When You’re Injured…You Learn Things…

Keeping with thinking out loud this week,  I decided to group a bunch of random thoughts together.  This time they were not my own but advice I gathered from my facebook page.  

In yesterday’s post,  I asked myself (not out loud…that would be awkward) but asked myself: What have I learned from being injured?  Not just my previous injury but from all of my injuries…

This past week I reached out to people online…

What did you learn while being injured (and what injury)? 

Josh F: Not ignoring an injury just because it doesn’t affect you WHILE you run. If it hurts badly afterward, it needs taken care of. (This is something I think a lot of runners, including myself, struggle with.

Marie P: I’ve learned to be patient with the comeback. Don’t boost miles too quickly and don’t expect your speed to be back within a few months even when your base is built up again. Speed takes longer to return than endurance.

Marie and I
Marie and I.  Marie has been one of the best supporters and friends I have had since the very beginning of my running career.

Run Buzz: Most injuries are caused, have warning signs and “just don’t happen”. Most can be prevented, but our own stubborness often gets the best of us. Also, just like a car…. “We need preventative maintenance. Flexibility, Mobility, Deep Tissue Massage”

Courtney A: I learned that running doesn’t define me. I also learned that I’m more dedicated and resilient than I realized. Also, I discovered the importance of strength training.

Running doesn't define us...we met doing an open water swim!
Running doesn’t define us…we met doing an open water swim!

Mike D (my favorite twinning running race partner): Heal drops are the only thing that helps bad Achilles.

At Shamrock this year.
At Shamrock this year.

Jennifer B: I learned it’s not the end of the world to take a day off because you’re hurt. I learned the sun will still rise if I skip one run. But most importantly I learned that I can survive taking six weeks off and come out stronger and faster than ever before! (Something I’ve learned too. I have come back stronger from every single injury I’ve had as well Jennifer).

Andrew R: I had a torn achilles last year during a trail run while speed training. I realized that I really am human.

Victoria K. Anderson Pool run like a boss.

Oh m gosh, kicking old school in 2011 with a photo of Victoria, Jenn and I
Oh m gosh, kicking old school in 2011 with a photo of Victoria, Jenn and I

Kennedy R: During my three stress fractures and compartment syndrome, I learned that any run is better than not being able to run.

Craig B: Sometimes injuries take a very long time to heal. And sometimes they are not superficial. Sometimes they require so much attention, they require no attention at all.

MyPat B: I’ve learned a greater patience. I’ve learned so much about my injuries that I should be in the medical field. I’ve learned about cross training. And I’ve learned that you can make many conversations and friends with an injury. (You and I both Pat. I don’t think I would survive medical school though).

Angela D: My most recent issue with my toe and heel! I learned that life exists outside of running and also that unfamiliar running shoes should not be bought on sale! Only buy sale shoes if you have previously worn them and or know for certain they won’t destroy your feet. Aside from these things….over the many years I’ve been running I’ve learned that I am not invincible or special and I too can get injured so I need to take precaution and recovery properly between runs.

I completely agree with Angela. Running shoes should only be bought if you have fine research and at least tried them on. New shoes can cause serious damage if you are unfamiliar with them!

Camelia M: I learned to never ever run again through an Achilles tendon injury. By doing so I had sacrificed 4 years of training and ended up having two surgeries on the same tendon.

Amy Scott-Lundy: I learned not to push recovery. I had to take a few unexpected days off occasionally, especially when I was just coming back to running. Better to take a day off if something doesn’t feel right, than to run and have to take more weeks off.

Another big thing was getting my gait reanalyzed at a running store. Maybe this is more important if you actually injure a foot, which I did, but my running shoes of choice have changed. (And don’t wear the old shoes after you get reanalyzed- the sides of my legs were hurting like crazy from the stability… donation bin!! )

I agree completely with Amy. Always make sure you are running in proper shoes (Running store nerd alert).

Rebecca B: I feel like I have FINALLY learned to take time off when something is starting to bother me before it morphs into a full blown injury.

Karen R: Through IT band issues, I learned how much running really does for me – mind, body, and soul. I chose a very conservative approach to returning to running, one that had no room for ego. It takes discipline to go out and run a marathon, but it takes way more to increase your runs by 1 minute at a time!

Kara T: I am currently coming back from “self-imposed” time off from running due to some lingering heel/calf muscle issues. Taking time off from running is Soooo hard! However, I’m finally embracing pilates, spin, and strength/form drills! I’m seeing the importance of hip strength and core fitness. Injury has taught me to listen to my body and take a “Less is More” approach. I’ve been able to step outside of my comfort zone- “of just running” and make time for the other exercises my body needs.

I appreciate everyone who contributed facts you’ve learned. Hopefully it will help someone else in those shoes. Each person, injury, running and training plan is different.  I love hearing about what other people have learned from injuries.  

Questions for you:

What have you learned from a more serious injury? 

Have you ever taken time off just for a mental break?