Dealing with injuries
by Jennifer Gill
December 1, 2008
There are times in a runner's training when they have to skip a run or
two due to a busy schedule, an unexpected event, or simply because they
want to. Then there are times in a runner's training where
they are forced to skip runs. They're injured.
Injuries are very hard for many runners to deal with, for a number of
reasons. While some runners actually look forward to the little break
for a welcome rest, others completely freak out.
Obviously, most injuries cause physical pain. You've pulled a
hamstring, torn a ligament. It hurts. Well, that pain can be more than
just physical. Pain can also be emotional. And most runners can get
slightly depressed when they're dealing with an injury, especially for
those that require weeks, if not months, of rest.
Many runners use their running as therapy. When they are feeling
stressed and frazzled, their running serves as a way to release that
stress. When they can't get on the road, they don't know how else to
deal with their stress.
Another aspect that may be lost for runners with injuries is the social
aspect of running. For many runners, their runs with their friends are
much-anticipated social gatherings. This is the time they catch up and
talk about what's going on in life. When they can't participate,
injured runners often feel left out of their social circle, and for
some, cut off from their social support.
Most runners can tell you that running is more than just a hobby for
them. It's part of who they are. And when they can't run, some runners
don't know how to deal with themselves. They suddenly have all this
time and can't do the one thing they love the most. It can be
especially difficult for the non-runners in the injured party's life.
They may not understand why their favorite runner is so depressed,
irritable, or stressed out.
How to Deal
It's really important to look at your time differently while injured.
While it is heartbreaking to not be able to run, you have to use this
time to take care of yourself. You're injured because your body has a
weakness. You have to help that weakness get strong and the only way to
do that is rest. Injury is your body's way of telling you to back off.
Try to figure out why you got injured in the first place and get
Try your best to stay positive and upbeat. While it's so easy to get
depressed over your injury, it's important to understand that this
happens to most runners at some point during their training, and you
will get back on the roads. If you don't take the time to get better,
it will only take longer to recover.
Find other ways to cope with stress. If other forms of exercise are
out, returning to other interests that may have been ignored for some
time is one way to deal with stress. Start a new book, learn how to
knit, or catch up on your movie watching. Whatever you find enjoyable,
take this time to reintroduce yourself to it.
Stay in touch with your running friends. Call, email, text, whatever
you did to set up your runs, do it now. You know that you don't have to
just see each other when you're running. Set up a time to see a movie,
grab dinner, or just talk.
Talk about how you feel. Let the people in your life, both running and
non-running, know that you are going through a hard time. They will be
there to listen and be a source of support as you get through your
Enjoy yourself. If your injury allows it, try out a new form of
exercise. Go swimming, go for a bike ride. Try yoga. Work on your
strength training. This is actually quite important in preventing
Dealing with injuries is hard for many runners. But if you accept the
fact that you're injured and use the time to find out other things
about yourself, it may just be a little easier to move forward.