Shortly after I posted my last training update, I had an old running injury flare up on me during my long run over a week ago. I was scheduled for 27KM, but “only” managed 25.30KM because my left ankle was nagging at me. Then, of course, I made the silly mistake to attempt a short run the next day. This run was supposed to be an easy 60 minute recovery run, so I was going to attempt 45 minutes, but I only made it to 36 mins when my ankle started to hurt enough that I was almost limping. I’m not exactly sure what the issue with my left ankle is, but there’s definitely a combination of bad shoes (another story for another day) and exhaustion.
After that short run last Monday, it took a bit of deliberation – and almost some tears – for me to decide to take a few days off running to give my ankle some recovery time. I will say that it was mentally challenging to take this time off because I worry a lot about losing fitness. It also was difficult to see pics of others running & racing, so I was experiencing some runner envy for sure!
Through those 5 days off running, I learned a couple things…
– It is OK to take a few days off to recover… even during peak weeks of training. (Occasionally this is almost necessary.)
– It is OK to ask for advice/support from other runners & athletes who have been in this situation before.
– Sometimes rest actually makes you mentally/physically stronger.
– Sometimes you just have to adjust your goals depending on what’s going on in your life during training. (Trying to have some compassion for myself here, which is easier said than done.)
– You’re still a runner even if you take some time off. (Duh! No kidding.)
So, after all the stressing and bringing myself close to tears, it turns out that 5 days off from running (I still cycled) was probably very helpful. I managed to get myself out yesterday for a long run (18KM) and I felt good for the whole run! I’m pretty pleased with this and definitely ready to get back into training. Only 5 weeks ago, so it’s go time!
Do you find it hard to take time off running/fitness/etc when injured? How do you handle the mental game?