Thursday, June 16, 2016

Respect the Recovery



If there's one thing runners LOVE to do, it's run (and most of us like to run often).

If there's a second thing runners love to do, it's ignore injuries.


It's not that we're necessarily in denial, but we certainly do like to test the waters. (It's not an injury, it's just an issue I've been having. I bet it'll feel better after I do a few miles and "loosen it up." This stupid hilly route ALWAYS makes me hurt.) Yadda Yadda Yadda. Excuses aplenty.


It's taken me quite awhile (like, 11+ years of lacing up) to learn when to run and when to sit it out . Rest and recovery are not just  necessary evils, they are a crucial part of the plan. None of us are robots, and all of our bodies will break down if we don't take it easy once in awhile.


So, what's to enjoy about the (often times dreaded) R and R?
Here's my top 5: 

*Treat it as a mini vacation
 Give yourself a pedicure (and be thankful the nail polish will actually stay intact for more than a few days).



Try to enjoy some couch time (with a running magazine close by...to keep you entertained).


*Take time to languish in all of your accomplishments
You've probably had a lot of great races and training runs (some of which may be responsible for your current state of injury). Pat yourself on the back for having the commitment to train even when it didn't come easy. Be thankful for all of the finish lines you've crossed. I have said it more than once, "Running is a gift." I'm thankful and incredibly blessed to be a runner.


*Have faith that in doing less of what you love, you'll be able to do it longer
How's that for irony? Sometimes, the things we love not only bring us the most satisfaction, but also can lead to heartache. This is true not only in life and love, but especially true with running.


I have often wondered if each of us are given an XX number of miles that we'll be able to run in a lifetime. If we speed through them too fast, they'll be gone forever. If we over-indulge (or in runners' terms: over-train), we may use up our allotment much sooner than someone who runs fewer miles or less often. WHO knows? I'm not willing to make that gamble. I choose to err on the side of caution. I'd rather be side-lined by choice than due to injury.

*This is a great opportunity to focus on cross-training (which your body needs anyways)
If you're forced to stay off your feet, there are plenty of other things to do that will help maintain your fitness. My favorite happens to be strength-training. I do not consider myself a body-builder (nor do I aspire to be one), but I have come to appreciate being "overall fit" and not "just a runner." Some other favorite options are planking (core work), yoga (balance, strength, flexibility) and cycling (legs and cardio).


*Use the down-time to analyze (as objectively as possible) what may have lead to the injury, and map out a plan to avoid it happening in the future
This may be a good time to consult with a personal trainer, sports medicine doctor, or a physical therapist. An objective professional will be able to access your situation, and recommend a regimen either for rehabilitation or future training. And, for crying out loud, please do as they tell you.


Some questions to ask yourself:
Is it a recurring injury? (If so, when was the last time it happened?)
Were you in the midst of a challenging training cycle, or is it a random "bad luck" incident (twisted/sprained ankle, for example)?
Is it a result of over-training?
Or, conversely, were you under-trained for a particularly challenging endurance event?



My recent "injury" (which, at the moment, seems more like "just an issue") feels like it's on the way out (you can read more about it HERE). I felt it coming on a week or so before it fully erupted, so I was able to get a head start on treating it. There's been a lot of icing, compression, massaging, and stretching...several times each day. I've experimented with different taping techniques as well.



And guess what? After almost two weeks of minimal mileage (before, during, and after back-to-back half marathons), the wonky heel is feeling great. It's still a little stiff, but my gimpy walk is MIA. And, on Wednesday, I did a 2-miler on an especially hot and humid summer evening, and all went well.

So, onward!! I'm going to ease back into my mileage plan (did you know I have an Ultra happening in four weeks?). It's a 12-hour endurance run, and it's in my best interest to adjust my goals for the event. I wasn't planning on running fast anyways, but there will definitely be a lot more walking involved. This event also has a 6-hour option (which I did last year...recap HERE), depending on how well my heel (as well as my entire foot) holds up, I may consider that as a last resort. I have options aplenty, and quite a bit of time remaining for continued recovery. Stay tuned, this ain't over yet.



How do you respond when an injury hits you? Do you hit the couch, or press onward?

I'm linking up with the ladies from the DC Trifecta for the Friday Five. A big Thank You to Mar from Mar on the Run, Courtney from Eat Pray Run, DC, and Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?!






19 comments:

  1. Luckily I have not been injured in quite some time. But not being able to run, I'm sure is hard not to do when you are used to it. I try to balance it with cross training. I have been running regularly and my feet are in dire need of a pedi.

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    1. I have had more "issues" than injuries, but there have been a few times when I DNS'd a race and skipped a few scheduled runs. I'm always amazed what a difference it makes in how I perform after a brief sabbatical....I think experienced runners (who have been running for several years) will have a strong enough base that a little time off shouldn't affect their fitness.

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  2. Agree 100% on the doing less so you can do it for longer. Which is why I don't push my speeds or mileage too much because I know that is what sets off my injuries. My pesky leg pain is on the mend and I just posted about it ! Luckily because I have a race Sunday and next Saturday, that I am going to do for fun. Glad your heel is better. This was a reminder to foam roll. I have been really focused on the plan and push up challenge, which makes me lose focus on other things, like foam rolling.
    Have a great weekend.

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    1. I don't think I "wimp out" of stuff, but instead I try to do the smart thing. Focusing on the big picture is what keeps me motivated when I'm sitting on the sidelines (when I'd rather be toeing the start line).

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  3. I've never thought about whether or not we only have the gift of a certain amount of miles; interesting! I love your attitude towards running & recovery & cross training . . . all so important. I love to swim & really wish I could do it yr round!

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    1. I wish I had more of an interest in swimming....UGH. I just do not like the water "in my face" thing (and those unattractive caps are not doing anyone justice...just saying). Excuses aplenty ;-)

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  4. Great post! I keep thinking my PF is on it's way out but it keeps rearing it's ugly head. Amazing that I've been battling this for over 6 months.

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    1. I feel bad for you, Wendy! My episode last year (and the brief one --so far-- this year) was pretty mild in retrospect. But, I was a paranoid freak & was worried I'd (almost) never run again, so I really scaled things back (maybe more than I probably needed to).

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  5. It has taken me years to realize the importance of rest and respecting that my body needs it. No one wants to sit out on the sidelines but better to be out for a day or two than a month.

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    1. I agree...I'd gladly take a couple days off than be side-lined for a month.

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  6. You make so many great points, Kim! Having to back off running sucks but as they say: when a door closes, a new window opens...or something like that. Glad you are focusing on what you CAN do. And yay for your foot feeling better and all the best easing back in! xo

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    1. Thanks, Marcia ;-) I'm feeling optimistic..... #fingerscrossed

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  7. yes!!! ignoring injuries just make them worse!!! have a great weekend.

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    1. Injuries are not welcome in a runner's world...but they do serve a purpose (somewhat LOL)

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  8. i definitely don't ignore injuries. If I feel the slightest twinge i shut it down for a day or two making sure it's nothing serious. But I'm a gym rat so even though I like to run I love other fitness activities. I never feel I'm missing out on fitness in any case. Glad your foot is feeling better!

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    1. I agree...it's important to have other fitness outlets. I know so many runners who are just devastated when they get injured...because they have nothing else (and usually because they've been running too much)

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  9. Great list to focus on. Important to not ignore them and give your body the rest it needs when it does. I think it often comes down to runners tend to error on the side of "just a little sore" instead of "maybe an actual injury".

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    1. Your "just a little sore" comment is spot-on!

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  10. I am glad you are on the upswing with your injury!! Keep listening to what your body is telling you!

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