Hi everyone! I feel like 2016 has been such a whirlwind already – I flew back to Alaska, got really sick, planned my goals, and tried out some new gear. But let’s get serious here and talk about what really matters: I’m running again! Like a normal person!
Recovering from an injury is the strangest thing ever. Part of me still feels like that scared girl lying on the table at PT hearing that my hips were too weak for running. The other part of me still feels like that strong girl at mile 8 in the Columbia Gorge Half Marathon, where I was flying downhill at the fastest pace per mile I’ve ever done in a half marathon with a huge smile on my face. And I can’t believe they both happened within 2 weeks of each other.
I want to get back to that happy, confident runner that I was at that race, but I want to do it the right way. So I’m working on my core, keeping up with the PT home exercises, cross training, and easing back into running slowly. But it’s definitely not as easy as I thought it would be. I’ve always known that running was a huge mental game, and it’s never been more true than when you’re recovering from an injury. I thought I’d bound out of my PT’s office, take off running, and never look back. But it’s definitely not that easy or fast of a process. If you’ve ever been injured before, you might recognize the signs of these common recovery side effects, also known as #recoveringrunnerproblems:
- Before every run, you worry that this will be the run where you re-injure yourself and you are almost afraid to begin…but the desire to run and your belief in yourself always wins out.
- During every run, you are basically holding your breath half the time just praying that nothing starts hurting. The other half of the time you are in shock that you’re actually running with no pain and can’t stop smiling!
- There’s a point in every run where part of you wants to run your usual pace/distance, and you have to learn how to hold back and trust the process.
- You have multiple run/walk intervals programmed into your running app.
- You wear extra layers of clothes because you know you have to walk more than usual during your run and it’s freezing outside.
- After every run, you overanalyze every feeling that is going on around the old injury site even though nothing is wrong.
- You foam roll religiously.
- Sometimes you are laying in bed and wake up in horror because you realize you forgot to do your PT exercises today.
- …So you literally schedule your PT exercises in your planner.
- You pay meticulous attention to your form in yoga class because you are afraid of aggravating your injury by doing something wrong.
- You feel like it’s a personal win for you when you feel your previously weak core muscles activating during running/in class and wish your PT could see you now!
- You want to sign up for all the races, but you’re not sure what your body will be capable of doing more than a few weeks out.
- You have to find running buddies that are willing to slow things down until you’re back up to regular speed.
- You avoid icy streets/trails because you are afraid to fall on your butt and re-injure it.
- You are once again that obnoxious runner who talks about every run, except now you talk about all your cross training too.
- You appreciate every pain-free mile more than you ever did before!
It’s hard to be confident and anxiety-free about running when I’m coming back from something so painful that was caused by my own mistakes. As I make it through this recovery process I’m hoping to learn more about what my body is capable of and how to get it stronger than before – and I plan on continuing to enjoy every second that I get to run during that process!
Have you ever been a recovering runner? How did you get through that short but stressful time period where you were starting to run again? What are the biggest #recoveringrunnerproblems you’ve ever dealt with?