I’ve been injured a few times, but I’ve always come back stronger from a running injury. I haven’t PRed the next day, but I have gone on to PR after every injury I’ve had.
It isn’t by luck or by a miracle, but coming back stronger from a running injury means taking the appropriate amount of rest. After you are completely healed, then you can come back slowly. It’s not a short process by any means, but if you don’t take the time to recover, you’ll end up where you started-hurt.
As I’ve come to realize, I’m more susceptible to bone-related injuries, not because of weak bones but because of my running form.
Here is some information I’ve learned about coming back stronger from a running injury:
Don’t Push It:
When coming back stronger from a running injury, it’s important not to push your mileage, pace, or distance. Running for time becomes more relevant. Personally, I also ditch the GPS watch because I can focus on how I feel. It also eliminates the ability to compare yourself to previous fitness levels. When you are coming back stronger from a running injury, you are just happy to run!
Don’t forget; you aren’t a hero for going zero to full mileage. In fact, you’ll end up reinjuring yourself or coming back with a new injury.
Calories In>Calories Out
My orthopedist is a strong believer in making sure you flood your body with the appropriate nutrition. I’m currently taking a vitamin for calcium and vitamin D, but I’m also not skimping on meals just because I’m not running as much.
I would rather come back into running, knowing I have the appropriate nutrients to keep me running versus getting injured because of a vitamin deficiency. You won’t come back stronger from a running injury by not fueling appropriately and getting proper nutrients. If you are looking for a nutrient blood test, I suggest Inside Tracker.
Don’t Worry Fall into the Comparison Trap:
It’s human nature to compare yourself in any situation, but it’s not smart, especially coming back from a running injury. With social media, it’s easy to compare someone else’s training and comeback. Heck, it’s easy to compare yourself to other versions of yourself. When you are coming back stronger from a running injury, the only person you should focus on is you at your current state.
Comparison will only result in frustration. It isn’t going to affect your training. We are all different, and we all respond to injuries differently. Even if you have the same injury twice, your body will respond differently.
Finding the Right Shoe:
When you are healthy, looking for the right shoe is hard enough. When you are injured, looking for the right shoe is ten times as hard. Having appropriate running shoes for you is arguably the most important thing you need for the sport of running.
So why does shoe choice matter?
It’s important to determine whether you need a different shoe or even shoe size after any injury. Broken bones can alter your gait or form. You might need a different shoe altogether. While working in run specialty, I’ve fit customers whose foot has swollen an entire size or whose form has completely changed. If you’ve had an issue in your foot that has kept you sidelined, it’s important to get your gait looked at again.
Don’t be afraid to get fitted again for a new shoe because shoes are going to play a huge role in you coming back stronger from a running injury.
Coming back stronger from a running injury doesn’t happen overnight. It takes consistent weeks and not pushing the pace. The rest and recovery will help you PR in future races; it just takes time.
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Questions for you:
What have you learned from being injured (or hopefully, you’ve just never had a running injury)?
How do you avoid comparing yourself to others (in anything)?