I got injured April 16th. I’m still not fully recovered and if we’re being real here, it blows. It’s extremely frustrating to be sidetracked day in and day out and really not be able to do something that really makes you happy, but it comes with the territory. Rumor has it anywhere between 65-80% of runners will get injured at some point. Sign me up. I am part of the 65-80% yall. And it’s the pits.
I get down on myself a lot about my injury actually. Wondering if doing simple things like bouncing around with my dog or running a lap with my Girls on the Run girls will set me even farther back. It’s not easy to watch everyone else carelessly run around when you can’t see the finish line of your injury and wonder if you’ve even progressed at all. I also wonder often if there is an end in sight that doesn’t involve surgery and each day that goes by with limited improvement makes me fear it even more.
But it’s about perspective. Today in my workout, I bench pressed more than I ever have. Last year, I couldn’t even lift up the bar on my own. My deadlifts increased by ten pounds last week. I did a pull-up today. I’m making improvements, they’re just not improvements I’m familiar with yet.
My dad used to always say when we were growing up, “If that’s the worst thing that happens to me today, I had a pretty good day”. He would say this if someone made a tiny error that slightly inconvenienced him like if a store clerk dropped one of his items or someone forgot to print a receipt. Always minute things because he could see the bigger picture.
I’ve had to remind myself of this quote a couple of times recently. My injury is a setback, but there are so many worse things that could plague me in this world besides my ankle aching every so often. If that little pain is the worst thing that happens to me on any given day, I had a great day and I need to remember that.
Using this outlook in other areas can help as well. Say you binged on a little too much ice cream one night, if that’s the worst thing that happened to you all day, don’t beat yourself up about it because, my God, you had a good day then. Or maybe you only ran 4 miles instead of 6 because you were too tired. That is still an awesome accomplishment and at the end of the day, you did something awesome.
Perspective can set the tone for success. I’m progressing positively even if my goals have changed.
I have been laying so low these days. My step goals for the day have been blown and I’ve been enjoying more me time than usual on the weekends to focus on recovery. This is very unlike me. I’m a go go go person and taking some time to slow down is a necessary evil.
Spoiler alert: dealing with this injury right now is not my favorite thing. It’s not my first injury rodeo though. It comes with the territory for me, I’ve just accepted it, but because I’ve been around the block a time or two with this and I’ve got handling it down to a science.
Here are my steps:
- Rest. Seriously. Unless the activity that caused the injury is your full time job, take it off. RICE it. Rest-Ice-Compress-Elevate
- Find a way to workout that doesn’t aggravate your injury. This could be anything as long as it doesn’t involve you exacerbating your injury. When I hurt my piriformis (fancy word for muscle in your butt) it hurt to do anything cardio related except bike, so biking it was with some weight training. For my current injury, biking, ellipticalling, and weight training don’t bother it. As Tim Gunn once said, “Make it Work”.
- See a doctor f it lasts for more than a couple of days. I am a big ole fan of ZocDoc.com. I literally decided to go to the doctor on Thursday night and had an appointment booked for Friday. Read some reviews and do some googling so you at least have somewhat of an idea of what’s going on and you can have an informed conversation with your doc.
- Listen to your doctor. In one ear and out the other doesn’t always work in this scenario. All to often, doctors will tell patients to stop running for x amount of weeks or to take some time off, and they’ll take it as a light suggestion more than a requirement and just come back more injured than before. Take what he/she says to heart and listen. If he/she prescribes physical therapy, do it and do it well.
Physical therapy is something I am all kinds of in favor of. My first experience with PT was when I injured my IT Band a couple of years ago. It hurt to walk with a stabbing, persistent pain and always felt like something was pulling my kneecap over across my leg. I headed out to my first physical therapy appointment not knowing what to expect, but I ended up loving it. When my doctor recommended it for this injury, I was more than game.
What do I love most about Physical Therapists? They can pinpoint the bigger issue behind your injury. Sure, when I injured my IT band, I could have just taken a couple of months off and gotten back to running on my own, but I assure you my injury would have come back very shortly. The whole issue stemmed from my glute muscles being weak, so I worked really hard to build strength in that area and I haven’t had an issue with my IT band since.
This go around, we are focusing on stretching my calves. They are extremely tight and that is causing unnecessary pulling on my Achilles. Each session, I learn new exercises and techniques to really challenge myself. Ever since I’ve started PT last week, I have seen a HUGE improvement. My ankle hasn’t bothered me in days and that’s an awesome feeling. Trust these people. They know what they’re doing and you can learn a lot if you’re paying attention.
Plus, these mad men let me run muhaha. They have an Alter G Anti-Gravity Treadmill that I have been using and I’m obsessed.
It basically uses different air pressures to add or remove the amount of body weight your body is using while running. Not going to lie, it’s straight up just cool. I’ve tried countless times to video tape myself while running and it hasn’t really been successful, so stay tuned. But being able to at least semi-feign the running motion has made my heart so happy, I can’t even explain it. I can’t wait to get back at it.
- Have any of you ever done physical therapy?
- Do you like to recoup from injuries by yourself or with help?