A year ago, I was injured with a calcaneus stress fracture. I keep having those "on this day app memories" pop up. All of these memories inspired me for this newsletter.
Injury is tough.
Coming back from injury is tough.
The emotional component of injury is tough.
I would argue the emotional side of injury can be tougher than the physical part.
It's no secret I've been injured several times throughout my 11-year journey with running. I've had stress fractures, pulled muscles take me out of a marathon the week before, and minor injuries that I squashed in a week or two.
You know the one issue I haven’t had? Knock on wood, is knee issues. Anyway,
No matter the injury, they all stink.
Outside of physical pain, running injuries also have emotional pain. When you suddenly have to stop running, you become aware of how big of a role running plays in your life. It might be your outlet. Without it, you might feel unhappy, frustrated, or anxious. It's ok to feel that. We all have at some point!
One thing running injuries have taught me is that you should have more than one outlet or hobby. If a hobby is suddenly taken away from you, of course, you'll become sad! By having a few hobbies and things that bring you joy, you can lean on another one. Just don’t forget, you don’t (and shouldn’t be) all in on everything all of the time.
How to Get Through the Emotional Pain of a Running Injury:
First, Try Not to Adopt a Woe is Me Attitude:
Staying positive is hard (for anyone). I didn't say it would be easy. Feeling sorry for yourself won't get you anywhere. Yes, you should feel your emotions, but you shouldn't let them control you or allow them to trickle into your relationships with others. All of this is easier said than done.
If you find your injury is affecting other parts of your life and relationships, it might be time to seek help from a therapist or professional. Our family and friends are great, but they shouldn't be your sounding board, and anyone can benefit from the help of a licensed therapist. Yes, even you.
Find Something You Can Do:
Some injuries, you can't do much of anything (activity-wise). Last year when I had a calcaneus stress fracture, the gyms were closed. I needed to stay off my foot to allow it to heal. Normally I probably would have swum, but I didn't have that option. Some injuries I go nuts with cross-training. Other injuries I enjoy the complete break from activity.
I've written about various cross-training activities, including non-running workout ideas as well as swimming for runners. The key is finding something you enjoy that isn't causing you to injure yourself further. Be smart, listen to your doctor, and don’t forget there is a reason you got injured.
That being said, you don't need to find an activity that is working out. During the first few months of the pandemic, I painted...a lot. I bought a dozen canvas and painted random things. I'm not an artist, but I found it enjoyable to get off the computer and away from the internet. Do something that you find enjoyable. In time usually spend running, I painted. Painting at 7 am? Sure, why not. It gave me something to fill my running time with.
When I was able to add strength training, I did. Then followed by walking, and finally running.
Keep Your Routine:
Even if you can't work out or run, keep your routine. Feeling "normal" is one of the keys to staying emotionally healthy when you're injured. Wake up at your regular time. Do your regular life things except for running. This is why I painted during my regular running time.
I promise this will make you feel better.
Okay, I don't even know why I include this because patience is not a virtue I have. Without a doubt, every single injury I’ve asked myself: will I ever heal? (Usually in a more dramatic sense).
Staying patient is one of the best ways you can feel better. Sometimes it feels like a running injury will "never heal," but remember, it will, and things do get better. As cliche as it is, things do get better.
Unfollow and Mute People or Things on Social Media:
Not everything is right for you at all times. If following certain people makes you unhappy, take a break. It's ok to take a break from social media or mute people that aren't bringing you joy. At the end of the day, you must do what's best for your emotional health.
Running injuries eventually get better. While staying positive is not always easy, it can help you get through the pain of an injury.
What is Interesting Me This Week?
With anti-Asian violence rising, it’s past time for Lululemon to change its name. This is something I had no idea about.
As always, stay healthy and safe. Thank you to everyone who reads, shares, and subscribes.
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