Being injured is really crap!

Being injured is really crap! … cos if you’re injured…you can’t run!
So, I started this as a message, but it’s turned into a blog!

I just wanted to say a few words about running injuries, and more importantly how they can affect you mentally, and how to get through them
One of the great things about the club at the moment is that so many of us are enjoying lots of running in lots of different groups & paces and this provides a really social environment which we are all loving. However, because of all the running, we are also seeing a few injuries appearing, and this includes me!

I’ve spoken to quite a few people who are injured at the moment and I guess I wanted to just share my recent experience of being injured because it’s something that isn’t really talked about. If someone’s injured, we ask about them on a Wednesday night how it is, and then off we go on our run; but if you enjoy running and you get injured and you can’t run it really isn’t a great feeling at all, especially seeing everyone else running

We can all run through little niggles cos we’re runners right and that’s what runners do; but if you do get an injury come up and you keep running on it; trust me, it’ll bite you in the bum; literally in the glute and hamstring in my instance. It seems many of the injuries we are seeing are largely from overuse, from overrunning (gosh really!). I was halfway through a long run recently when something really started hurting…so of course I kept running to the finish line (not a great idea). So what that meant was that I had picked up an injury that stopped me running for a bit. This has caused me to sit back and think about my running and say “Ok what do I want to do; what running do I want to do/not do; what do I want to achieve and what are my goals” – as clearly I can’t run everything! (as I had been doing), so in sharing this I hope it’s useful

For me I’ve had to really dial back my running and get some professional help to work out what the problem is. I’m 7 weeks in and still some way to go – I started by self analysis with Dr Google (it’s a wonderful thing!?) and was convinced it was my IT band – so I did some stretches I got from youtube, probably all wrong, and it wasn’t really getting much better – so I had sports massage which was good but didn’t change anything, so what should I do – I had lost control of my running which I hated. So I decided to see a physio

The physio thinks it’s a hamstring/glute problem (not IT band phew); and so now I have established a rehabilitation plan to recovery, together with a focused goal in mind of a race in x weeks. This was what I needed; a plan to move forward – I pretty much now understand the problem, and I have something of a solution with a plan to a goal – for me this approach works. Now having said that, its still some way to getting better, but I feel a whole lot better about my running mentally and managing the injury as I run….and I’m back running, albeit in a different way! (WooHoo)

But my plan includes more than just running now – it includes stretching, some strength and conditioning work in the gym (never did that before) and some crossfit (what is that?) – well I don’t much like swimming, so for me it’s back on the road bike (with the very pointy saddle – ouch – udder cream please!) and also rowing in the gym. But I now have a plan, with a goal and I feel much better about the whole situation – I have taken control back. I also recognise I can’t run every race out there with the club; for example I haven’t been running parkrun at the moment as I have a plan & I am sticking to it – however, if you’re not running, it really is great to get out to support your fellow runners at runs and races, and take the time to enjoy the atmosphere, have a coffee, cake or beer, without having to run, and you can shout “supportive abuse” at your run mates – now that’s great fun!

When you can’t run, you can’t underestimate the negative mental effect it can have on you as you see all your buddies on strava and fb. I like to think I’m mentally pretty strong, and I’m grateful I have a very supportive wife (in more ways than running!), but initially I have to admit this really got me down; I had some races booked that I’ve had to defer and I felt pretty crappy

Of course we should also recognise that it’s not just injury that stops people running; it can also be many other reasons including illness, Covid, family/life challenges and pregnancy!

As I have often said, this club is about supporting each other and celebrating success together; but it is also supporting each other not just when we are winning – getting pb’s running races and parkruns; it’s about supporting each other when things aren’t going so well, because being injured can affect you massively from a mental perspective. The fomo (fear of missing out) effect is real!

So please, just think about any of your fellow runners that are maybe out of action – how can you help them – how they are feeling and maybe reach out to them – just send them a message to check in on them; it’s so important – ask them how they’re doing, have a walk with them, a coffee, and take an interest in their road to recovery, because trust me – when you get injured you’ll appreciate the support

Here’s what happened through my injury and so far the road to recovery

  1. Listen to your body – is that a niggle I can run through, or is it something that’s going to flare up
  2. Get professional advise (physio?) as soon as you can
  3. Reset you schedule and your goals – you won’t be able to run as much
  4. Establish a rehabilitation plan and take back control of the situation
  5. Set you revised goals to a run or a race in x weeks so you have something to aim for
  6. Stay involved – keep involved with the club – come to Wednesdays for a drink, parkrun for a coffee; take up your run buddies offer of support; don’t do this on your own
  7. Stay mentally strong and before you know it you’ll be back running again

Stop putting yourself under so much pressure!…..

In a similar vein, I think sometimes we put ourselves under too much pressure which often means we don’t enjoy our running as much which is crazy….we see strava…we see other people running. But I think it’s not healthy to keep putting ourselves under pressure (being injured has made me rethink what I want to do, as opposed to trying to do everything)….now anyone that knows me, knows how competitive I am…however, I think a lot of us “run to be WITH each other, not necessarily to BEAT each other. I would say, run for yourself first, club second (you know what I mean)…you know your own body and how to read it, so just go carefully

So I wanted to share this as my thoughts…you can choose to ignore them or comment that they’re a load of drivel…..but what I would ask is to keep talking to each other, look out for people that may be struggling and don’t be afraid to reach out to them; they can always say no!
Some people say running is as simple as lacing your shoes up an getting out for a run, and in many ways it is and should be; but we all know it’s much more than that!

Happy Running Joggers

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