Physically Recovering

I’ve gotten many questions about my recovery. Quite honestly I’m going to take close to (if not more) of the full eight weeks that a stress fracture normally requires. I can provide everything I did and give the timeline of my events but everyone heals differently.  I hope you heal faster.  Even if we both had the same exact injury, we would heal at different rates. Looking back, I can reflect on what caused me more time to heal. I can also reflect on what helped me recover quicker.

I made this in 2011 during my only other stress fracture.  I'm not gearing up for cross country season but it's still appropriate now.
I made this in 2011 during my only other stress fracture. I’m not gearing up for cross country season but it’s still appropriate now.

That being said, first I took a lot more rest.  I’ll be the first to admit that this is the first injury that I didn’t feel pressured to workout and cross train.  I think resting more allowed me to recover a little bit faster.  Instead of spending time cross training, I spent time off my feet.  Do I regret less cross training?  No, not at all.  I didn’t stress that I didn’t work out consistently.  I did feel really lazy and wondered how people did this year round but I didn’t stress about it. The first month I had absolutely no craving to run or woke out. To be honest, the second month I’ve been much more antsy.  (I have been using the AMT when I do cross train)

I also took vitamins.  I feel like I’m currently taking a lot more vitamins than I’m used too.  I know it’s not a substitute for proper nutrition and I’m not meaning for it to be.  I’m enhancing the amount of calcium, vitamin D and magnesium I’m getting for bone growth.  I’m taking a generic GNC calcium and bone health (no,  not sponsored…that awkward moment when I show a product I bought…versus getting for free).   When I was not injured, I took one daily.  Now that I’m injured I take 2.  I think any runner could benefit from taking a bone supplement.  I’m also taking a multivitamin (something I’ve always done).

Third, I’m using Epsom salt baths.  When I recover from a hard run, recover from an injury or just want to relax, Epsom salt baths have always been my go too.  I always feel better after I take one so I try to make time most nights.

Around week 6 of recovery, I started to use the Alter G treadmill.  I did a couple of posts about it earlier in the week.  (Alter G Part 1, Alter G part 2).  I think slowly adding weight back to my foot is allowing me to heal and begin something that resembles running.

Other then I’m just relaxing and taking it day by day.  I’m focusing on other aspects and not pushing my limits. I think people underestimate what proper rest can do.  I honestly think if I had tried to go to the gym everyday then I would be even less recovered than I am now.

Why am I healing so slowly? 

I think I was set back a week or two when I ran that mile three weeks ago. Despite my doctor clearing me, I don’t think my body was ready. After that mile, I felt as if I had been set back (pain wise) a week. It’s important for me to realize the average stress fracture takes about 8 weeks to heal. In a few days I will be at the 8 week mark. So while I feel like I’m making very slow progress, I’m making average progress. With average there are people who are above average and people who are below average.  This has been my longest injury period but honestly I’m in the best mental state.  I’m not stress, worried about fitness or worried about running.  I know my time to run will come back.  I just hope it’s soon!

Question for you: When do you take time away from your sport or working out program?