Coping with Injury…Again

Welp, the dreaded plantar fasciitis has come back to bite me in the heel. It’s the other heel this time, for some reason. I’ve fought this monster before and emerged victorious, but it took a long time. This time around, I’ve started fighting it more quickly and more seriously, rather than trying to run through the pain before giving up and starting treatment weeks or months later. Hopefully this will let me get back to running as quickly as possible. In the meantime, since this is not my first rodeo (to switch fighting-animals-metaphors midstream there), I’ve got some coping techniques at my disposal. Not gonna lie, I am seriously unhappy and dealing with injured-runner-rage over the return of this injury. But the advantage of having to fight again is that I know what to do.

Here’s what I’ve been doing to help myself through this phase:

  1. Taking care of the physical side. I can move my entire training program to a cross-training regimen, pretty much at the drop of a hat. According to the great Arthur Lydiard, your body (at least your heart and lungs) does not care overly much what you are doing, merely how hard and for how long you are doing it. So track Tuesday is more fun on the track with my girlfriends, but much of the work can be accomplished on the stationary bike at the YMCA. Easy runs can become easy rides or easy swims. Tempo efforts can done in the pool. The logistics are different, but overall, it’s pretty simple.
  2. Activating the inner circles. Grateful as I am for my cross-training coping strategies, I am perhaps even happier to have some for the mental side of injury. Injured athletes are an unhappy lot. But living by the clock can help maintain some of the daily rhythm of life. I am leaning on my Inner Circles these days and finding I have more trust in them than I did before. I know the people who care about me will carry me through this phase, however long it is. I try to keep public whining to a minimum, but you can bet these folks are hearing plenty from me privately. Thank you, Inner Circles.
  3. Practicing gratitude. Finally, telling a committed athlete to “enjoy their time away” from the sport they love by keeping busy with activities they definitely love less is not all that helpful. But what is helpful is to re-direct some of one’s attention away from one’s self. I’ve learned that practicing gratitude and kindness is one of the best ways to deal with injury. Saying thank you a lot and helping others really does make injury easier to bear.

If you’re in the same boat, first of all, I’m really sorry, and secondly: What are your tips for dealing with injured-runner unhappiness?

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