Running When Injured is Stupid

Running when injured is stupid…

Why? You aren’t going to recover, make the injury worse, be miserable, and you probably won’t run faster.


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.  My stress fracture to appear on an 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 it had been x-rayed …but once again, one of the many reasons I’m not a doctor.

He said if everything heals appropriately, I could be running in early October (Roughly 6 weeks after the initial “break”).  t first, I said running when injured is stupid. I followed it up with a joke and said I would run today, rebreak my foot, or worse (and a high possibility )shatter the bone.

Just kidding, I have no interest in doing that, and running when injured is stupid.  I said this yesterday, but I have nothing to train for.  My race schedule is as clear 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 there are no benefits to running in pain and running while injured.  (Working hard pain is different…but that’s really not fun either)

So Why is running when injured is stupid?

  • You won’t 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 your pain, not how much you are enjoying the run.
  • You are probably slower when running when injired.  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 worsen if you run mediocre and painful runs on it.

So in short, running when injured is stupid because you are running in pain, slow as molasses, and not preserving much fitness. If you don’t slowly make the injury worse by running on it, you run the risk of shattering the bone.

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

So say you need surgery because you were too stubborn to rest? You would end up taking months off instead of weeks. Catching an injury early saves you months.

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 the 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 single race defines 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), then chances are you aren’t getting paid to run.  Running doesn’t pay 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. So when you are hobbling along due to an injury remember running when injured is stupid.

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Question for you: Have you been guilty of running when injured? If you don’t train through injuries, what do you spend your time doing?