So You’re Injured…Now What?

As most people know, I spent the last few months injured and recovering from a fractured ankle.  While it wasn’t the end of the world, it definitely put a damper on my spring, summer and even fall plans.

I recently talked about “how to come back from an injury” but I haven’t talked much about to do while injured or what not to do…

Injured from running

Thinking out loud, Injuries are tough because they take a toll on you mentally and physically.

Most runners can relate to this mindset: As soon as you get injured, your motivation to workout stops.  If you can’t run, why trying to do anything else?

You spend a few weeks moping around, and no one understands your pain.  I’ve been there emotionally and spent days and weeks, just feeling sorry for myself.  I’ve also been on the opposite end of the spectrum of maybe cross training too much.  What is the balance?  

I’m not recommending to cross train 2 hours a day or even workout every single day.  It’s important, however, to stay motivated and look at the big picture.  I’ve said this multiple times, but fitness is a collection of workouts.  It’s not one day, week or month but what you consistently do.

So while you might not be running this month, you will get back to running again.

Before this particular injury, I had PRed in everything from the 5k to the half marathon.  I spent a year building a base and fitness.  I saw results that I had been dreaming of for years.

When I was diagnosed with a serious injury, I didn’t know where to turn.  I knew I didn’t want to let my fitness go to waste, but I also knew I didn’t want to overdo it with cross training.

During this particular injury, I took the time to look at the big picture and do the smaller things to keep me healthy.

Here are a few tips for maintaining some (not all) fitness when injured:

Rest is Best:
But you shouldn’t sit on your couch for two months.  You should follow your doctor’s orders.  If you’re in a boot, you shouldn’t take it off to sneak in workouts.  If you push yourself with cross training, it’s going to make the injury worse.  Since there is no Elliptical Olympics, it’s not beneficial to spend mindless hours crosstraining.

Make a Plan:
If you don’t have a recovery timeline and plan, then it will take a lot longer to recover.  Work with your doctor, PT and any specialists you see to create a plan.

One of the most important issues to address is the why of the injury:

  • Be honest to yourself of why did you get the running injury.
  • Are you overtraining? Malnourished?
  • Is your gait or form creating injuries?
  • There are thousands of different answers to your injury and it’s important, to be honest with yourself and your doctor.  Otherwise, it will reoccur!

So what did I learn during my two months of recovery?

I’m injury prone because of my gait and form.  Since I run so far on my toes, I put a lot of pressure on my metatarsals.  This means I’m more susceptible to fractures in my feet and bone issues versus muscle issues.  Working with professionals is one way to fix this, but it will take time.

Questions for you:
How do you “deal” with injuries?
What was your last running or workout injury?