So…I”m still benched on the running front. So many good things have been happening – I’ve been able to move my calf dynamically, the swelling’s calmed down, and the deep reef cut on the back of my calf is finally beginning to ebb. I even tackeld some minor leg day at the gym, although my calf couldn’t handle the party. For some reason, doing endless sets of leg presses & squats seemed like a brilliant solution. Until now, when climbing a flight of stairs feels more like ascending Mount Everest.
Being injured sucks in general. For runners, it feels like am mini mid-life crisis. What will I do without running? My progress is totally shot! So much for hitting my goal pace last week…
It’s a sad, miserable place. However, I am finally in the clear to run at the end of this week! Woohoo! I’m finally starting to feel like myself again.
It’s not that I don’t know who I am without running; it’s that I run for a reason. It makes me calm, happy, and feel like a total badass. It’s my own form of therapy, self-medication, whatever you’d like to call it. I’m not lost without it, but I’m happier with it in my life. On a daily basis.
While I’m stoked it’s almost over, I have learned a few things from my time on the bench:
1. Think positive.
It’s not the end of the world, although it might feel like it at first. It’s so important to be thankful that your injury wasn’t any worse than it is; gratefulness always helps to put a positive spin on things. Plus, positive vibes help keep your perspective in check so that you can figure out other ways to stay fit, be motivated to eat healthfully, and recognize when you are truly ready to get back on your game. In short: optimism helps keep you fit while you’re recovering.
2. Be realistic.
The easiest way to prolong an injury is to go too hard, too soon. I made this mistake when I went for a slow two-miler once my ankle stopped throbbing “as much.” The result? A full week of no running, swimming, or cycling, as well as a grossly swollen leg. Make sure you’re fully ready to get back into your groove, and don’t push it! Save your beast mode mentality for a few weeks down the road.
3. Listen to your body.
This kinda goes hand-in-hand with the last one, but it’s worth mentioning again: don’t be an idiot. Listen to your body. Duh.
4. Find clever ways to keep fit.
Even if you can’t indulge in your fitness drug of choice, you can explore other options to break a sweat. My legs were pretty much off-limits, so I dragged myself to the gym as much as possible to work on my arms, shoulders, abs & back. I also threw in some upper-body yoga; it’s not what I wanted to do, but at least it’s something. I got my heart rate up, my competitive juices flowing, and it helped me think positive about when I’m back on the trails.
I can’t stress this enough – do everything you can to stay limber! Even if you can’t work out, gentle stretching once or twice a day will help your muscles loosen up and stay limber for the post-recovery stress. When you’re active, your muscles are constantly getting worked. When you’re suddenly bed or couch-ridden, they get nada. Stretch em’ out, folks.