I am certain that some of you can relate. I was feeling on top of my game. I was feeling fit, healthy and invincible. That has all changed.
Since I started running 5 years ago, I have struggled with running injuries in one way or another. If it’s not ITBS then it’s shin splints, if it’s not my right leg, it’s my left. I have spent thousands going to physiotherapists, a chiropractor, a biokineticist and a podiatrist. I’ve attempted strengthening my weak glutes, changing my running style and resting for weeks. All of this and I am still frustrated, still miles away from where I want to be.
I’ve realised that the stages of dealing with an injury are, in my opinion, much like that of the stages of dealing with grief:
- The first stage is emphatic denial. It’s not even that sore. I’ll just pretend it’s not there and hope it goes away. I’ll just go for a short run. And then the next thing you know, you hopping around, icing your limbs and your training schedule has gone straight out of the window. You realise now that this is real… you have a proper injury. It won’t go away unless you do something about it.
- The second stage is pure, raging anger. How could this be? Why can’t I just run? Why am I so prone to injury? Is there something wrong with me? Look at that guy running on the prom, looking all smug and injury free. I want to punch him. Friends and family, don’t you dare ask me when last I ran or how my injury is doing. (POW, POW!)
- The third stage is bargaining. Okay body, I promise that in future I will stretch before AND after every run, I’ll do all my strengthening exercises, I’ll foam roll, I won’t increase my mileage too quickly, I’ll make sure my shoes are always in good shape, I’ll take my magnesium and calcium everyday. I’ll be really good, I promise. Please just be fixed now!
- The fourth stage is full blown depression. Why is my body punishing me? Oh my hat, I just want to be alone. I should just stop running and stop exercising altogether. I feel down, gross and unhealthy. I give up.
- The fifth stage is acceptance. This is happening. I can get over this. I will get over this. I need to remember that it’s all about baby steps. Let me take this one day at a time. To be completely honest, I feel like I’ve got to this stage a couple of times, only to send myself right back to stage one again but that is okay. It’s all a process.
What these continuous injuries have taught me is that I run because I love it. I have a fierce and passionate love for being out on the road, just me and my thoughts. I love how a run can take away so many emotions and relieve my stress. I love how good I feel after a run. I love the high after reaching a new milestone or running a new route. I love that this is something I do for me and for me alone and I love how I grow to know myself a little bit more after each run.
Starting from scratch is tough. It can feel like you aren’t getting anywhere and you can feel demotivated and frustrated but one thing is for sure ; you will get back out there. You will get back to where you were before the injury. Just have a little patience and determination and you’ll be fine. Hope to see some of you along the road over the next few weeks.