I’m a distance runner. There’s nothing I love more than hitting the pavement early in the morning, enjoying the quiet time in a city that’s otherwise always booming.
After years running, an injury was pretty much inevitable. A sprained ankle a few years ago (an accident unrelated to running) put me off my feet for nine full weeks, with a slow return to the sport I love. I ran a marathon almost a year to the day after that sprain.
But then, over the summer this year, I ended up experiencing hip pain on every run. A twinge at first. Eventually that twinge became a near-constant dull throb.
Did I listen to my body? Nope! I kept right on training, ran a 15 km race, and even spent a day and a half hiking.
I finished what ended up being my final run – the Commander’s Challenge of the Canada Army Run (26.2 km) in September… with a full on limp, and a sense of defeat. My running season was truly over. That second planned marathon wasn’t going to happen a month later.
I’ve not run since that day. I’ve not done any high-impact workouts either. I’m working out, but sticking to lifting, yoga, and modified HITT training (removing the impact).
I know a thing or two of how frustrating it is when your body won’t cooperate.
But, I’ve also learned a few things, too:
- A good physiotherapist will be your best friend, especially the one familiar with the body mechanics of your sport of choice
- Do the rehab exercises. Follow the plan. Treat the injury seriously, and give it time to heal
- Talk about how you feel with someone who gets it. A friend who’s been there. Or a professional if you need to. Just don’t hold in that mental frustration for too long
- With your medical team’s okay, seek out another exercise you CAN do. It likely won’t be the sport you love, but cross training will keep you moving, and keep you motivated. I can’t stress enough the importance of seeking professional advice first, though
- Take the break. Yes, it’s counter to point four, but sometimes, your body is telling you to stop. Listen to that, and know its’s okay. After that last race, I took a week off. I needed it, mentally and physically. I walked, did a lot of restorative yoga, and rested because my body was done with me pushing it
- Don’t eat like you’re still training. I learned this one the hard way coming off my last injury. I kept eating like I was training hard… and I gained weight. Stick to a healthy diet, cut back a little on the volume of food, and your time at rest won’t lead to extra weight
I’m now a few weeks out from being able to put on my running shoes, and I have a goal race already on the schedule for the end of March 2019. Here’s to coming back stronger than before.