As I find myself returning to running after a stress fracture, I’m feeling like I need to check myself.
Check yo’self before you wreck yo’self.
So much wisdom in those lyrics from Ice Cube. I can’t let go of music from the 90s. Sorry not sorry.
Anyway, yesterday I had a follow up appointment with my orthopedic. He reassured me that this isn’t going to be the normal for me, that stress fractures aren’t going to be happening every year. It’s been 12 weeks since I felt the first twinge of pain. The fibula is healed. Yes, I now have Osteopenia to think about but I’m doing everything that I can to build up my bones. I can’t let this hold me back from doing what I want to do.
He suggested one thing to me that had me chuckle.
I should do at least one run a week and all of my hill training on a treadmill because there’s more cushioning.
Obviously the snort that I let out as I tried to hold back a laugh let him know what I thought about that.
On the bright side, he told me I would be perfectly fine to run Loon Mountain in July. Just as long as I do hill training on the treadmill.
Dude. You are killing me!
But I guess I can suck it up for one run a week on the treadmill if it means doing more trail/mountain races.
Even though he gave me the ok to run Loon, I’m going week by week to see how I feel. If I don’t feel comfortable doing that distance or facing Upper Walking Boss (although I don’t think you CAN feel comfortable facing a 40% grade), I’m giving myself the option to back out. What’s another DNS when that’s all I seem to do now?
With every running comeback that I’ve had from an injury, I find myself getting greedy and looking too far ahead.
What race should I do?
There’s a group run on Saturday that’s doing 10-12 miles, I should be back to that distance in a couple of weeks.
I need to stay in the mile that I’m in. If it works in a race situation, it will work in returning to running after an injury, right?
The last thing I need to do is to re-injure myself, or worse yet, get a new injury, so I’m *trying* to following what not to do when returning to running after an injury.
I wrote about what not to do before and I need the reminders still today.
Don’t go too fast, too long or too quickly. Go slow, go short. Increase gradually. This time is not about finding my old pace. It’s about gradually building a base. Don’t forget about cross training – it will only make you stronger.
Don’t stop physical therapy exercises! I’m pretty diligent about my PT exercises although not all of them as often as I should. Just because I’m feeling good, they still need to be done like it’s my job. I need to remember that they are also preventive exercises!
Don’t compare pre-injury to post-injury. There was a time, not long ago, when I could run a 20 miler and have zero leg fatigue at the end. Now, I run less than 3 miles total (with walk breaks in between running intervals) and my legs are sore. It saddens me to think of how much endurance and strength I’ve lost. I know eventually I’ll return to “old me” workouts and times. In the meantime, I need to only focus on how much I’ve progressed in this “training” cycle. Because injury recovery really is what I’m training for right now.
Don’t ignore injury symptoms. I’ve learned with a stress fracture, it’s common to get phantom pains after returning to running. It’s not the same pain as before but more of a soreness. Last week after my run on Thursday, the soreness felt more sore than before. It made me nervous, so I backed off from running entirely for three days. I foam rolled, used The Stick and stretched like crazy. Thankfully, everything is feeling back to normal now. I’ve learned that if I feel any of my old injury symptoms AT ALL, I need to address it. It may mean not running or even take going back to the distance/time that I was running two weeks ago. It’s not the END. Most likely, I’m avoiding anything serious by catching it early and avoiding any type of regression.
I look forward to all the runs that I can do. I know what it’s like not to run so I’m holding on to every stride I can take. And if you are wondering what it’s like, you can read all about it HERE.
I remind myself daily that this is temporary. I will be back to “my old self” one day. Hopefully, a much stronger self.
What would you add to the list of what not to do after an injury?