One of the most requested posts is about my history with injuries.
I haven’t always stayed injury free, and I have several injuries throughout the years. Before recently, my blog could have alternative names such as fueledbyInjuries or InjuriesNlolz.
Many of my injuries were because I overtrained or ran easy runs too fast.
Over time, I’ve learned that you can’t outrun an injury. Life doesn’t work like that. If you are worried, rest. Resting a few days often saves you from resting a few weeks, months, or even years. You don’t gain fitness in a day and you definitely don’t lose it either.
When I first started running in 2010, I had many years of haphazard running. It took a lot of trial and error and learning from experience to determine what works best for me. As with anything, I learn best when I do something and make mistakes along the way.
You can read my full running story here (or in one of the headings above).
In summary, I began running in July 2010. I ran off and on and was still a member of on my collegiate swim team. Swim season lasted from September until late February, so there was no running during that time. During the off-season, we were allowed to work out as we pleased, so eventually, I picked up running.
Here is my History with Injuries:
My first serious running injury:
Tibial Stress Fracture (July 2011-September 2011)
How it happened:
I ran every day for an hour on the treadmill. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to train fast every single day. I thought to race faster you must train faster. So every day I made the goal to beat the previous day’s mileage for 1 hour. I never ran for more than an hour, but I ran seven days a week. I was running between 7-7:15 pace for an hour.
Ultimately I was far more exhausted from running 50 miles then I am now. My body broke at a road race on my 21st birthday. Midway through a run-swim-run race, my body broke, My tibia fractured and I was done.
I learned more about myself than any other injury. To be honest, I needed that injury to realize that training was idiotic and not right. My tibial stress fracture shaped my training to include a lot more easy miles. I don’t time my easy runs anymore, and I don’t GAF whether the pace is 10 minutes or 8 minutes.
Cyst: August 2012-October 2012:
How it happened:
During September 2012, I developed a cyst in the arch of my foot. The doctors still don’t know exactly how it formed it could have developed anywhere in my body (I’m so thankful it wasn’t my brain).
They don’t believe it was running related, but it prevented me from running. I was able to run with minimal pain until the cyst became large enough to rip the muscle from my bone. After tearing the muscle off my metatarsal, it halted running completely.
After recovering for two months and a shot to reduce the swelling, I came back and ran my fastest college cross country race.
Fractured Elbow (August 2013):
How it happened:
While cooling down at a road race in August 2013, I was hit by a cyclist. I was knocked to the ground, and it fractured my elbow. I was devastated, but after a week, I was able to run slowly.
I decreased mileage, but it ended up being the most nonserious elbow fracture I could have. At the time, the decline in mileage was terrifying because I was training for my first marathon, NYCM.
It taught me; you have to roll with the punches. A few days of rest does not impact fitness.
Second Metatarsal Fracture (August 2014)
How it happened:
Fast forward to moving to Texas and then New Jersey. In August of 2014, I got a second metatarsal fracture. In hindsight, I believe I upped my mileage too quickly. Even though I was running easy, I think my mileage went up too fast. At the time, I was training for my second marathon, Wineglass. I healed by race day, but it would have been dumb to run a marathon on a newly recovered stress fracture. To be honest, I don’t think my heart was ready to race another marathon, and it was a good out.
Bum Butt (February 2015-March 2015)
How it happened:
I tweaked something running my second marathon and kept running. Around mile 18, my butt started to throb. By the end of the marathon, my whole left side was in pain. Should I have finished the race? Probably not…Did I PR? Yes…
I didn’t heal as fast as I should have because I continued to run after the marathon. I took two weeks off (which helped) but then I ran too hard too fast. Looking back, I made good progress and then threw it all away running again. This is something I’m 100% kicking myself for…even though I had an excellent time at Shamrock 2015. If I had taken a month off, I wouldn’t have had two months to deal with the issues.
Ankle Fracture June 2016:
How it Happened:
This was the only injury I’m not entirely sure what I did. Did I tweak my ankle running on trails? Did I run too much? I don’t know. In June of 2016, something felt off. I couldn’t pinpoint it, and it almost felt like plantar fasciitis on the outside of my foot. An X-ray confirmed I had a minor fracture. The fracture healed with time off but it worried something else was not right. Test results found my calcium, vitamin D, and blood levels were fine.
One thing my ankle fracture taught me was I liked hiking. After healing, I spent a good portion of the summer hiking and enjoying the outdoors that way.
There are many times I look back at my training and think: If I had taken a few more days off, or if I had realized that ache was a minor bone pain….but each is a lesson to move on. I have learned that running in pain isn’t worth it to me.
You cannot outrun injury, and it will catch up to you.
I tell any runner, new or old; there is no shame in rest and easy days. I am to the point in life and running that it will never be my sole purpose in life. Resting and staying healthy is more important to me than running every day.
Question for you: Have you had a running injury before?
“You can’t outrun injury…” So true! I tried with shin splints last summer and ended up not being able to run at all for about 3 weeks (and my running partner had a hip impingement around the same time). I think it was largely driven by adding too much mileage too quickly. We started 2 long runs per weekend and because we were training for 2 different goals—a trail 50K and a road marathon PR—both kept scaling up. Injuries definitely changed how I’m approaching goals this year!
That’s smart and I can’t wait to see how 2019 goes for you!
I’m super lucky that I haven’t had to deal with a lot of injuries. Also, my personal tendency is to go full force into rest and recovery when I do have an injury which I think helps me to just be less unhappy about it.
That’s awesome to hear you haven’t dealt with many injuries though! Full force rest is not a bad thing.
You’ve worked through so many injuries! Good reminder that rest is important!
I have a cyst at the angle of Gissane right now – but I’m trying to outrun it, lol. There’s nothing to be done about this one, and I think sometimes they spontaneously resolve. And besides that, I have had every other injury known to man.
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