Contributed by Kelli Hashimoto, a 2018 Ambassador for the Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon and Berkeley Half Marathon.
Imagine this: you are getting excited to start training for your upcoming race and just like that, you find yourself dealing with a nagging injury.
For us runners, being injured is the absolute worst thing that can happen and it always seems to happen at the worst possible time. Do not fret–the comeback is always stronger than the setback.
From plantar fasciitis to runner’s knee to tendonitis; I feel like I have experienced it all. The process will be difficult and will test your willpower…but it is so worth it.
Here are some helpful tips when coming back from an injury…
Do not run through the pain
Any lingering pain? Stop now. Recovering from your injury is more important than running through the pain on a single training run. Take extra rest days between runs and add more cross-training. This is the best advice that I was given from my physical therapist.
Consult a professional
It seems like many runners hate going to a doctor or a physical therapist but I have learned to go right away. My physical therapist will tell me if it is safe for me to run on an injury without making it worse, hence the advice above.
Be patient and trust the process
Aside from the first tip, this is the most important piece of advice to listen to. You may still be in top shape depending on your injury but your body will not be as ready to jump back in right away. Take it slow and strive for progress. Don’t worry if your training plan says to run 10 miles. No one knows your body better than you so listen to it, and be smart about training.
Realign your goals
Here’s a difficult one as you may have been aiming for a PR before the injury struck. Check in and be honest with yourself. Is your goal still realistic? Maybe it is but also know that it is perfectly fine to realign your goals.
Being able to run healthy is one of the most rewarding feelings a person can experience. The issue with trying to do it right a lot of the time is that you’re pushing the line between safety and excellence. However, pushing through injury-based pain is a sure way to make sure you’re sidelined for long durations of time. Alternately, pushing through effort-based pain is what makes us tough as runners.