Montage of sunrises during Angela’s morning runs
Today’s post will feature one example of an exercise enthusiast who has had to deal with an injury. My close friend Angela was in the middle of training for her first marathon and was sidelined by an unrelated foot injury (specifically, while playing recreational softball). Injuries are common among runners, so I wanted to share Angela’s situation and positive perspective on injury, as her patience has enabled her to heal appropriately and eventually sign up for another marathon. Enjoy!
Question: You were playing softball when the injury occurred. What happened?
Answer: A collision at first base and not a typical softball injury, but accidents happen! I fractured the distal end of my fourth metatarsal, just about where the toes meet the footbones.
Question: What was your post-injury rehab/recovery program like?
Answer: It was a minor fracture and I was in the boot about 6 weeks. I wasn’t given a rehab plan except to wear the boot all day every day for 6 weeks. I had little pain after the first few days so it was very tempting to do too much or not wear it – however I listened because I knew the last thing I wanted was a problem with my foot not healing correctly. I was told to use pain as an indicator for how much I should/shouldn’t do. Pushing it was not going to help me reach any goals so I might as well be patient.
Question: After the injury happened and you were told that you couldn’t run for a couple of months, how did this affect you emotionally? How did you deal with the news?
Answer: At first I was really upset because I had worked hard and felt like I had committed a lot of early mornings to fit in my training before the news. I didn’t want to be forced to quit. Exercising also keeps my stress level down and was bummed out from an all-around health standpoint. After the first few weeks though I did realize maybe I was trying to fit too much in at a busy time. I had several weddings I was in with weekends away from home and I was stressing about when I would be able to fit my longer runs in with these commitments.
Question: Any tips/tricks for other athletes who are facing an injury in terms of staying optimistic? Any tips on staying fit while unable to exercise?
Answer: I didn’t do a very good job at exercising during my 6 weeks in the boot. I probably could have done some upper body work or maybe some rowing, but I didn’t have a regular gym membership at the time and I didn’t feel very motivated. Ultimately I think the break was good for me. I accomplished a lot of other things on my ‘to do’ list – decorating my house, cooking new recipes, and slowing down a little. It wasn’t such a bad thing to be forced to focus on other things in life for a while.
Question: You are now running again, slowly but surely increasing the miles. What are your running goals?
Answer: It took me about another month to get back into running regularly. After completely stopping I also wanted to ease back into it as it felt right, not rush right in just because I was given the ‘OK’. I’ve been slowly increasing my miles and I’ve also been doing some heart rate training to increase my aerobic fitness – based on the MAF method.
During my downtime I reevaluated how I was training before and decided I was probably running my easy runs too fast – a common mistake from what I understand. Right now my goals are to increase my mileage and do almost all my running at a very easy slow pace. Slowing down so much is challenging and I have to have a different mindset but so far I am enjoying it. I plan to run through the winter and hope to run my first marathon in May. I also incorporating yoga and light strength training into my routine, as I generally feel better with more variety.
Being injured was frustrating but I am thankful it was minor and that I am healthy enough to be able to go out everyday and exercise now. Not everyone has this freedom and regardless of my goals I try to remember that, especially when things get tough!
Readers, have you ever been set back by an injury? If so, how did you handle being sidelined from running/exercise?
Anyone have any holiday/festive plans this week? My neighborhood in Boston is having a holiday stroll tomorrow night- looking forward to meeting my girls and checking it out! #winenight