By now, I’m sure you have all seen I’m back to running. OMG – it feels absolutely marvelous!
But I’m really not back to running.
Or at least not back to running like I had been before my injury.
My current state of running is oh so very different. But of course, it’s going to be. I mean – HELLO! – I couldn’t run a step 2 months ago without wincing in pain.
About a week and a half ago, I was discharged from physical therapy. I had been run/walking for approximately 3 weeks with no return of pain. At my last appointment my PT had me do a series of tests to check out my strength and flexibility. For the most part, my strength and flexibility has doubled since starting Iontophoresis. Yay! The biggest part that I need to work on is confidence in my foot. Jumping on my left foot makes me hesitant. I’m afraid it’s going to give out and crumble underneath me.
When I had my first taste of running again after 6 months off, I got hungry. Really hungry. And greedy. In my head I was looking at running all the miles and all the races.
Maybe I’ll be able to run a 5k at Halloween? Maybe I’ll do a Turkey Trot? Maybe I’ll be able to do a half marathon in early December? What marathon should I run in the Spring?
My crazy runner brain took over! I wanted it all.
Whoa Nelly! Just stop right there!
I need to STOP looking forward. 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.
Don’t go too fast, too long or too quickly. Instead, my mantra will be – Go slow, go short. Increase gradually. Patience will hopefully be my BFF. 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. With my long list of injuries from the past year, I’ve got a LOT of exercises. 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 3 miles total (with a 1/4 mile walk break in between) and my legs are sore for two days. 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. Last week, my left calf was feeling really tight which made my Posterior Tib Tendon feel tight. It made me nervous, so I backed off from running entirely for a few 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.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from being injured: Be grateful for every step that you can run. A 1/4 mile of running lifts my soul and brightens my day. It does more for me mentally and physically than any other activity. Nothing compares! Don’t get greedy and want more, more, more. More will come with time.
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, less injury prone, self.
What other What NOT to do’s am I missing?