The mountains in Vermont are beautiful – but they hurt your calves 🙂
Around the middle of December I pulled my calf muscle. I didn’t really realize how bad it was at first, so I started a cycle of waiting a few days until the pain stopped, going out for a 5k and ending up in pain again. I finally realized at the end of December that it was a serious injury, of course I had already signed up for the Resolution Run on January 1st, so because runners are slightly crazy, I ran it – although I did take it easy.
I found out from my research that with this type of injury, you need to take a couple of weeks off from running. When you start back up again, you have to ease slowly back into it. My first run on January 16th will have to be only 10 minutes long, gradually building up to 20 minutes, then 30 minutes etc. I’m finding it particularly difficult to deal with this since I have a 30k race planned for the end of March. Going out for a 10 minute run when your running schedule says you should be doing a 20k will be hard to stick to.
When you’re recovering from a running injury you really notice how large a part of your life running is. Dealing with the pain of the injury is often not as difficult as coping with the frustration of having to put your running plans on hold. Here are a few tips I’ve learned from fellow runners on how to cope with a running injury:
- Use time off from running as an opportunity to work on core strength. This is something that many runners (like me) fail to work on. Along with the plank challenge, I found a really good video on ab exercises for runners, 5 minutes a day will do a lot of good. I’ve also found a Yoga for Runners video and a (not so) Beginners Yoga video that I’m finding quite challenging. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to touch my toes someday. 🙂
- Talk to other runners. I’ve been checking out some online runners forums and talking with my running friends. It’s good to know that a lot of people have been there and feel the same way. I’ve also got some great advice on what to do when I’m not running and how to get back into it.
- Keep active. Biking and swimming are good suggestions to keep active when you’re not running, however since I live in Southern Ontario, biking in the snow isn’t an option and I can only swim far enough to get myself out of a pool I’ve fallen into. Through my research I have found out that Kettle Bell workouts can be a great form of cardio so I’m going to incorporate those into my workouts at least until I’m back up to my normal mileage.
- Find other stress relieving activities. Running is definitely a great form of stress relief. Going out for coffee with friends, enjoying a crossword puzzle or getting a relaxing (or therapeutic) massage can help you deal with your stress and fill the running void.
- A sense of accomplishment. Start and finish a project that you’ve been wanting to do for some time. Getting something done around the house or finally finishing that knitting project will give you a sense of accomplishment that we often get from races.
Although this injury has set me back a bit, I’m hoping to make the best of it and come out ahead with a stronger core, more flexibility and feeling refreshed.
Have you ever been sidelined with a running injury? What have you found helps you cope?