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Getting Over an Injury Mentally

First, your body heals.  Whether you 100% believe me or not-it’s true and I wouldn’t lie to you (then I’d have no friends).  You break a bone?  You’ll heal.  You stretched out a muscle to far?  It will return to normal.

The day I got my stress fracture in July 2011, I could not walk.  At all and running was not in the cards.   As a new runner I had no idea what was going on and did all I really knew how to do, whine, cry and complain until the next day, in which I did the same thing.

Taking a month off of running?  More than that for an injury? 

2, 3, 4 months…you get the point.

You will be running eventually, trust me I’m the epiphany of running injuries.  I go from knee problems to broken arms and from it band problems to stress fractures…

The hardest part of overcoming an injury (in my opinion at least) is mentally get back in the game.  Let’s take running for example you lost that mental focus.  Two months ago, I was running 10 miles daily and seeing results.   When coming off my stress fracture, my long runs were far less then 10 miles and I was certainly not running 10 miles daily.

This was the day I got my stress fracture and literally couldn’t walk. at all.

So how do I mentally go back to that place I was? Ie: excited to run, workout, do whatever.

First, I WRITE everything down…

So I’m not recording it online-I have a notebook and I’m monitoring improvements and all improvements are good.  For instance, you ran 2 more miles then yesterday?  Success!  You ran 5 more minutes pain free?  Wam bam thank you ma’am you are on a journey to recovery.

Second-You don’t have to be all or nothing right now (or ever).  Some is better than none.

Case and point: I’m certainly not running 70 mile weeks right now and I’m 100% happy with what I am running.  Running is a beautiful thing and running any injury free miles is better then none.

Run with your friends

Chances are NO MATTER your pace is there is a friend you can run and catch up with.  Now is the time to get outside and run with someone that might not have felt comfortable running with you at your peak game.  Catch up with your friends.  Run on the treadmill if it’s too cold!

Run for your health

Do you remember back way long ago-you didn’t run to crush your PR’s, you ran because you wanted to be healthy?  Yeah…remember those 3 miles daily you used to run are also just as beneficial!  You don’t need to have a goal race right now because your goal is to come back stronger then ever.

Question for you: How do you get over injuries mentally? 

19 thoughts on “Getting Over an Injury Mentally”

  1. This is really applicable in my life right now even though I’m not injured…..I haven’t been running at all lately and really want to get back into it. So I am gonna take it slow and definitely use these tips! Thanks girl!

  2. So you’re back running? Just slightly jealous… 😉
    I know what you mean though… it will be totally difficult to get back to it. Not because of not wanting to, but getting the legs used to it again!
    I’m sure I’ll be tempted to try and get back to how I was running before the injury but in reality one needs to take a step back and take it slow… frustrating, but worth it in the end, I suppose!
    As for your question? How do I get through it mentally… um, currently through distraction 😛 which is not easy when I’m on holidays.

  3. I agree… next to the mental struggles injury itself is getting back into the game is difficult! This past month I have been gaining back my fitness – Like you, I was running 10 miles a day… with long runs on the weekends. It was so incredibly tough to not be able to just pick up where I left off. At first I was almost scared to run in fear that I was still injured or not ready.

    Happy to hear you are getting back at it lady!:) You will be back up to your super rock star mileage soon.

  4. Yes yes yes. To everything. The hardest part for me is realizing that if I want to be healthy later, I can’t rush back into running right now. I always end up looking back and saying “damn, why didn’t I go slower or shorter back then so I could go farther and faster now?”. Mentally I struggle a lot, mostly with fear that I won’t be as fast as I was before. I’ve come back from enough injuries to know that I will get back to where I was, but I constantly have to remind myself of that!

  5. I went through this when I was in my car accident, I couldn’t run for… what about 5 months. It was hard, but you have to keep telling yourself that if you take a chance and run when you are injured, you risk injuring yourself more and potentially being out longer than if you had just sucked it up and waited 🙂

  6. Hey, thanks for this post! I was gonna go for a 6 mile run later and I kept stressing myself out, thinking, “What if I go too slow? Have I lost speed since the last time I ran? It’s gonna be awful!” Like seriously? I’m supposed to have fun while running those 6 miles, and my pace shouldn’t matter– just that I ran those miles in the first place!

  7. I’m right with ya Hollie! If you ever need motivation I’m here for you. I’m finally starting to end the process of getting my mind back in the game after being sick/injured/etc. We can do this together! 🙂

  8. I like these suggestions.

    Another thing is, when you can’t run, you can definitely support other runners. Nothing means more to me than a few of my friends who came to the finish lines of my races and we hung out afterwards or went to breakfast. And yeah, you CAN and WILL get through your injury.

  9. These were awesome tips for coming back from an injury, or even starting out in general! I employ the some is better than none mentality, “running” with a friend, and do it for my health right now as I’m getting myself into a routine. 🙂

  10. YAY bam!! I am excited you are healing so well!! I really think it’s because you are so tough mentally!
    great advice/tips…I definitely agree with writing everything down, it helps me so much to SEE my thoughts!
    I hope you have a great weekend ahead of you!

  11. What a post…. and one that I can relate to, although I am not injured. I am really struggling right now because I need to take a break from exercising.. like a good long break and I just cannot mentally deal with it. But it must be done… i need the mental strength!

  12. Fantastic post, you have such a great attitude towards this.. I feel I can relate only a bit, as the situation is similar for a beginner runner. Ou just want to be able to run the miles and times that you see everyone posting about, but always forget that i can’t compare myself to anyone else- nobody has my body.
    I push through setbacks and injuries by thing of all the amazing things my body can do. When my feet bother me, I strengthen my core and work some intense upper body.. Itry to focus on what else I can still do that is good for the body and mind.

  13. Hi, im 14 years old and a freshmen in highschool. I honestly super depressed because not only am i injured but i keep getting all these bew injuries. Ive honestly been doing everything right and making sure i do my strength and proper stretching but it never fails for me to get injured. I started running because it made me
    Feel something i had never felt before, i loved it so much and its a beautiful thing, then i started getting competative and got very good, My dreams are to become a good succesfull runner. I keep getting injured though and is soooo depressing, idk what to do but ive never been this depressed, i cant even get happy anymore,, i need some sort of advice,
    Or just something to keep my head up and get inspired to stick with it,
    Thanks

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