14 Things NOT to Say to an Injured Runner

things not to say to an injured runner  happyfitmama.com

Since I’m back on the injured list again, I’ve been receiving all sorts of “advice” from well meaning friends, family and random strangers. Everyone seems to be an expert when it comes to injuries. To the injured runner, it’s like finger nails on a chalkboard. I just want to scream sometimes with certain comments. There is just one thing on the runners brain – I just want to run!

Next time you are injured or come across some poor runner who is, think twice about what words of sympathy or wisdom are said. The runner is probably already very crabby from not being able to run.You definitely don’t want to make them even more angry!

There are just some things you should definitely NOT say to an injured runner.

“You should do yoga!” If you know me, you know I love yoga. But is it a substitute for running? Absolutely not.

“You should swim/bike/elliptical!” The cure for every running injury, right?

“I just had the best long run. I felt like I could run forever!” Thank you for digging the knife in my heart just a little deeper.

“Have you tried rest, ice, compression and elevation? Or stretching? Taking anti-inflammatories?” Huh. Never thought of any of those.

“Weren’t you just injured? Thanks for remembering that.

“You should really focus on strengthening your upper body now.” Because that’s really going to help my lower body injury?

“That happened to my friend/sister/neighbor. She never ran again.” If you are just looking for something to say, this is not it.

“Why don’t you find another sport?” Why don’t you find another friend?

“You needed a rest anyway.” A rest from you talking so much.

“Have you gained lots of weight from not running?” I WAS feeling good about myself today. I knew I shouldn’t have worn these pants today!

“When you run that far, you are always going to be hurt.” Is that a Golden Rule?

“It’s only running.” Said someone who obviously is NOT a runner.

“There’s always next year to run that race.” And that makes it magically all better?

“See? I told you running wasn’t good for you.” So is doing nothing. I’d rather run.

If you are injured now or in the future, it’s inevitable you will be given advice about how to get over the injury or what you should be doing until you can run again. Those kind souls really do mean well. I know everyone is just looking for something to say to make the runner feel better. But what’s the best thing to say to an injured runner?

“That totally sucks.”

I wrote a similar article for RunHaven earlier this year. A portion of it is used in this post.

What’s on your list of what NOT to say to an injured runner?

  1. Oh yes, but oh no. I have heard almost every one of these, and its like a knife into your heart. Its horrible, but when you are injured, it seems that the FIRST thing ANYONE wants to ask you about is “how is your running”…..and then you have to explain, and then you get sad, and then these questions come. Not fun, and I wish you didnt have to go through it. I really found writing in a journal helped, to clear my thoughts and spin that sadness into what it is gonna make you achieve. Keep your head up beautiful lady, you have SO MUCH MORE to offer this world than just running :)
    Tina muir recently posted..Meatless Monday- Honey and Lime 3-Bean DipMy Profile

    • Thanks Tina. The sadness is still there, but it goes away a little bit more everyday. At least I can laugh about it all!

  2. I’m laughing at “You should find another friend!” YES to that. And, one of my “friends” just texted me about a 5K race, when I responded that I was injured and wouldn’t be racing, he wrote “wow. so early in the season too. too bad.” I mean, really???
    Allie recently posted..The Rundown – A Hot MessMy Profile

    • Oh, that’s bad! I had someone ask me how far I made it at Boston before I DNF. Their response – “You ran longer than that in training, right?!?” You have no idea how much restraint I had to muster for that one!

  3. I am sorry you are injured-it does suck. I did not follow good advice last year and ended up on a forced 2 month rest from running and it was the most annoying thing ever to have to listen to everyone else’s advice and well meant words of encouragement. My take away was remembering how I felt and to try to support and encourage my fellow runners when they could not run. It is easy to say-but hard to do. I hope your recovery goes well and that you are back doing what you love sooner rather than later!
    Cathy Brophy recently posted..After the RunMy Profile

    • I know they are so well intended, it’s just when you are feeling so bummed out about being injured, you take everything to heart. At least I can laugh about it all!

  4. Yes to all of these. I hate the nonsense that comes out of people’s mouths when you’re injured. Finding the silver lining is really, really tough–sometimes it’s just not there, too.

    I hope you’re progressing and seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.
    misszippy recently posted..Harper’s Ferry Half MarathonMy Profile

  5. That was me too many times this past year. I feel you. People are trying to help for sure but as you say there is nothing that is the same as running. When it is your social life as well it’s even harder. I did enjoy some of my other non running activities but they are not a substitute. Hang in there.
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted..Tofu Scampi-Meatless MondayMy Profile

  6. It’s so true! Everyone has some sort of well intentioned comment or advice to add, but seriously?? So not helpful- just acknowledge that injury is the WORST!! Hope you’re nearing the other side of things soon. But thanks for the smile this morning. :)
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..9 months- baby and mom updatesMy Profile

  7. Seriously, this is absolutely ridiculous. Don’t complain about your injury to the whole world if you don’t want people to comment. Saying “that sucks” could come off as rude, insensitive etc. Count your blessings, stop complaining.

  8. I get the same kind of help regarding my diabetes. I don’t appreciate it either.

  9. I have #15 to add to that list……
    I too plagued with ITB issues and trying to get back my distance. Currently training for the Gold Coast half….. A month behind in my plan, I tried a 12 yesterday and came undone at 10 but pushed through and finished my 12.
    But I’ve come to the devastating decision to not do it. I was told that maybe I have to come to terms with the fact that you are not a distance runner.

  10. I’m cracking up. I love when people say, “it could always be worse” that makes me cringe- yes, I know it could be worse, but I’d like to be upset for a few minutes, could you please allow me that? I guess not.
    Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted..Grapefruit Chia FizzMy Profile

  11. Oh yes, every one of them would make me wince! I could possibly cope with ‘well you need a rest anyway’ if in a positive frame of mind, because that is good for a couple of weeks a year.
    Get better soon Angela!
    Sheryll recently posted..My first marathonMy Profile

  12. “Why don’t you find a new sport?-Why don’t you find a new friend”!!!! LOVE it!!! The oh it’s only running goes right up me!! It sucks right out loud that you are injured!!

  13. haha! You crack me up. But they do mean well when they say it :) Yep, sucks big time. I know the feeling. Sadly I got my boot a few years ago while the rest of my family went to a local run for national “I Run” day. Oh the sad irony of it all!!
    Lisa @ TechChick Adventures recently posted..Track & Field dayMy Profile

  14. I love this!

    I’m not trying to recall my last conversations with injured runners to see if i was one of the guilty ones ;(