Injury · Running

#recoveringrunnerproblems

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!

im running

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:

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!

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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?

29 thoughts on “#recoveringrunnerproblems

  1. Definitely remember that other issues are likely to crop up as you recover–you are dealing with compensation effects as well as reawakening muscles and such that haven’t been used in a long time.

    1. Yes, I’m definitely noticing that. When I try a new class my whole body is sore for a few days so I try to remind myself that any soreness is just because I worked my whole body in ways I’m not used to. As long as I don’t feel the old injury pain on a run I’ll be okay. It hasn’t happened since that time I ran back in Philly and I’ve been keeping my runs shorter since then so that I can let my body adjust to my new workout schedule.

  2. 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.

    That is what I am thinking currently!
    I also should foam roll more often as my calves are not as they should be.
    Also I really need to do some hill reps but just don’t have the time for it…

    http://www.holidayhomeyorkshire.co.uk/ckeditor_assets/pictures/47/content_the_buck_hotel.jpg?1347828384

    The link shows a hill in the background where we get rushed up every saturday and I am really desperate to make it!
    If I make that one, I make everything!!!

  3. Wow I hope you recover quickly and are back at running your normal pace/distance in not time!
    I am a recovering runner. Except for me my time has not been a short period, it’s been a long and mentally terrorizing recovery. I suffered from a back injury with nerve damage and I haven’t run in 3 years. I have tried everything! And like you I thought that after 4 months of PT I would be back to ultra running! 2 years of PT later and with no solutions in site I practically gave up. I did not want to have back surgery at the age of 27 so I stayed dormant for another year. This year is different. I am recovering and I’m forcing myself to slowly build up all of my “game” as I’m calling it. I have had many of the #recoveringrunnerproblems as you described them! I can tell you one thing for certain keep up with cross training and strengthening exercises. Even little ones like hip raises! Don’t forget to add back exercises in along with your core I wish I would have done that 3 years ago!
    My top #recoveringrunningproblem is definitely my drive to push myself. When realistically I can’t. I always want to add weight, to start running and never stop, to swim miles, I just want to push myself. I know I can’t though and I’ve committed to staying consistent to avoid injuries.
    The one thing about injuries though, is that you can now build up muscles and continue doing that and cross training even when you can run normally again that way you can get even better and faster 😁😁😁

    1. Oh no 😦 I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been having such trouble getting back to running! I say short in this post because it’s wishful thinking for me and I hope it’s a short process! But I know this could take a while and I’ll have to be okay with that. I really hope you can get back into running again soon! And you’re right about getting stronger in other ways, it’s so true!

  4. Heh, it’s like you can see into my mind! 😉 It was definitely the mental aspect that was hardest for me to deal with each time, I think… and coming back healthy and wanting to go at my pre-injury speed and intensity and getting frustrated that I had to take it slow. Starting over can be so dispiriting. But I try to think about how I’ll get back to pre-injury status in time with work, and that can help motivate.

    1. Haha that’s so funny that we’re feeling the same way! Yeah I was not prepared for the mental side of this, but it is getting better. I just wanted anyone else out there who has the same thought I’ve been having to know that they’re not alone!

  5. I can totally relate to the feeling of starting a run and waiting for the pain to reappear and over-analyzing every little twinge. But one day you will run, come home and realize you never even thought about your injury and it will feel amazing!

  6. Yes yes yes! I remember trying to get back into my marathon training after my injury and every run became so much more stressful – I’d be thinking, “So far no pain! Should I keep going? Should I stop to avoid aggravating it? What if I don’t heal in time for this marathon I paid $80 for!!!” Woof. it’s a lot. I’m glad you’re starting to feel better and just keep doing what you’re doing!

    1. Yes! So many thoughts. I’m currently worried I’m not running enough, but also worried if I decrease my walk intervals that I’ll feel pain. I can’t wait to get through this and just run like normal again!

  7. Ha, I have most of these thoughts almost every run because I’ve had so many little freak injuries and pains that I have no idea where they came from. I’m glad that you’re back at it, and that you’re continuing to take recovery seriously. Fingers crossed that all your work pays off and you have a strong, injury free year!

  8. I am not a runner…not the long distance kind. But I totally feel and have felt the same way that you do. I’ve felt the apprehension of getting back into a workout after an injury. It can be scary…you don’t want to hurt again/re-injure/hurt something else because you over compensate for another muscle group not working right. I’m coming back from a severe dislocation of my elbow. Torn/stretched beyond ligaments…scary. But, I’m coming back! Easy does it, i’m coming back. Best wishes to you and hope you stay strong and injured free! Happy New Year! Koko:)

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