Running When Injured is Stupid

Running when injured is stupid.

The doctor told me yesterday at my first follow up appointment that I was healing appropriately.  In fact, X-rays also confirmed I had a small stress fracture and it was healing.  My stress fracture appeared on the X-ray!  The doctor had to squint a few times through his glasses but it was there.  Personally, I couldn’t see anything except that I had a foot and that is had been x-rayed …but once again that is a reason I’m not a doctor.

He said if everything heals appropriately then I could be running in early October (Roughly 6 weeks after the initial “break”).  I jokingly said I would go run today, rebreak my foot or worse (and a high possibility )shatter the bone.  Then in two weeks I could confuse him more when I came in and my foot was more broken and required surgery.

Just kidding, I have no interest to do that and running while injured is not worth it to me.  I said this yesterday but I have nothing to train for.  My race schedule is as cleared as someone who doesn’t run.  I don’t need (or want) to run injured and force a fast recovery only to get more injured later on.

Call me old fashioned, just plain old, or paranoid but I see no benefits to running in pain and running while injured anymore.  (Working hard pain is different…but that’s really not fun either)

First, you are not going to enjoy running when you are in a lot of pain.  I do not enjoy anything when every step is painful.  How on earth is that fun?  You are forced to think about the pain you are in, not how much you are enjoying the run.

Second, you are probably slowing your pace if you are running while nursing an injury.  You can’t run your normal pace when you are in pain.  So is the run helping you the way a pain free run is?  No…you probably aren’t preserving that much fitness.

Third, the more you run on an injury (especially a stress fracture) the worse it will probably get.  A small stress fracture (as I have now) will only get worse if you run mediocre and painful runs on it.  You are running in pain, slow as molasses while not preserving much fitness and causing your body to require more time to heal.  If you don’t slowly make the injury worse by running on it, you run the risk of shattering the bone.

So an injury that takes a month to heal (in my case) would now take 6+ months and possible surgery.

So say you need surgery to get a shattered bone fixed?  Wouldn’t you still have to take around a month off of absolutely everything in the end anyways?  So taking a month off now and not worrying about it, would save about 5 months of painful running (that’s my logic).

Running while injured is stupid and pointless.  It has taken me a few tries (tries of being injured?) to get to this point but I’m here.  When I was in college, I believed the collegiate races at the end of season were going to define me…they haven’t.  Not showing up to Wineglass because I’m two days recovered from a stress fracture won’t define me.  In fact, no athletics can truly define you because your life is not a one race definition.

Unless you are in the highest tier of elite athletes (or a college scholarship athlete), the chances are you aren’t getting paid to run.  Running doesn’t your bills and not running isn’t going to cause you to be unable to survive in the real world.  The world moves on while you rest and recover from an injury.  You move on while you rest and recover.  Once you are recovered, you begin training again and in a couple of months (or faster) you are back to training regularly.

Maybe I’ve become a paranoid old woman but I enjoy this rest time.  I enjoy finding hobbies that don’t lead to surgery.

Question for you: Do you train while injured? If you don’t train through injuries, what do you spend your time doing?