Injuries are tough for runners to accept. There are few athletes in this world more dedicated to their sport than runners. It takes a serious impediment to stop a runner from logging their miles. Snow and ice on the roads? I think I’ll try Yaktrax or maybe trail shoes will work. If worse comes to worst, I can always settle for the “dreadmill”. We’ve all had the debate about whether to run through a head cold or at the start of flu-like symptoms. It is hard to take a break when your legs feel fine, right? So, you can imagine how devastating it is when an injury stops a runner dead in their tracks, or pavement, or trail if you’d rather. Whether it is Plantar Fasciitis, IT Band Syndrome, or a stress fracture, getting through an injury is difficult, both physically and mentally. Here are some ways to cope while sidelined.
- Take this time to cross train or try a new workout. Cycle. Yoga. While none of these options seem as appealing as a nice run outside or speed work session (wait – are those ever appealing?), at least one of these options can be done while injured, depending on your specific injury. Not only will doing these different forms of exercise keep you sane, they will also help you strengthen your muscles, which will prevent you from further injury and make you a better runner.
- Find an alternate way to relieve stress. Running is a great way to release stress, but there are other ways to de-stress. Journaling, meditation and cooking are all great ways to clear your mind, just to name a few.
- Stay positive. This is much easier said than done. Although at times, it may seem like you will never be able to run again, remind yourself that you will. Envision yourself coming back stronger physically (from all of your cross training, of course) and mentally.
- Set a non-running goal for yourself. Running a 5K or half marathon may be out of the question, but there are plenty of other aspects in your life where you can set goals. Whether it is learning a new language, reading a new book or reconnecting with old friends, goals can help you focus on other facets of your life.
No matter what, try your best to not get discouraged. Remember that you will run again and come back stronger than ever!