running strength or endurance will be.
Read. Read everything. Books, blogs, magazines, whatever. There is some amazing literature out there about running. Whether it’s training advice, inspirational stories, or just historical documentation, it’s all good stuff (here’s some options you might like).
Take this opportunity to dive deeper into running. It will be helpful in the long term and also keep you connected to running in times when you can’t partake. It’s a good habit to form when you’re back at it as well.
Do not go for that run. Also, make sure you go for that run.
What I mean to say is if you don’t feel good, don’t run. Really, please don’t run, it’s not worth it. Yes, you miss it but if you love something let it go. For now, anyway.
On the other side, if you feel like you can manage it, then do it. Don’t put it off. It’s going to be tough, and you’ll be thinking about your injury the entire time but you’ll never have to do those miles again. Just remember to KISS – “Keep It Short, Stupid”. And give yourself a lot of leeway, don’t be discouraged by recovering slower than you thought you would.
It’s no doubt going to be a stressful time, but you’ll be back. And eventually you’ll be stronger and better than ever.