Dealing with injuries

I orginally wrote this on the old, but I wanted to repost it so it could be accessed from the updated site!  I wrote this last year in the middle of a really low-point for me  in my running life, when I was dealing with injury after injury.  Although I am healthy now, I know a lot of runners who are dealing with injuries and I can totally sympathize with the frustration of not being able to run.

I hope this post finds you running healthy and happy!  But in case it doesn’t, here’s how I dealt with being sidelined.


From March 14, 2011

So once again, I find myself on the running D.L.   Somewhere along the way of healing my pelvic stress fracture (training injury) and my strained hip flexor (icy Boston roads injury), I’ve developed what seems to be patella tendonitis.  Even with a week and a half off of running and just cross-training, I can’t go more than 1 mile without the pain coming back. I’m beyond frustrated and really getting down about running in general right now.

So, I don’t want this post to be a boo-hoo, poor Kaitlin post. I need to look past this (hopefully minor) injury and focus on getting healthy for the rest of the year.  I have so many good races planned for this year, including the Mt Washington Road Race and the New York City Marathon, that I need to get better now.  Maybe the Boston Marathon won’t happen again this year, but I know that will be ok.  I didn’t make it to the start line last year either, but overcame my injury to run strong races for the rest of 2010.

Those of you who run, you understand how hard it can be to even have to take a few days or a week off from running. You lose that outlet for dealing with stress, thinking through problems you have, or just simply enjoying the endorphin rush as you cruise along.  With the weather finally turning the corner to Spring in Boston, it’s becoming even more and more difficult to not be running.

From dealing with so many injuries in the past year, here are my tips for surviving a running layoff:

1.  First, cry about it.  Just let it all go.  It may happen more than once.  For 15 minutes, feel bad about yourself and how all that training you’ve put in is wasted and how it feels like forever until you run again.

2. Then, get your act together.  Remember that even though it feels like a long time, it’s really only a short period of time in your whole running life.  For many injuries, you will only lose a week or two and your training will not be lost at all.  Start thinking about what you need to get better:  R.I.C.E., Active Release Therapy, or PT for those soft tissue injuries, and rest for stress fractures.  Figure out what cross training you can do to keep yourself in shape, and to keep you occupied in the weeks you will not be running.  I’ve found that pool running and swimming was best for my stress fractures, and the elliptical and bike have been good for muscle and tendon injuries. (note: I am not a doctor, and you should only do what your doctor/PT allows and what feels good to you)

3. Figure out why you got the injury in the first place, and how you are going to prevent it in the future.  Up the strength training, add yoga to your routine, stretch and foam roll after runs, don’t increase milage too quickly… all common ways to prevent injuries (wow, I am bad at all of these!)

4. Volunteer at running events.  Missing out on a race you were suppose to run? Go out and cheer for your running friends!  Some people have a hard time seeing other people run while they can’t (including me), but I think it’s really important to support those who run.  Almost everyone who passes you has had to take time off because of some type of injury.  You have to remember that you will be back at it, as long as you take the time to heal your body.  Support other runners, because someday they will be out there cheering for you!

5. Eat lots of ice cream!  🙂  Ok, well maybe not too much, but do something that will make you happy.  Focus on what you can do, not just what you can’t.

What do you do to keep yourself sane while not running?

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