Returning from a Stress Fracture
This is the biggest, probably most exciting week of November for me.
I GET TO START RUNNING AGAIN!
I has been a long haul and even though there have been a few moments where I ran here and there as I knew my stress fractures were healing, I have more or less stayed completely away from impact sports for the past 10 weeks.
Failing that one time that I saw Danielle was gunning for a PR and paced her for the very last leg of her half marathon…
I would be lying if I said it was easy, but I think it is high time to do a followup on my treatment, what I did and what I am doing to prevent it from happening again.
So, a little bit of back tracking. It was first suggested to me that I might have stress fractures on September 5. I immediately booked an xray and bone scan and found out that I had fractures in both legs on September 15. I waited to write this post until September 29.
Let me reiterate that to you. I have not been training since September 5 and it has felt a bit like this:
I have been trying hard to stay focused on being strong, on resting and recovering, and on making a game plan to make sure I remain healthy in my training going forward.
I have worked with professionals. I have been going to my physiotherapist for acupuncture, stride analysis and ultrasound treatment as well as seeing my coach to lay out my game plan for 2015 and for active release therapy. I have visited both professionals every other week and both have worked with me to develop a slow and gradual return to training. I have also tried out a new-to-me professional to work on my bone strength and rehabilitation called an Osteopath.
I have strengthened my weak areas. I took a look at past injuries this season and focused on my problem areas which are calf strength and glutes. I have been doing lots of deadlifts, squats and lunges as well as monster walks and calf raises at Goodlife Fitness to make sure that I return stronger than ever.
I have rested. I have treated the past 10 weeks like an off season. I have been more relaxed about my food, (for instance, I don’t drink alcohol at all during training, but I have enjoyed the occasional after-work beer with my coworkers over the past number of weeks.)
I have also made sure I get adequate sleep and made sure my schedule hasn’t been too jam packed. I have read. Watched tv. Taken the long way to work. These are all things that leave the people in my life scratching their heads and wondering what has happened to me as taking it easy is out of character for me (which is perhaps why I got the fractures in the first place!)
Being injured can play with your psyche as a runner. You can end up feeling a bit like a fraud or feel a loss of identity if it was a huge part of who were were before your injury. It is for this very reason why, although I love running more than most things, I am also a adventure racer, a rock climber, a cyclist, a mountain biker, a martial artist, a swimmer and the list goes on. It is dangerous to only have one thing you enjoy, because injuries happen whether we want them or not.
I focused on learning something new. I signed up for the local Masters swim group and began learning the proper form and movements to swim well. I don’t love swimming, smelling chlorine or wearing a wet bathing suit regularly, but it gave me a great way to stay strong as an athlete and enabled me to keep my fitness base.
I made goals that were outside of running. Not running was driving me nuts, so I began focusing on beating my 200 m times in swimming, learning the proper terms and new approaches to orienteering and researching bikes for my next purchase. All of these things made me a stronger athlete and allowed me to keep my mind focused on something other than the fact that I was injured.
I remained a part of the running community. Although I couldn’t race myself, it was vital for me to still be out there on the race course, supporting my running friends and being a part of the race day excitement. It was good to be a spectator and not a racer to get a different viewpoint of the races.
My return from my stress fracture will be slow and steady, but because I have rested, strengthened and taken the proper time, I will return a better athlete and runner with my eyes laser focused on Boston 2015!
What have you done during injuries to keep yourself sane and healthy?