It’s Sunday, the sun is shining and my social media feeds are full or runners celebrating their #Sunday #Runday moments. Whether that be a PB in a half marathon or the first time they’ve run a 10K in two weeks, it can be both motivating and disheartening in equal measures because you know that there is nothing you can do right now that will change your predicament.
Not only are you stuck sporting a Stormtrooper boot for another month, it will be at least six weeks until you can lace up your trainers and hit the road again. It cuts like a knife to the very core of your soul because you know there’s no way of getting around it. No quick fix. No fairy godrunner to wave their magic wand and make it all better. You have to just sit it out for a little while longer.
All is not at a loss (although it can feel like it), here’s how you can use those techniques you’ve learnt from running to help you through the rough time:
When you train for your big race, you know the key to success is to be consistent with your training. There’s absolutely no point in doing a week of running, chucking in the towel for three weeks, and then in a moment of panic, ramping it up again for a week of non-stop racing around the block. Follow this method and you’ll more than likely end up injured and knackered. Take it slow, get used to running two to three times a week and increase your mileage by 10% a week. It’s exactly the same when it comes to recovery from an injury.
Stick to realistic goals
In the same way, you build up a training plan being realistic about how much running you can actually do a week and how fast you can go, when it comes to recovery don’t fool yourself that a miracle will happen. Even if you know mentally you could probably run a half marathon as soon as you’re given the green light, your body (and your doctor/physio) probably wouldn’t thank you for it.
Think quality over quantity
Sometimes it’s not about how much you run, it’s about ways that you run. Introducing different sessions such as hills and track can make you a much stronger runner. And in the same way, finding out about your treatment plan and asking the right questions can save you stress and also the NHS resource. The NHS is a fantastic service and many have benefited from their wealth of experience and high levels of care. There are some exceptions and inefficiencies that anyone with a blind bit of sense can spot. When told to go and make an appointment, find out what the purpose of the appointment is. It may save you two bus journeys, time off work and the pressure of having to shift your body weight half a mile to see a doctor who doesn’t really have the information necessary to help with your recovery.
Find the right coach
Mentor, trainer, whatever you want to call it. Running is enhanced when you have the right trainer or coach by your side. Remember knowledge and experience go a long way so talk to those around you and ask if they have any tips to help improve your technique. It’s exactly the same when recovering from an injury. Talk to those who have been in a similar situation and also find someone you trust to give you a second opinion. Whether that’s about getting an MRI scan done or telling you to go and get blood tests at your doctors to find out the root cause, make sure you have someone by your side who will help you through the tough times and make you feel like you’re slowly but surely progressing.
Stick to your guns
When you hit the infamous wall, you find it a struggle to keep on going but you do and complete that marathon. In the same way, you’ll find recovery a struggle. And unfortunately, sometimes you hit a frustrating wall, where no one will tell you a straight answer or simply appear as if they don’t give a funk. It’s now that persistence is key. Don’t take no for an answer. Ask the medical consultant to write down clearly on a piece of paper what they want you to do for the next four weeks in terms of recovery. And if they dismiss it and say it’s all on a piece of paper you have to hand over to physio while they usher you out of their office without even giving you time to put your boot back on, refuse to leave their office. This will save everyone time in the long run. It’s important to have a clear plan of action so make this your number priority so you can reach the finish line and get back to what you love doing.
It goes without saying that you want your body to recover as quickly as possible and be in the best shape you can possibly be after goodness knows how long of not being able to run. This means you have to do something active, probably sat down if you’ve damaged a part of your lower body. It’s not the most thrilling hour of your life a day but at least you can do it while watching the telly or listening to an amazing drama available on Radio 4 Extra. Here are a few chair exercise videos available on YouTube to try.