A tentative return

Running injuries suck – I think everyone can agree with that. But one of the hardest things about an injury (at least for newish runners like myself) is knowing when it’s OK to start running again. For this I rely on my doctor’s advice (REST REST REST) and listening to my own body. I took two weeks completely off from running – but supplemented with swimming and biking which were completely pain free. After the first week my foot (diagnosed with stress response AKA if you don’t stop this will become a stress fracture) was feeling great so I decided to test it out. 1 mile on the treadmill – and it felt fine. The next day I was a little achy but this went away pretty quickly. So I kept it up – running every second day with a 5 min walking warm-up and followed by lots of stretching and foot strengthening exercises.

I bumped it up to 1.5 miles this week and my foot is still feeling good (total mileage 7.5 miles for the month). But I am freaking out about every little ache or pain – hypochondriac right here. On one hand I want to get back to running ASAP but I do not want to injure myself in the process. The day after my second comeback run my shins were feeling sore – then I remembered that I have the tightest calves in the world and need to remember to stretch them everyday. And volia – shin pain disappeared. But (there is always a but) my foot still doesn’t feel quite right. I can’t quite figure out what is wrong (and it’s definitely not the stress response issue) so I might have to rest a little more. Or at least continue with my constant body surveillance and decide for myself when an ache is really a pain.

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But workouts are still happening.

Sat: 1.5 mile run + strength session at gym

Sun: Swim (1500 yds) + yoga (first class in 4 weeks!)

Mon: 1.5 mile run + strength

Tues: Swim (1500 yds)

Wed: 1.5 mile run + strength

So lots of swimming (I’m about 2/3 of the way thru my 0 – 1 mile swim program) and lots of core + leg work. I’m actually feeling pretty good and like I haven’t lost that much fitness. Also, today was the first time since the marathon where I’ve gotten up before 6 AM to workout. Of course, I did pick the coldest day of the year to do that. But it seems like I’ve suddenly got my energy and motivation mojo back. And if you live with me that means baked goods.

Chocolate chip zucchini bread and pumpkin granola AKA breakfast this week.

Chocolate chip zucchini bread and pumpkin granola AKA breakfast this week.

AAnd some non- homemade treats.

I did use the dough to make the cookies and it was amazing. Fresh made cookies need to be eaten with ice cream.

I did use the dough to make the cookies and it was amazing. Fresh made cookies need to be eaten with ice cream.

And because John was out of town all last week (and I was somehow way more busy than usual hence my complete lack of posting) I managed to catch up on my new favorite shows – How to Get Away With Murder and the Mindy Project.

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It seems like today is our first real taste of winter out here in SLC – I am currently wearing a million layers to stay warm – but we were treated to some beautiful sunsets last week. Luckily for me my offside is west facing and I get to take in the view before I leave for home (in the dark).

From work last week.

From work last week.

On the way to yoga on Sunday.

On the way to yoga on Sunday.

Any tips for returning from injury?

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22 thoughts on “A tentative return

  1. FLRunnerBoy says:

    I think you are going about it the right way Irish. I think the soreness my be part of the game as you build up strength in the foot. Continue to slowly build the mileage back in. I just watched the weather and looks like your about to get a major cold blast.

  2. symmetrytactics says:

    I just went through the same thing. I know exactly what you mean about noticing every little thing going on in your foot. I am doing that too. Nice to hear I’m not the only one. I haven’t had any of the pain return but I’m still cautious every day. Hopefully we’ll both be able to run without giving it any thought soon!

    • Yay for injury-recovery-buddies! I’m glad that you’re getting back to normal. I haven’t had my foot pain return – just aches and pains in other places. And I’m looking forward to those runs where you don’t even have to think about it.

  3. Eat all the Brooklyn BlackOut you can. It is full of calcium, and thus helpful.
    But seriously, you are doing a great job, have a good plan: build slowly, pay attention to your body, but know that sometimes it sends up smoke signals. I go by the Sleep On It rule. Or the incredible pain rule. Either works.

  4. Running injuries definitely suck. Sorry about the stress response! I’ve found it surprising how many overuse injuries I’ve gotten and can still have decent training with. Stress fractures/responses, though, don’t mess with those. Good luck healing up!

    • I had a knee problem for the first half of the year and my physio got me doing strength exercises and working on my form and that definitely helped. But I don’t think you can ever really avoid overuse injuries unfortunately.

    • I guess I’m always waiting for something to go wrong (eternal pessimist) but I did get through all of my marathon training and my race injury-free so I can’t feel too bad. I hope you are feeling better too.

  5. You’re back!! I’m so happy to read this and it sounds like you are taking things good and easy. I totally understand the runners hypochondria. I’m just getting over my own. Just keep playing it smart and you will be back to even better before in no time! ❤

    • I forgot that you are the foot injury and recovery expert! I think I was feeling a little burned out after the marathon so this injury happened at the best time possible – although it felt so wrong to type out that sentence……..

  6. Oh so sorry! I had a stress fracture scare last year myself and I can completely relate to how you are feeling! As I recovered, I was questioning every little twinge I had. From my own experience, run/walking and keeping my pace slow for awhile was key to getting me back to being 100%. Good luck, it sounds like you are doing everything just right!

    • Thanks! I think I’m just afraid of getting injured again and being out for even longer. Although I think all of my injuries have been sudden excruciating pain instead of little pains that come and go! Glad that you could recover and get back to racing!

  7. Sounds like you are being very smart about this. I know how frustrating it can be. Rock is still dealing with an issue from the marathon and just as he got back to it he got a foot problem. So frustrating. Keep being smart. You will be back soon!

  8. Mmmmm pumpkin granolaaaa sounds like my idea of Heaven food. Good luck building back up the mileage without hurting yourself. The comment about paying attn to “when an ache is really a pain” def resonates with me, too. Such stubborn runners we are! So hard to stay away from what you love.

  9. My best advice is to keep doing what you’re doing – take it slow and listen to your body. Also consider running on softer, more forgiving surfaces such as grass or trails and take it easy when you return to Tarmac. It will get better, I promise (even though sometimes it doesn’t seem like it!).

  10. Martha B says:

    Running injuries DO suck, but I’m glad you’re back on track for a healthy return. Welcome to the hypochondriac club, however. I’m still getting over the mental implications of my last injury… Is it an ache? Is it a pain? What’s the dang difference?? Yikes! Still, glad you’re feeling better. Nice week!

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