Getting injured while running is never fun. Serious running injuries require weeks, sometimes months, of limited activity and rehabilitation to heal. They’re the worst.
But that’s not the whole story.
Any runner who has sustained an injury knows that sprains, strains, and fractures don’t just affect the body. They also mess with the mind. In fact, a serious injury can be as mentally challenging as it is physically.
Would you like to learn how to cope with your running injury so you can come back stronger and more confident? If your answer is yes, then you’re in the right place.
In today’s post, I’ll share with you a few guidelines on how to keep your attitude (as well as your training) up when a running injury got you down.
Let’s get started.
Become a Student
The ideal place to start your recovery journey is to educate yourself about your injury and healing process.
Most running injuries are simple. There are no big mysteries behind them; there’s always a reason why they happen.
By learning more about the symptoms, treatment, causes, and prevention of your condition, you’ll gain a greater sense of confidence and control over your current predicament, which helps ease any anxiety you’re going through.
Here are some of the questions you need to ask your healthcare professional.
- What’s the full diagnosis? What type of injury do I have?
- What made me injured in the first place?
- How long will recovery typically take?
- What are the red flags that the injury is getting worse?
- What are my treatment options?
- What’s the goal of treatments?
- What should I expect during the recovery period?
- What alternative exercises can I safely do during the rehab period?
- What can I do to prevent or fight off the inevitable weakness, stiffness, and lack of coordination that increases the risks of relapse?
Set Realistic Goals
Just because you’re sidelined by an injury doesn’t mean you should stop setting goals. The truth is, proper goal setting post-injury can help instill motivation and foster diligence as you start your recovery journey.
Setting goals grants you an active role in the recovery process, helping you increase self-confidence. This also cuts your fear and anxiety by helping you focus on what can be done.
Once you have discussed the ins and outs of your injury with your doctor, set SMART goals, which is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Result-focused, and Time-bound.
Here’s how to set SMART goals:
- Specific. Focus on a specific area with a clear map of how and why you’ll improve it.
- Be able to define clear and quantifiable outcomes, monitor progress, and set benchmarks along the way.
- Make sure your running goal is possible and that you have that belief in yourself that you can do it. Go for goals that stretch you slightly but do not hinder your healing process.
- Result focused. Use your recovery targets to measure outcomes, not actions.
- Time-based. Set a date for when you want to achieve your goal, with a progressive and practical sense of urgency.
Maintain your Fitness
Getting injured doesn’t inherently equal to sitting on the couch the whole day and doing nothing. Sure, there may be a few days of true rest when recovering from serious injury, but be sure to consult with your doctor for a list of cross-training options you can do.
I know it’s hard to keep working out when you’re injured, but stopping all forms of physical training may do you more harm than good. Inactivity may actually slow down your recovery and lower your feel-good hormones, such as serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine, drastically—setting you up for more trouble down the road.
Low impact exercises such as swimming, yoga, walking, or even moderate strength training can substitute for running and help maintain your cardiovascular power and sanity.
Just remember to take it slow and get the green light from your doctor, therapist, or trainer before you proceed to establish a good alternative workout program.
For a quick recovery, you need to heed your doctor’s instructions. Show up for your treatments, take the needed rest, and keep track of your healing process.
But that’s not the whole story. You also need to monitor your attitude—your emotional states and inner talk regarding your injury and the recovery process.
To get the most out of your recovery process, work hard on keeping a positive attitude. Stay focused on what you need (and can) do, instead of what you’re missing out on.
I know it’s easier said than done, but keeping a positive attitude is key for a faster recovery.
Surround yourself with supportive people and encouraging items while repeating positive affirmations. And keep in mind that things will eventually get better. It’s just a question of time.
There you have it. The above guidelines should help get you on the right foot when it comes to coping with running injuries. Just remember that the best way to deal with injuries is by not having them in the first place. That’s where prevention is gold.
For more on how to prevent running injury, check these posts:
One more thing: please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.
In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.
Keep running strong.