It’s fair to say I haven’t always been enamoured with running.
In fact, I always used to hate it. It’s only in the last few months I’ve, well, I wouldn’t say started to love it, but I would say started to become committed and excited about taking part in events I once wouldn’t have considered.
It’s unbelievably frustrating then to have to put the race plans on the back burner because of injury.
It’s only temporary, and it’s not serious (just a broken rib) but it has meant that the half marathon I’d signed up for in February is now seriously out of reach. I may not even be back training by the time it’s on.
What’s more annoying is that I know I am losing hard earned fitness with every ‘rest’ day that goes by.
On the positive side, not being able to run, has shown me that it’s something I really do want to do. The upsides are enormous, and like they say, you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. The biggest thing I have noticed is that I’m missing the mental boost exercise gives you. I feel more down, more irritable, and less confident without working out. Feeling so far behind where you’d planned to be with fitness goals is more anxiety-inducing than it should be.
According to Dr. Allison Belger, founder of PsychologyWOD: “Injuries can be devastating to individuals who are consistently active and/or are training for an event or ongoing participation in a sport. The physical repercussions are usually apparent, but the emotional and psychological sequelae are often less obvious.”
While I would never class myself as an ‘athlete’ I would agree that on some level, even for the fun runner like myself, it is disappointing at least to lose your primary motivating factor – the event you are training for.
It can also impact on your relationship with your training buddies. As they discuss longer runs and excitement, you have nothing to add to conversation, save your feelings of being a total fraud.
Strategies to deal with injury include journaling, goal setting, and visualisation. If you can stay involved in the activity (go and watch your friends race, for example) that may also help. For pro athletes, this may be too painful, but for enthusiasts, keeping a toe in the pool (as it were) can keep you connected and engaged.
In the meantime, the best thing to do is to work on recovery, which for my (non-sports related) broken rib means rest time. In a mere three weeks I could be pounding the pavements again.