Most runners will find themselves plagued with some sort of injury at one point or another. Some injuries take only a few days of resting and icing while others take a long time. Having faced a plethora of my own running-related injuries, I figured I’d share a few thoughts that carried me through them while keeping (most of) my sanity. Feel free to add your own!
A few things I’ve learned through running-related injuries:
- Not being able to run isn’t the end of the world! Okay, it is at first. But give it a few weeks and it’s really not as bad. Especially if you can replace it with something else that you love and enjoy doing.
- Keep in mind that you are doing other activities not instead of running but because you are a runner. These words of wisdom kept me strong through many injuries.
- It is entirely possible to keep a good fitness level up while not running. I’ve been biking, using the elliptical and walking. My running fitness definitely feels a little lower (i.e., 11-miles sounds like in insanely impossible feat at this point!) but I still feel fit. Better yet, I’m more fit in other areas. My arms, abs and quads have really become stronger!
- The foam roller is an indispensible peice of equipment that I would highly recommend to all runners. I use it as a pre-run warmup and a post-run cooldown. Roll over those tight quads and hold for a few seconds when you reach a tight spot (trust me, you’ll know when you reach a tight spot…they don’t call this the torture device for nothing. )
- Fuel up! Now is not the time to skimp on calories simply because you feel that you’ll be working out less and don’t need the extra calories. Your body needs to repair itself. If you’re continuing to workout, you’ll still need those extra calories. And if you’re taking the injury as a chance to lay low for a while, your body will learn to adjust and tell you what it needs when you’re hungry or full.
- Learn what works for you!! The upper part of my foot was hurting for the longest time, and I started wondering if I should still heed the advice from an old running friend who told me to lace up my shoelaces really tight at the top. Once I lowered that part of my shoe lace by excluding the last hole and tying it more loosely? No more upper foot pain!
- Whoever came up with RICE was on to something: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. It does wonders for inflammation! I always ice after working out for 20 minutes at a time, preferrably 3x a day.
- Stay positive and relish each run you do, no matter how short or long. And if you’re in pain…stop! It’s not worth pushing through one run which could land you in a position of not being able to run for several months or longer. I know this from experience.
Even if you haven’t experienced an injury, I’m sure you have some tips and tricks up your sleeve that help you to prevent them as well. Any tips on dealing with injuries, recovering from injuries, avoiding injuries, etc?