Injury · Running

Starting Back at Square One

Hi everyone!  If you read my post last Friday, you’ll see that something happened with my butt/hip injury and it’s back again.  At first, I thought that maybe it was just a slight flare up and it would go away on its own if I stayed away from running and skiing, so I took the entire last week to rest.  But I’m still feeling a ton of pain a week later.  It was like the past 4 months of recovery had never happened.  And as that realization began to sink in, I started to get pretty upset.  How was I going to reach my yearly milage goal when I could barely run 10 miles a week?  And worst of all, how could I even think about running a marathon when it hurts to run more than 45 minutes?

I’ve been a mess over the last week, mostly because I wanted to do everything I could to avoid the one thing that I know I have to do:  I have to completely reset my goals for the year.  I can’t run 500 miles this year or run a marathon without hurting myself.  I doubt I could even get to the start of marathon training without getting injured at the rate my body is going.  And as soon as I came to terms with that, I felt a giant 26.2 mile weight being lifted off my shoulders.  Ever since coming back from this injury in December, I’ve been worried about building my base to get ready for training to begin in July.  But what I should really be doing is taking all pressure off of myself.  During the last 3.5 years, I’ve made lots of running mistakes.  I think the biggest one was running 7 half marathons basically back to back without any true down time or off season to recover, build a base, work on my strength, or reset my body.  And now I’m paying that price by being unable to get past this injury.  So for now, I’m taking all races and milage goals off my list for 2016 so that I can simply focus on getting stronger and fully healing.  Even if I’m fully recovered by July, I don’t think I should be rushing into something as big and serious as marathon training this soon after a long lasting injury.

Starting back at square one with my running injury and my plan for recovery

I’ve decided to take on the following steps to move forward from square one:

  • Take a break from running.  This is what my PT had me do in November, and I’m going to do it again.  I’m going to cycle back through each week of my assigned PT exercises again and bring my focus back to my strength and not on trying to add to my running milage.  I also might have to go back to my PT if the pain continues, but since I already have an entire month of plans from him I’ll start with those first.
  • Focus on spin and yoga to get in quality workout time.  I think in the next few weeks I will only be able to go to the classes that I know my body can handle and that won’t aggravate my injury even more.  So I’ll be spending most of my cardio time doing my own bike workouts in the gym and yoga workouts at home so I know what I’m getting myself into.
  • Take it slow.  When I’m ready to try running again, I need to take it slooooowwww.  No more worrying about increasing my milage too soon, or comparing myself to other people and their return back after injury.  I need to listen to my body and go at my own pace.
  • Think positively.  This is so tough for me, but I’m trying to look for the silver lining in this setback.  Now I can just focus on getting stronger and faster!  I can probably run some shorter races this year if I feel like I can handle it instead of constantly being in training for a long race.  My pace has slowed since training for longer distances, so it might be fun to do a speedy 5k sometime this year.  I can spend more time this summer hiking without worrying about doing too much on top of my long runs.  And my summer/fall will be a lot more fun without marathon training, right?

It was really hard for me to write this post because I feel like I’m giving up on my biggest dream, and I’m so disappointed.  A few weeks ago I was running pain free with a huge smile on my face, and now I don’t know when I’ll be back there again.  But I just can’t make my body heal faster or do things it can’t handle, so I feel that this is the best choice for me at this moment.  I need to start listening to my body and doing what I can in 2016 to reach my goals on my own timeline.  I know that I’ll run a marathon someday soon, and all of this waiting will be worth it!

Have you ever re-aggrivated an injury?  How did you handle going back to step one after making so much progress forward?

30 thoughts on “Starting Back at Square One

  1. Oh dude, I’m so sorry your injury has flared up again! This has definitely happened to me… and might even be happening to me currently (damn my dodgy knees). It’s almost soul-crushing to be in a place where you’re running fine at last and SO HAPPY to be back, only to have to be sidelined again. I think you’re taking the right approach – starting at square one is unbelievably frustrating, but so much better than carrying on and getting injured even worse. I’ve been trying to embrace Fallon’s (Slacker Runner) idea of looking for the shiny and finding the good things, no matter how small, to focus on while you move forward, even slowly. Stay strong, and hopefully you’ll be feeling better ASAP!

    1. Yes to all of this! My soul has been crushed like 20 times in the past week. It’s exhausting. I really do want to look for the positives in every small advancement I make towards running again. I can tell you that after the initial injury recovery I made sure to enjoy every moment of every run, and I will definitely do that again once I get back to running for good!

  2. Ugggh, what a bummer! Thankfully, I’ve never had a super long-term or recurring injury. I think the plan you have for yourself is a good one, and hopefully by giving yourself permission to take time off, get stronger, and heal, you’ll be able to have a lifetime of happy, pain-free running, instead of focusing on short term goals like the marathon.

    1. You are so lucky you’ve never been injured! Do lots of cross training, my PT would tell everyone who reads my blog to do that if he could 🙂 I’ll just have to live vicariously through you as you marathon train!

  3. Nooo! I can’t imagine how angry/frustrated/sad you must be. Sending all of my positive thoughts your way.

    When you finish your DIY physical therapy, I think your idea about running some shorter races is great. It also might help you not be constantly comparing how you are running in 2016 vs how you ran in 2015 since the goals would be so different. The longer races will still be there in 2017 and beyond.

    1. Thank you so much! You are so right about not comparing this to my past running. I think that’s why this is so painful for me – my first half marathon was the Disney Princess Half 2 years ago and it’s so hard looking back on how happy and healthy I was back then compared to what’s been going on lately. I’m hoping this year will bring back that health and excitement for running again!

  4. 😦 Well that’s a bummer, but awesome job searching for the silver lining! I’m glad you had the >>confidence<< to be honest with yourself and not push it with the whole marathon thing. It's ok to re-evaluate your goals!

    1. Thank you! It’s so hard when your goal is that big, and when it would have taken me back to Philly to visit my family. But I know the Philly marathon will be around for a long time so hopefully I’ll get to do it soon!

  5. I’m so sorry to hear about the injury flare up! i love your attitude about resetting your goals though. I think you’re being so smart listening to your body and doing what’s right for you to get strong and healthy again. Running will be there for you when you’re able to run again!

    1. Thank you! This is just what I needed to hear today. I’ve been a lot more sad than this post makes me look, but I’m hoping once I’m back to being strong enough to run I’ll be a lot happier about my goal change.

  6. injuries suck a lot. im sorry you are dealing with one…taking it slow is the best advice i have heard and can give, you will be back out there crushing it in no time 😉

  7. Sounds like you’re making a smart decision, Kristen. Its always hard to make the right choice, and I know how eager you were to get started on training for your first marathon. Races will be there, but you have to put taking care of your injury first.

  8. Sorry Kristen, this sucks. 😦 As difficult as it is, you’ve got to know you are 100% making the right decision. It would be even harder if you spent the money registering for the race and got partway through the training and then had to call it quits. Give your body the time it needs to rest and recover and you’ll come back stronger than ever ❤

    1. Yes! This is exactly why I did it. I would have just flown home anyways to see my family, but it would have crushed me to be home and not be running that marathon. I’ll get there sometime in the next few years hopefully!

  9. I’m sorry to hear this Kristen! I hope that things go well for you for the next while. You are doing all the right things. I think you are allowed to wallow and feel sorry for yourself for a while and then focus on the positives. I think tearing up the number goals is a great idea. Make your goal to be healthy and see what follows. Also, I don’t think you’re a square one. You’re at square two – you know what to do and what it takes to get back to health. Good luck!

    1. Thank you! I have definitely spent the last week wallowing and crying a lot, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to move on to some happier training moments soon! 🙂 And I like the idea of being at square two – that makes me feel less like I totally wasted the last 4 months, because I really did learn a lot during that time!

  10. My heart aches for you because I know that this is so crushing to you. But I love your positive attitude and that my friend is what you need to pull out of you during this time. Getting stronger and resting will make you a better runner when this all goes by. I am glad you are able to find other outlets to help you stay fit and active. Crying is OK, screaming is allowed and writing through this will help you! Don’t hold back! Big hugs!

    1. Awww thank you! I have cried and screamed a lot more than this post lets on, so I’m hoping that will start to pass 🙂 I can’t wait to get better and run again, but I’m willing to be more patient this time around!

  11. So sorry Kristen!!!
    I feel your pain, I’ve been battling a work injury that has re-injured a few times and has kept me from running as I would like for a little over 3 years now. It’s no fun.
    But attitude is everything, I can’t say I have been positive at every moment, but having that set in for the most part will get you through. I just tell myself “this too shall pass..” it will pass for you too! Keep up the good attitude and I think you have a great plan while you work on this.
    I do hope you can get over it for good!!!

  12. Oh Kristen, I am so sorry. As someone who is super injury prone I completely understand what you’re feeling. I know it’s difficult, but you’re doing the right thing. I am notorious for jumping back too quickly after an injury and it always screws me over. I know it’s hard, but races will always be there. I put off my Ironman for a few years too. Hopefully next year will be your marathon year. Hugs.

  13. I’m so sorry to hear this! At one point I felt like I was constantly injured- I kept having to take months off at a time last year and it really messed with my attitude and focus. I think you have the right mindset though, and focusing on other workouts for a while will be good for you. Hopefully this injury heals soon and you can run again- even if it’s not a marathon, maybe shorter distances. You’ll tackle that marathon soon!

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