(My first “runfie” since returning to running after two months off)
Nearly eight weeks ago, I was told that I couldn’t run anymore due to a hip injury. I vented on this blog about losing out on marathon entry fees and walked you through the crazy emotional roller coaster I dealt with. Today, however, I’m excited to write that I’m running again.
I have a long road ahead of me. Taking nearly two months off of running from this injury put me back to square zero. It’s going to take a long time to get back to 60-mile weeks. And I don’t plan on putting any marathons in the queue anytime soon. But with all that said, having the opportunity to start all over isn’t actually all that bad.
The bad was when I couldn’t run. The bad was when I just wanted to give up on exercise all together. The bad was when I was constantly on verge of tears from the time I woke up to the time I fell asleep. The bad is now finally over. And now that I got through the bad, I can finally enjoy the good again.
In my 20 years of running, I’ve never actually started from scratch like this before. I will be given a unique opportunity to re-envision my running all together. I will set new goals and take a different approach to this sport.
Below are some guidelines I’ll follow along the way:
Just because I can run again, doesn’t mean I can run every single day and pick back up from where I left off. The first few runs were a walk/run combination. The next few runs were just trying to run without walking. Right now I’ve reached an every other day schedule and will work up to back-to-back days of running further down the road. Most importantly, I’ll follow the rule of thumb that I learned in my RRCA coaching certification: the 10-percent rule. In a nutshell, the rule is to NOT increase mileage more than 10 percent every week. That means I’ve got a long road ahead of me, but I know the patience will be key in avoiding injury again.
Find a New Routine
Prior to getting injured, I ran six days a week. Some strengthening exercises. Little stretching. And ZERO cross-training. But now I’ve returned to running with a new routine: Swimming. Biking. Arms and back workouts. Yoga. All of these regiments will continue to find a place in my new exercise routine as I continue to build my mileage gradually. I’ve learned from this injury that I can’t pound my body running six days a week, so I really don’t have any choice other than to find a new routine that will keep working different muscles and will make me a stronger and healthier runner.
Start (& Keep) Good Habits
One good choice leads to another. And same goes with bad choices. That’s why starting and sticking to good habits, like stretching and foam rolling, are crucial for me in these first few weeks. The more I keep practicing good habits, the more I won’t be tempted to skip those good habits down the road. Part of the reason I was injured was because some good habits faded away in my training. Another reason I got injured, according to my doctor, was my form. As I continue to build back up to decent mileage again, I will also be practicing good form every step along the way.
Readjust Goals, Not Giving Them Up
Readjusting goals shouldn’t be seen as throwing them away all together. Chicago may be put on hold for another year or so but I’ve got numerous short-term goals that I’m going to conquer as long as I stay healthy. And that’s my main goal. I want to enjoy the good from here on out. In the meantime, as I mentioned in my last post, biking and swimming will be a priority to prepare myself for an ironman in a few years. Until 2016, triathlons will be added to the short-term goals!
My Injury Prevention Survival Kit
These are the items that got me through my injury. But these items will also be essential in preventing injuries.
Foam Roller: I had no idea how to use a foam roller until my physical therapist showed me how but I’m so grateful she did. This affordable item may be the solution to all your aches and pains. They work out the kinks in ways you didn’t know were even possible!
Thera-bands: Putting on some resistance to strengthening exercises makes them harder, essentially making you stronger. My go-to exercises I use them for are clam shells and sidesteps. Note: the different colors represent different levels of resistance. Purchase each color mindfully.
Yoga Band: There are dozens of stretches you can do with a yoga band. Lots of these stretches are actually safer and more effective when using the band.
Yoga Mat: I use my mat nearly every single day. No, I don’t practice yoga every day. With hardwood floors in my apartment, it’s been useful when stretching and completing exercises where I’m laying on my back. Feel free to splurge on one you love. Who knows, that may give you a reason to use it more often.
Goggles/Bathing Suit: As I mentioned earlier in my post, swimming will be in my training to help me prepare for future triathlons and the Ironman down the road. In addition, swimming is also an excellent cardio activity that doesn’t require any pounding on the legs! If you’re not a swimmer, purchase a buoyancy belt and go for a pool-run. If you’re new to pool running, check out my Active Life DC article on how to get started.
How have you dealt with coming back from an injury? Are there any other items you’d add to either of these lists?