Every night, as I sit on the couch and read or watch TV, I prop my foot on a small ziploc bag full of ice. It’s wrapped in a small, thin, old kitchen towel, but within moments I can feel the chill seep into my heel. I hope it provides the pain relief and healing that I need. I’ve been struggling with this injury for weeks now, and I can’t seem to shake it.
Having an injury is just about the worst thing a runner can deal with. I’m grateful it’s nothing super serious like a stress fracture, but it still drives me crazy that I’m so limited in my ability to run or, in truth, do any kind of workout. I’ve managed a couple of short, easy runs, scattered throughout the past couple of weeks, but I’m going crazy. I have energy to get up and do things, and it’s hard to take it easy.
Dealing with an injury is hard. I keep telling myself, that if I give my foot what it needs, I’ll get back to running that much sooner. There are several things you can do to speed up the healing processing and get back to running.
I wrote an entire post about why you should cross train. Depending on the type of injury, you might still be able to keep your fitness up. If the injury is severe (e.g. stress fracture) forget about cross training and focus on my next point.
Injuries often arise from over-stressing our bodies or overusing them. Running is a very high impact sport and can easily cause injuries from all the pounding if you aren’t careful. No matter how severe the injury is, you need REST. Stop running for a while, anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks to give your body a break. Rest allows your body to focus solely on giving all its energy to healing the troubled area, instead of recovering from a tough workout.
Depending on the injury, you may need to add some stretching or strengthening exercises. A physical therapist can help you figure out what the best exercises would be to heal your injury. I would not recommend surfing the web for something, and self-diagnosing. You may end up doing more harm than good.
Eat Quality Food
One of the best things you can do is fill your plate with lots of nutritious foods. Your body is trying to heal, and that requires some serious nutrition. Load up on quality protein, lots of fresh vegetables, and healthy fats like avocado and grass-fed butter.
As frustrating as it is to be injured, I know if I take care of myself, I will get back to running. It might not be as soon as I’d like, but I’d rather take a month and heal properly then risk being injured for months to come. If you find yourself struggling with an injury, hang in there! Do what needs to be done to heal so you can get back out there stronger than ever!