Injury Advice from Shut Up + Run


I can’t take any credit for this advice but boy do I need it!! 

Thanks to Beth at the Shut Up + Run blog. (I hope she doesn’t mind the re-posting! I highly recommend her entertaining blog, too.)

10 Ways To Survive Your Injury Without Being a B*tch

If you’ve been running long enough, you’ve been there. It’s the place, much like the porta potty, that no one likes to visit, but everyone eventually has to go. Injury-land.

The only good thing about injuries is that they are {knock on wood} temporary. Even if you are like this guy and you break about every bone in your body and have to spend months upon months recovering, there is usually a very dim light at the end of the tunnel. The light of running, training and racing. It waits for you. I promise.

However, before we can bask in the light, we need to wade through the darkness. How do we navigate through our injury without killing our families, destroying our friendships and resorting to sitting in bed with a super-sized bag of nacho cheese Doritos for days on end?

  1. Get perspective – Yes, you are injured. No, the world is not ending (that isn’t until December 2012, so you can wallow then). You became injured because you had the luxury of doing something you loved to do: running. Injury is to running as weight gain is to eating Paula Deen’s cooking . It simply goes with the territory. Go ahead, have your pity party, but then get behind yourself and move on. As Stephen King says, “Get busy living or get busy dying.” (Trying, trying except my injury was an accident not a result of running…)
  2. Stay away from Google Search – If you give into temptation and start searching about your injury, you may find yourself ready to slit your lists. While there is good info to be found on such sites as Web MD and Sports Injury Clinic, beware of worst case scenarios. Most sites will give you the entire spectrum, so you have to be careful to not diagnose yourself as being worse than you are. And, for god’s sake, stay away from forums and message boards. While there is good support to be found, lots of people go to these things when they are desperate and majorly injured. I’ve come away from many a message board convinced I would have to have surgery, would never run again and might shrivel up into a ball and die. (I have read every post related to broken ankles…still looking for one that says you return to running as well as you did before…)
  3. Be careful who you tell – Be sure to share your injury woes with people who get it.  There are many folks who will simply tell you to quit running so you quit getting injured. Maybe this isn’t the input you need. Find support where it suits you best. (This is true.  I am lucky to have running friends and bloggers who support me!!)
  4. Keep your eye on the prize – Say to yourself, “I will run again,” and believe it. If you have been given a time line for when you can ease back into running, look forward a few months and consider signing up for a race.  Hope is a powerful thing. (I wish I was given a timeline but there is none for this injury…I say everyday to myself: I will run!!)
  5. Get wet – One of the best ways to stay fit and simulate running when you can’t run is water running. Go HERE to read an article I wrote about it. If you are really wealthy, consider buying one of these. (Unfortunately, I don’t have access to a pool.)
  6. Find out what not to do next time– Use your injury to your advantage. Become the most well educated person about your individual issue. Research it. Talk to runners who have had it. Learn how to avoid it in the future. Pick all the brains you can find. Knowing your injury takes the mystery out of it and gives you back some control. (As I said before, this injury was not related to running.)
  7. Laugh at yourself – Lighten up. Don’t be so doomsday. Life goes on. Laugh at how clumsy you can be on crutches or how you have to roll around the kitchen on an office chair for months at a time. Fart and laugh about it.  It feels like the end of the world, but it isn’t. Five years from now this will just be a blip on the timeline of your life. (Once I can run again, I am sure that I will joke about the day, I walked around a piece of ice so I wouldn’t fall & get injured and fell & broke my ankle. HaHa)
  8. Do one thing you love everyday or learn something new – If you can’t do the one thing you love most, run, then pick something else you love almost as much. Or, learn something new. Watch South Park reruns, get a pedicure, learn to make the perfect pie crust. Anything to distract yourself and to get some good mental energy going. (Still trying to find the love…I cook dinner each evening…I knit…I ride a bike…watch 50 Rock re-runs but don’t love any of these activities.
  9. Cancel your subscription– When injured, it might make you more depressed to read countless blogs and magazines about how well everyone else’s training and racing is going. Although you might also find good information on dealing with injuries, allow yourself permission to turn off and withdrawal for a bit if needed. (When I was house bound and non-weightbearing…I let all my running magazine pile up.  Now that I am recovering, I have started reading them again.)
  10. Reach out – While it may be tempting to crawl into a hole, do not isolate yourself. Human connection is one of the most healing things we can do for ourselves. Let the people who you trust the most know that you need them right now. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and to ask for help.  The people you love want to do this for you. (This is tough when you have friends that you only see at races and on the tennis courts. I do have a few other friends that I see as well as play mah jong weekly. But I am planning on going on a tennis vacation with my friends…and not play or run.)

Most of all, hang in there. Be glad you love something like running enough that it is devastating when you lose it for awhile. I promise you that you will never again take it for granted.

Any tips you’d like to add to help beat the injury blues?

Happy Running or Happy Recovery!


4 thoughts on “Injury Advice from Shut Up + Run

  1. Know that it will pass, even when it seems you’ll never get there. You’ll be back and you will have learned something along the way. Good luck to you from someone who has been there!


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