Monday, October 05, 2009

The injured runner

An injured runner is a sad creature. We want, more than anything, to be out running. When you're injured, every glance out your car window reveals a veritable army of fellow runners, racing happily down the sidewalks. Every weather forecast might as well say "Perfect running weather! Sucks to be you!" And your running shoes, naturally, taunt you.

Running is a favorite activity, a way to rationalize eating a cookie, an opportunity to spend time with friends, a chance to be alone on a Sunday morning, and the best stress relief there is. Without running, what to do?

I am trying to be the best injured runner I can possibly be.

If running was the first thing to go for me, the running diet was the second. I am not burning the calories I was just a few weeks ago, so I am being much more mindful of what I eat. In addition to keeping the cookie quantities in check, I'm also working to strengthen and heal those bones that are giving me a hard time by eating more calcium rich foods. My new snacks of choice are yogurt and cottage cheese.

Like most (slightly obsessive) runners, part of me fears that if I miss a workout, my legs will atrophy and I'll be the slowest slug out there. So yesterday, I literally dusted off my bike and helmet and went for a ride. It felt good to get my heart pumping again, and the exercise didn't bother my leg at all. Of course I would rather be running, but it's better than nothing.

Finally, I don't want to shut myself off from the running community. I'll be posting updates from Injury Land, and of course I'll still read my favorite blogs. And there's a race on Sunday that I had been planning on running. Since that's not in the cards, I'm going to volunteer. The time to give back is long overdue, and if I can't run myself, at least I can support those who can.


Jill said...

Very well put. I know exactly how you feel. I sprained my ankle 2 weeks ago, and I'm easing back into it.

The muscle atrophy thing--I've totally feared it. Rationally, I know that missing a workout or two is not a big deal, but I'm always afraid I'll try to run and my legs won't work. LOL.

joyRuN said...

You really are being great about injury. I ate my weight in cheetos & sulked when I was hurt.

Enjoy the cross-training!

Kent said...

As I siddle up on the injury bench as well (at least until this ankle sprain goes away), you forgot one: start marking off the days on the calendar until you say you can run again and then put down the self-sabotage desire to go out and run today. I hope your shins feel better soon and starts pulling its own weight.

Isela said...

Healing thoughts coming your way. The cycling will help keep your legs going without the pounding on the bones.

Candice @ I Have Run said...

I'm fighting IT band issues, so it was good to read this and readjust my attitude a little!!

Roisin said...

Ditto on knowing that feeling. When I injured myself last year, I was overwhelmed with feelings that I'd lose all the speed I gained, and gain all the pounds I lost.