Getting Back to Running After Injury

I’m running again and it’s fantastic… except I’ve got a bit of extra baggage along for the ride now. The metaphorical kind, of course. Unless you count the kegs I’ve stacked on in the meantime.

Have you ever started back at the very beginning of something that you’d conquered before? Compared yourself now to how you were then? Realised that you have a LONG road ahead of you?

To cut a long story short, if you’re just joining the crew – I got injured while training for the San Francisco Marathon, was shot full of cortisone, told that surgery was my best option for getting back to running, and visited a questionable physical therapist.

I’ll leave the road to recovery story for another day but suffice to say, for the past month or so, I’ve been running. Just not with exactly the same careless attitude I had before.

I used to combat every mid-workout niggle and twinge with a good pinch of skepticism. Because I am a whinger (whiner for the Americans out there) at heart, and leaping to the worst possible conclusion seems to be a hereditary thing in my family. So to counteract that impulse, I just tell myself it’s nothing and it’ll go away. Usually it does.

Except now I’m running after injury. Or on a proper injury anyway. A busted hip to be vaguely precise and I have the sneaking suspicion that the other one’s not too far behind. Did I mention hypochondria is also one of my things?

I’m scared that the cortisone will wear off and I’ll realise that the only thing that’s held me together out on the road were the steroids and anti-inflammatories.

Operation Move runs the Learn To Run course that I’ve done previously and am doing right now! It’s great.

So each week I look at the awesome Learn to Run plan that my Operation Move* coach Zoey put together and I get excited, because every week there’s progress and I’m running further and more steadily.

But as the speed and hill sessions get closer the fear sets in. They have always been my two most challenging sessions to deal with each week but now it’s different. It takes me much longer to recover from a run. I end up with back pain for two days afterwards and my left hip isn’t happy either. I find myself being more worried than excited about getting out there these days, which isn’t a nice feeling.

Basically I’m scared that the full-on pain will set back in, I’ll have to stop running again and get surgery for real. So tell me, have you come back from a fairly painful injury? Did you have “the fear”? How did you deal with it?

I am a 2016 Operation Move Ambassador. But even if I wasn’t I’d be telling you all about them anyway. I first started running with Operation Move with basically no fitness background at all, and a history of writing sick notes to get out of sports at school. Operation Move gives you a non-judgement support group that keeps you on track and motivated and a schedule that you fit into your life. Do yourself a favour and check them out.

Linking up with Denyse Whelan for Life This Week and The Fit Foodie Mama for Wild Workout Wednesday.

24 thoughts on “Getting Back to Running After Injury

  1. You are so not a fraidy cat – if you were you wouldn't be running at all. The fear is understandable though. I would say make sure you take it easier than you normally would for the challenging sessions, at least at first to see how it goes. Also Coach Zoey will modify your program for you if you want – you probably already know that but thought I'd mention it. I find if I am having that worried feeling about getting out there it can help to just for for a run or two that isn't to the plan but just however I want to go. It can bring the joy back in to it when you aren't thinking about anything other than being out there.

  2. Heh, yeah maybe. But it's a pretty convenient excuse to not go for a run in the mornings, don't you think? Even though I get up at 5am anyway. I'm thinking about just not doing the challenging sessions for a while, but I know that'd make me feel like I was copping out. I'm going camping this weekend though and packing my gear for a sneaky trail run. Maybe that'll help!

  3. Overcoming your fears which are based on some truth & some "maybe truths" is a real challenge & this sounds like what you've been doing. And listening to your body & your coach keeps you within the parameters of good mental & physical health! Woot!

  4. Ahhh yes. I don't have an injury but I have a condition that week flare up now and again and kick me out of the game. I understand the frustration of starting again and the worrying about every niggle. In short, I have no idea how to manage it but I hear you. And I'm so thrilled to see you out there again.

  5. But I took off all of the commenting restrictions. Seriously, I hate technology sometimes. I'm like a granny trying to work out the remote.
    Ugh yours sucks, especially because you don't know when it's going to appear and give you a bit of what for. I'm glad it's not just me being silly though. It's always good to know that you're not the only one like that. If you know what I mean.

  6. I think you're doing a great thing getting back into running – particularly after an injury.

    I put on a lot of weight over the past 4 or so years (40kg) and so got to the point that walking was even challenging but am working on that now. I don't think I'll be 'running' any time soon, but I'd definitely like to be fitter and healthier!

  7. Like Leanne said – I'm in awe of anyone who runs too. I tried to be a runner but I think I left it till I was a bit too old. It made my hips hurt. IT was too jarring, and my lung capacity could not cope. I'm a brisk walker instead. All the very best to you for your recovery and getting back to doing what you love! 🙂

  8. Thanks Deborah, it's all baby steps but it's making me feel so happy to be getting out there, I can't even say.

    And it doesn't matter what you're doing, as long as you enjoy getting out there and get a sense of accomplishment from it! Walking, yoga, running, whatever! Good on you for getting out there 🙂

  9. I got injured in 2014 and had to take 3 months off running, so when I started again, I was definitely starting from square 1. It was hard, and I got really nervous any time I felt a little twinge of pain. All you can do is listen to your body. If something feels off, stop! It's not worth getting injured again. Eventually, you'll be able to get out of your head and build your strength and endurance back up!

  10. I've had 3 injuries in the past 2 years. One stress fracture, one full fracture, and one yet-to-be-diagnosed knee injury. So frustrating! And I have definitely had "the fear." Bad enough to ALMOST keep me from running. Or jumping. Well, actually, I didn't jump for a long time after the 2nd fracture. But, as for the running, I just took it slow. REAL slow. Played it by feel. Really listened to my body (um, minor hypochondriac over here too) and learned how to understand what was real and what was my imagination. You'll get back out there. Your body will trump your head and you'll be fine. Go get em!

  11. Phew, I love hearing from other minor hypochondriacs Jennifer. It makes me feel a little less strange. You've been through the wars though – fingers crossed that your knee injury isn't anything too serious!
    I guess the big thing is that my love of running has to outweigh the fear…which it probably does. Thanks for the encouragement!

  12. Being injured like that is always scary. I think it's normal to be cautious and to have the fears you do but I am sure if you rest and take care of yourself, you'll be back to running without fear in no time!

  13. I did not have an injury but I stopped running and spent more time doing weights in the gym and the extra 5-10kgs I gained made running a whole lot slower than before. The last few months I’ve been slowly getting back to running faster and farther but as I get older it looks less likely I’ll get back to where I was!

    1. All the maths around that is too much for me to think about. But yeah, the do say that you have to choose between either being fast or bulking up. Which is fine if you like distances I suppose. I’m not a fast runner by any means and I doubt I’ll ever get back to how fast I was before the injury, but it’s nice to have something to aim for.

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