You’re sidelined. Now what?
Your first major running injury is hard to swallow. Likely, it happened while training for a big race, either a full or half marathon. This means that you had been preparing mentally and physically to complete a pretty big goal. You probably told your friends and family, you paid the entry fee, maybe even booked travel arrangements. Then it happens. You are injured. Not sore, or hurt, but injured to the point where you can’t run your big race.
The feelings of grief and disappointment are real, so let them flow. The anger and resentment of your friends who are still running? Yeah, that’s real too, so invite it in. You worked so hard to train properly, knowing that the real magic of a marathon is completing it injury-free. You took all the precautions, but at the end of the day, we are human. We are all vulnerable. It won’t make you feel better, but some of the world’s most elite runners have been sidelined for months, dropped out of races, and missed life-changing opportunities, all due to injury. But what should make you feel better is that they came back, stronger, and continued to run.
I missed a marathon due to stress fractures and went to cheer on crutches (not a great idea). Here are a few things I learned that might help you, if the time ever comes:
- Take the time you need to heal. Mentally and physically. Don’t apologize when you roll your eyes because someone had a hard run. Remind them that they can run, as sarcastically as you want.
- Do the physical therapy.
- Don’t try to get around at a race on crutches. It will shred your armpits, so just meet up with the gang for beers afterward.
- Ask your doctor for alternative activities to keep you moving.
- Get on the bike, in the pool, tackle the elliptical, or strike some yoga poses. It’s not the same as running, but it’s a lot better than doing nothing.
- Learn to knit. Or anything that will challenge you during the time off.
- Make a modest running plan for when you are healthy. Very modest, like “a year from now” kind of thing.
- Wallow in your sorrows for 2 weeks. Then get on with it.
- Pull out your old bibs, recollect your awesomeness.
Remember: Running is just like life. It’s a journey, not a destination, and this is just a wee bump in the road. – Amie