The running dream is different for everyone and unfortunately we all have had it effected by an injury. If you are one of the fortunate souls who has never had an injury consider yourself lucky.
I think it is safe to say that every runner out there has had to deal with some form of nagging issue within their body which has effected their running dream. A sore calf, muscle or worse, an injury requiring surgery. Who has been there with me?
I will list my injury history…and oh how splendid of a time I had dealing with them.
- Plantar Fascitis (haattttttted it)
- Ruptured Plantaris Tendon (got that from jumping off the top bunk landing on a concrete floor while at Camp McKonnel in Gainesville, FL during track and field training while at Malone University)
- 3 Orthoscopic Knee Surgeries (2 on my left knee, 1 on my right). I still, to this day, have no idea why my cartilage kept breaking up in my knee cap during my sophomore year in college….fortunately, no issues since (fingers crossed)
- Shin Splints (had them once…hope to never have again…they suck!)
- Patellar Tendinitis (had this SEVERAL times mostly through high school and college years)
What on earth do you do to keep the running dream alive when you are stuck on the couch?
Well, the first thing to keep in mind that an injury is not the end of your career. Your running dream does not have to be over on account of that. Your mental outlook has to be one of calmness so that your healing time won’t be as long. It is a process that cannot be rushed and once you accept that your road to recovery will be that much faster.
This is far easier said than done but the truth is, there is no rushing an injury and if you do your running dream could be one you’ll have to replay in your mind than actually do because of your rush to be too aggressive.
You may be the most motivated athlete in the world but accepting the injury for what it is, just a small hiccup in a long training career ahead, and seeing down time as a blessing will make the running dream easier to achieve.
My wife brought this subject up tonight so have her to thank for it. She said, “I have never known anyone who is as good as you in taking time off and not getting bent out of shape about it”….ahhh honey your the best.
Well, if I am good at taking time off, it is simply I have learned my lesson from the injuries I mentioned above. I have realized through trial and error that there is no reason to rush in obtaining the running dream. The running dream will run to you when you learn to be patience and add in attention to detail to injury prevention.
Advice For Runners With A Running Dream
The best advice I can give of runners who want to keep the running dream alive and by that I mean, whatever goal you have set for yourself, is to stay motivated by that goal. Be persistent.
The majority of our goals won’t come overnight, the running dream certainly, and if you make your goals too easy to accomplish you won’t truly be challenging yourself. If your an 18 minute 5000m runner and you set 17.55 as your goal for your next race when your real capability, based on the workouts you are doing, signals a 16 minute, write that down and use that as fuel. Easy goals are great, hard goals that you achieve you will remember for the rest of your life.
I remember wanting to break the 2.22 marathon barrier back in 1999. I ran a half-marathon time in college in 1.11.31 and to be quite honest, at that time, after running that time-trial, I thought breaking 2.22 was possibly too high a goal…..but I had to believe in the hard goal, rather than take it easy.
A more ‘reasonable’ goal back then would probably be wanting a 2.35 marathon, respectively, but my running dream was much more harder in scope to achieve.
The Running Dream
No matter how far out your goal presently looks. If you have enough drive and utilize every ounce of thought and effort to that goal, you will achieve it. There is a lot of fluff out there and ‘happy thought’ writing, but I remember years of endless miles on lonely highways when no one cared if I was out there or not.
Being reasonable is the quickest way to mediocrity – Will Smith
Hard goals not only challenge you but give you that missing ‘umph’ you might have missed had you taken the more traveled road. It isn’t easy even when your healthy, but when your injured or you had a race planned and now your stuck with a ‘temporary’ roadblock, it is an even greater battle to overcome….
…just know you will overcome it, with time, not your time. You have to let the body heal itself and it certainly can’t be rushed. If you cut yourself on the leg it is going to hurt but unfortunately, healing doesn’t come on our time but our body’s clock. You can’t rush the running dream.
If you are not a believer in delayed gratification this running dream of yours will be all the more difficult to attain, take it slow.
An Injury Is On A Temporary Roadblock In Your Path To The Running Dream
Ok, unless it is a career ending injury most running setbacks caused from injuries are temporary. They may seem as if they are permanent (oh let me tell you I agree with you!) but the truth is letting an injury or having to take time off (for whatever reason, like having to travel 7400 miles for a mission your heart really isn’t into or you believe in…) is not a reason to let go of your goal.
If you have to take time off or you are unable to race, accept it and allow that downtime you most likely would have never taken off had this happened, to recharge your batteries. Don’t let it disappoint you.
The Running Dream Takes A Lot Of Work, A Break Is What You Need
Take that downtime to start thinking up ways you can train differently once you heal up. What different shoes could you possibly wear in your next race? What preventive measures can use in your next training block. Ultrasound? Massage? Exercise that may take impact off the injured area like pool running?
Don’t rush it and enjoy the time away. It will only increase your hunger to get back to the roads and the running dream that you have will be that much more meaningful when you achieve it..
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