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A list of things you definitely shouldn’t do while dealing with a running injury

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Let’s make this quick: the reason I haven’t posted anything in – oh I don’t know, you go and check how long it’s been if you’re interested – is because I’ve been sporting a bunch of really hot running-related injuries. I’m too tired of moaning about them to moan about them here so you’re in luck (my friends IRL, however, are probably calling their cell phone providers to switch numbers as we speak).

Considering even the boy who never reads my blog has noticed it’s been ages since I posted, I thought it was time to come here and say some stuff. First I thought I’d post a photo of my lunch. Then I ate my lunch and forgot to take a photo, proving I’ll never be a proper fitness blogger. Then I thought I’d still try to go for the whole good fitness blogger thing and list all the distances, splits and paces of my latest workouts. Then I realised I couldn’t really give less of a shit about other people’s splits and paces so why would you care about mine?

So here we are. Nowhere useful, which is a good place to start.

Last time we spoke, I’d gone to hell and back at the Big O. Once the physical pain from that was gone (the emotional trauma will hang around for a while), I sank right into the world of running injuries where I’ve been unhappily living ever since. Shin splints on my left leg, ITB pain on my right leg (and occasionally on the left one too, for good measure) mean that I can’t go for a road run longer than 200m before I start reconsidering this whole running deal.

The problem, you see, is that I’ve been running (shit I never thought I’d say). Even though I should just sit at home quietly, both legs elevated and covered in ice, with my chocolate bars handy and Gilmore Girl episodes playing on TV, I have managed to drag myself out for a run every 2 or 3 days. It’s been doing wonders for my mental health (and other people’s personal safety) but very, very little for my injured legs.

I guess it wouldn’t be a massive overstatement to say I’m not exactly smart when it comes to recovery.

(Whatever. I’m a different kind of smart. Just ask my mum.)

(Please don’t ask my mum. I’m not entirely sure where she sits on that issue.)

Anyway. the point is that I feel like I’ve been stuck in a perpetual loop of running injuries for a while now, which is not a great place to be. Ever the practical one, though, I’ve identified the stuff I’ve been doing wrong and listed it all here so you can ensure you don’t end up like me.

1. Running

If you’re injured, don’t run. I’m not talking about tired legs, feel free to run on those, you big badass. But proper pain? Stay home. Put some cushions at the end of the bed, park your ass on it, legs up, 2L ice cream tub in hand. You’re good. Stay there for a while. Running when you’re injured would be very, very stupid, as I’ve discovered.

2. Skiing

Don’t go skiing, that’s stupid. I went skiing a few weeks ago when my left ITB was complaining. You know me, always testing shit out in the name of science. The conclusion, based on the empirical evidence collected during this experiment, is: NO.

brain

3. Bungy jumping

No bungy jumping. Definitely no bungy jumping. I did that last Sunday. At first I thought “SGG, you smart mofo. This is a brilliant idea that will stretch all your muscles and put everything back in its place”. I had this whole theory about how bungy jumps should be the new quick-fix alternative to massages. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good massage as much as the next middle-class white chick with a not-great-but-decidedly-above-average amount of disposable income, but I thought I’d found an alternative that would cost about the same and take way less time to get done. Well, wouldn’t that just be another giant sack of no.

4. Wearing high heels

No high heels. I know, that makes me want to cry too. Except I’ve worn high heels twice this week for two full days and the extra pain I got from those made me want to cry even more. For now, they’ll just have to sit in the closet, looking pretty. So pretty.

giphy

5. Forgetting to ice, elevate, compress, etc, etc, etc.

Ice the shit out of your legs. I get home every evening convinced that I’m going to spend at least a good half hour bonding with a bag of frozen vegetables. Then I sit down and decide that I can’t be bothered getting up again and walking to the freezer for them (a friend today called me “the laziest long distance runner” he’d ever met and I’m afraid he might have a point).

iwanttonotdothings

6. Not listening to the body

I’ve been going through a bit of denial when it comes to all this pain. Most of the time I pretend it’s not even there. Sometimes I convince myself it’s gone. Listen to your body. But listen for longer than a few minutes. I’ve been all “yay, my legs haven’t hurt at all for the last two hours! I must be cured! Let’s go running!”. Yeah… no.

7. Signing up for last-minute running events because I’m weak and can’t help myself

I’ve got a half marathon to run this Sunday, a half marathon to run the Sunday after, a relay at the end of next month and a bunch of other plans for other runs. I’m officially, undeniably, utterly, hopelessly addicted to the rush you get from confirming your registration to an event and adding it to your calendar. I think it’s safe to assume that none of my two upcoming half marathons will help my injuries and it’s probably not crazy to think they might actually make them worse.

I-immediately-regret-this-decision-anchorman

8. Treating my stomach like a dumpster

The problem with being injured is that I’m wasting precious training time for Tarawera. Since I can’t run, I should probably be doing other stuff that will impact my performance on the day, like sleeping properly or eating healthier. Except, lolz. Maybe after this cupcake.

idratherhaveahotdog

9. Refusing to see a doctor

Go to the doctor. Don’t be an idiot and go to the doctor. Don’t be this particular idiot who is refusing to go see the doctor because the doctor will probably say she can’t run for a while and then she’s going to have to punch the doctor in the face and no one wants to see that happening (especially because, in case you forgot, he’s actually a pretty cool guy).

10. Obsessing over these injuries

I spend an average of 92.6% of my waking hours checking to see if my legs still hurt. Hang on a second. Yep, still hurting. Doing this, surprisingly, will not make them heal any faster.

And now that I’ve given you a bunch of hypocritical advice that I’m probably going to continue to ignore, I’m going to sort the stuff for the half marathon I’m running on Sunday. Just me, my shin splints and my retarded IT band.

P.s.: I keep meaning to mention and then getting distract by checking whether my legs still hurt or not (9:18pm update: they still hurt) but, in case you haven’t seen it yet, go check out my article in the Guardian and, if you’re in New Zealand, go grab the latest Wilderness magazine and check out my profile of the amazing Ruby Muir in the latest issue of NZ Trail Runner. DO IT!

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24 thoughts on “A list of things you definitely shouldn’t do while dealing with a running injury

  1. I will add to this…don’t Morris Dance in 2kg (each) boots if you are injured…no matter how much fun it is…it doesn’t help…even with 800mg ibrupophen and a heat patch and some paracetamol…it is not a good idea…

    not that i did that earlier this year…

    not at all…

    I would have loved it if your bungee jumping alternative to massage worked out…it sounds so much more fun!!

  2. Huh…you would think maybe Bungee Jumping would help. Nice stretch of the IT Band and all as you free fall. Good luck on getting back on what you should be doing. :)

  3. Tough luck with the injuries. I can understand how difficult it is to rest up when injured. I think the hardest thing for a runner to do is to not run – it drives us insane! I’m tempted to try to offer some good advice but clearly I’d be wasting my time so I’ll just wish you luck for Sunday. I did Tarawera earlier this year and it is truly amazing event so hope your injuries come right so you can run it. It might encourage you to know that I turned up at Tarawera with an injury (to some muscle in the sole of my foot that I can’t remember the name of) and wasn’t sure if I’d last the first kilometre but managed to complete it no problem. I got some professional treatment and learnt to strap it properly and that was the key. There, I couldn’t resist giving some advice.

  4. As someone who runs more for my mental health than my physical health, I completely and fully understand this.

    You may need a very good source of stress relief. (Consider getting a punching bag?)

    But I’ve also dropped out of half marathons before. That $$ you paid for Tarawera, and getting to enjoy all of it, will be worth much more than the short-term gratification from running your upcoming half marathons. So…get some rest! And then you’ll be better and not lose all that quality training time! :)

  5. SGG, you crack me up considerably, and I love reading your blog, but our relationship may be doomed. Why? Several reasons.

    1. I will give you every split for every mile for every race I run. Including a 31 mile race. I will also describe each mile in detail. I do this so I can remember it. Apparently, some other folks enjoy reading it. Whatever you do, DO NOT click to my blog. Please. Don’t.

    2. You are a running coach’s nightmare. I’m pulling my hair out just reading this. Give up the damned half-marathon registrations. EYE ON THE PRIZE. [Prize = Tarawera.] Please, PLEASE don’t give me a reason to come down there and knock some sense into you.*

    3. Whatever you do, DO NOT put that IT band on a foam roller. And DEFINITELY don’t apple The Stick to your splinty shin. Absolutely not. Nada. EVER.

    *Then again, I adore NZ. So keep doing crazy stuff, I’m sure it’ll work out great. And give me an excuse to come knock some sense into you. And tell you about EVERY ONE of the 31 miles I ran last Saturday. EVERY. ONE.

    • Holly, stop pulling your hair, my dear.

      1. If there’s a description, I love reading them. I love writing detailed recaps of my runs too. When I talk about other people’s splits and paces and etc, I’m talking about those that only list numbers and tell me nothing else about it, training log style. It’s great if it works for them, as a way of recording it, just not something I’m personally interested in reading. So DO TELL ME MORE ABOUT THOSE 31 MILES, YOU BADASS RUNNER!

      2. Come down to NZ! Now! Are you on your way yet?

      • Click to the blog, lady. There are 7,000 words (TWO PARTS!) about every.gory.mile. And, the (imaginary) company I kept during each one. Welcome to my head. :)

  6. I do feel your pain! I sprained my ankle just the teeniest tiniest bit racing last week and after a long, cold, muddy, slippy run in the dark with dying headtorch batteries last night, I now have a whopping great big sprained ankle:(

  7. I love your posts because you are sassy, sarcastic and fun!! I don’t love your running injuries, sorry :( Take care of yourself and for realz go see a doctor!! Feel better.

  8. Don’t go and see a doctor, they idiots. My doctor (or rather the locum that was there on xmas Eve) told me to stop running because of a sore knee 4 weeks out from my Ironman race and 12 weeks out from Tarawera last year. I went to a sports physio instead (my osteo was closed). He gave me some exercises, showed me how to strap it up and I successfully completed both events. Most GP seem to know nothing about sports injuries

  9. One thing on the ‘to do’ side, if you need to run injured… find an under-prepared asthmatic runner with no inhaler to run with…. this is a really cool solution as you get to chat with someone interesting for 2 and a quarter hours and run/walk at a pace that does not aggravate the injury – worked for me… until I went out the next day and blasted a 1:45 half and undid all the good work!

    • Bahaha nice one Mike – the sarcasm that is, not the aggravated injury! Can’t nag you SGG – I’m no good at resting injuries either – hopefully sheer bloody-mindedness will help us towards the finish!!

  10. I like Holly’s ‘Eye on the prize’ thinking best. But it’s so damn hard isn’t it? I couldn’t resist my local 5k parkrun this morning even though my minor foot injury hasn’t fully healed. At least I made the decision to walk there and back this week instead of running the whole lot.

    I didn’t know there was a Waitakerie half until recently and that’s my old stomping ground so I’m jealous. The course looks a good mix of both road and footpath trails away from traffic and even a lap around an athletics track so at least you won’t be bored.

    So if you’re going to run tomorrow then grit ya teef and have fun. Good luck to everyone running (or hobbling) this weekend.

  11. I feel your pain and I love number 10. Every time I stand up these days I wonder if my knee is going to be sore. I don’t know how I would react if I stood up and my injury had suddenly healed!

  12. number 6 is the one for me

  13. Awesome as always! I’ve definitely missed reading your updates during your no-posting phase.
    Love the fact that you didn’t post your lunch cause you ate it.
    Congrats on your article in the Guardian and great to see you contributing to NZ trail runner mag.

    As for the injuries, I have no advice, refreshing aye!

  14. I cannot judge. I have done all of these things while injured. Except bungee jumping. That shit’s just crazy.

    Here’s hoping you heal up quickly so you can stop obsessing and get back to running.

  15. Youre crazy, lol 😊

    rest, but don’t eat ice cream lol

  16. I broke like half these rules when i was injured. I found out that i really should not have

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