So as I mentioned Monday, my sports podiatrist confirmed I do indeed have a stress reaction on my second metatarsal. I’m forbidden to run for at least 3-5 weeks, perhaps a tad longer until I’m able to walk completely pain-free. I’m not even a full week into resting from running yet, and I’m already starting to feel the mental side effects of this injury.
As runners, we all know so much of the sport is mental anyway–you have to mentally push yourself all the time during tough speed workouts and races, when your legs want to quit and you just want to lay down and drink a glass of wine (maybe that’s just me, don’t judge!). But you also have to find ways to stay mentally strong during times of injury as well. Here’s what I’m doing to stay mentally strong and not go insane while I’m resting:
1. Strength Train! I love strength training in general, but it definitely takes a backseat when I’m focused on running and building up my base. I’m grateful that I have access to a gym and am able to go in the mornings and pump some iron. Here’s an article about why strength training is so important for runners, especially when it comes to staying injury-free and being a well-balanced athlete.
2. Trying New Workouts. I mentioned my new love for Pure Barre last week, and I was initially bummed when my podiatrist said no Pure Barre while I’m resting. However, my running buddy/teammate Courtney asked the instructor at the studio if they would be able to accommodate and adjust moves for my specific injury and they said yes! I’m taking a class Thursday morning and can’t wait to be back at the barre. It’s such a great toning workout regardless, but I find it to be super helpful for me because so much of the class is focused on your glutes, hips, and core which are the areas I need the most work on.
3. Focusing On Nutrition. Just because I’m not running doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be fueling my body differently. Yes I may not need as many calories (although I’ve never counted calories anyway), but being injured isn’t an excuse to not pay attention to what I’m eating. I’m trying my best to make sure I stay adequately hydrated, am eating plenty of greens and whole foods, and staying away from excessive amounts of sugar. Just don’t ask me to give up my nightly piece of dark chocolate or I will punch you (not joking). I also started taking vitamin D3 supplements to aid in bone health, in addition to my multivitamin.
4. Enjoying The Small Things. I know this may sound silly, but when Rusty had his surgery last year on his ACL, he was still his usual happy-go-lucky sweet self, even though he had staples in his leg and a cone around his head. He still was happy to go on walks and get belly rubs despite his setback. Not saying I need/want belly rubs, but his surgery helps keep things in perspective for me–just because I can’t run doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy all the other things I’m able to do, like strength and cross train, go to Pure Barre, and enjoy walks with my pup!
5. Be Social! Being injured doesn’t mean you have to sit around by yourself and mope. Sure, you may feel sad and defeated and it’s okay to take time to yourself and feel all of those emotions, but I can tell you I feel better getting out of the house and socializing with friends/teammates. I still went to cheer on my Oiselle girls at the beer mile, and went to happy hour after a Pure Barre class I couldn’t attend. Just being able to interact and socialize made me feel ten times better!
Additional tips for staying mentally tough during an injury/setback?