Coping with Injury: February 20-26

I won’t call this a “weekly rundown” when I’m not running.

For over two years, I was injury free. I had the occasional aches, pains, and niggles that come from training hard- but nothing that a sports massage and a few days off running wouldn’t fix. I ran 5-6 days a week, did yoga, strength trained, “listened to my body”, and focused on recovery. I improved my PRs substantially in 5K-half marathon and set out to train for a marathon.

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When I started running in 2010, I ran a 5K in 31-33 minutes. My last 5K was a 21:23, after a week of hard training. When anyone asked me what my secret to improving was, I told them it was consistent training.

In the past three months, I’ve had two injuries (ITBS and now peroneal tendonitis), five weeks of actual training, and one surprise half marathon PR. I’ve spent more money on treating my ITBS and peroneal tendonitis than race registrations. I’ve deferred a race, DNSed a race, and am about to DNS another.

My training has been anything but consistent. I trained smart, but sometimes, shit happens. I feel like a fraud.

TWW

Monday 60 min. stationary bike + ankle/heel PT
Tuesday Sports Massage + 1 mile walk + ankle/heel PT
Wednesday 60 min. arc trainer + ITBS Rehab Routine + ankle/heel PT
Thursday 15 min. stair climber + 45 min. elliptical + 60 min. BodyPump
Friday 60 min. elliptical + ankle/heel PT
Saturday 60 min. BodyPump + yardwork (raking is legit cardio)
Sunday 60 min. elliptical + 3.1 mile test run + ankle/heel PT

I won’t recap my activities this week. Cross training is cross training. It’s what injured runners do so they don’t lose too much fitness gain too much weight.

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Tuesday morning, I got a sports massage on my heel, ankle, and lower legs. I went to a new massage therapist that a friend recommended to me, and she did a great job. Frances was able to squeeze me into her schedule really quickly, which is a big deal when you’re injured! She told me to walk that afternoon and focus on NOT landing on the side of my foot and showed me a few other exercises to help strengthen my foot muscles.

Wednesday, I went to The Foot Store in Mt. Pleasant and got a heel wedge orthotic for my left foot. Carolyn was super helpful, and if you are an injured runner in Charleston, I highly recommend going there for any inserts, orthotics, or shoes you may need- they even do custom orthotics in the store. Here’s my heel wedge- it goes under the sock liner of my left shoe.

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By Thursday, my ankle pain was decreasing a lot, thanks to the massage, pain medicine, and the orthotics. It still hurts when I wake up in the mornings, which makes it hard to decide to run, even though the pain decreases later in the day.

On Sunday, I could only stand 60 minutes on the elliptical. I’d planned for 90, since I’m trying to get in at least one long endurance session each week to make long runs a bit easier when I start running again. Since I quit early and didn’t have any issues, I decided to test out my foot with a 3.1 mile run from home. I conveniently timed it around my pain medicine.

I ran at a slower pace but the run was anything but easy. My ankle hurt a bit during and after the run. Mostly, I felt fat and out of shape. The risk just wasn’t worth the reward (or lack thereof), especially when I know I can get a good workout on the cardio machines at the gym without risking injury.

I think I’ll skip running for a few more days and keep cross training until I go insane…

I’m linking up with Holly at Hohoruns and Tricia at MississippiPiddlin‘ for their weekly wrap link. Check it out here. I’m also linking up with Courtney of Eat, Pray, Run, DC. You can check those posts out here.

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40 Responses to Coping with Injury: February 20-26

  1. Hollie says:

    I’m glad you’re able to cross train Amy. Ankle injuries are not pleasent and I know you’ll come back stronger. Never feel like a fraud, we all go through these things. Running can never define you.

  2. laurenweiner says:

    Keep up the good work! Cross training and PT is never fun even though you know its the best thing for you! I’m with you on the yard work. Raking is HARD.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      It is! I wound up with blisters on my hand too, yikes. I never get blisters running but every time I get injured, I seem to wind up with blisters from other activities- one time it was opening water bottles when I was volunteering at a race.

  3. I’m not sure why you feel like a fraud! You’re very candid in your blog posts. We’ve all been injured… we will all be injured again. It’s just part of being a runner! It sucks. I’m glad you’re able to cross train but believe me, I know it’s not the same!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, everyone gets injured. I feel bad for Shalane not being able to run Boston. Injuries even happen to the pros and they have coaches, therapies, etc that the rest of us mere mortals don’t have. The past few months have just been really tough with running, and I feel very alone not seeing most of my friends.

  4. Dang. I don’t blame you for getting off the elliptical at 60 minutes. I would have a very VERY difficult time staying on the bike or the elliptical for any longer than 30 minutes. That takes some extra mental strength. Maybe this is your mental strength development time! I dunno. Shit certainly does happen sometimes, eh? Boo.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I know, but I want to stay on longer because it will help when I get back to long runs. It was really difficult after my last injury when I would run over an hour because I never did more than an hour of cardio in the gym.

      It’s really hard to cross train on the machines, but I keep telling myself it will help me when I get back to running.

  5. 😦 sorry to hear you are still down. But recovery is best, then come back even better!

  6. When I was 10 years younger the elliptical was my go to at the gym and I had no problem with 60 minute workouts. I tried to use one for cross training a few years ago during an injury and it was so completely boring that I quit in about 5 minutes and decided I’d rather be out of shape than suffer through that. In short, I applaud your ability to stick with your cross training so diligently. I hope you are back to running soon.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I work out at Planet Fitness, so I have TV to watch at least. Plus with phones and free wi-fi in almost every gym, you can text, browse Facebook, watch TV, etc. I used to do the elliptical a lot when I was younger, circa 2009ish, and before I started running.

      I hope I’m back to running soon too, and that the pain in my ankle will decrease. Above all, it stinks to wake up in pain.

  7. I think it’s so hard because for a lot of us (myself included) a big part of our identities are wrapped up in running. I try to remember that running is just one thing I do, not who I am, but the truth is it’s a huge part of my life. I think I’d feel similarly to you if I was sidelined. All that said, I’m constantly amazed by how positive and proactive you are!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I’m glad you understand. You’re right about our identitites being wrapped up in running. I know that I’m more than just a runner, as we are all mutli-faceted people, but sometimes I feel that’s how others see me, too. My job is having a Zombie Step Challenge, and I got invited to join so many teams, including coworkers I’ve never personally met (they work in house and I’m remote). Everyone who found out or knew I was running 40-50 mpw figured they wanted me on their team so they could win. I’ve honestly never had so many coworkers reach out to me and send me emails about something that wasn’t product/bug/enhancement related.

      I am trying to be positive about it. The injury could be a lot worse, and there are worse things in life than an athletic injury. But, knowing and admitting that still means I take my injury and treating it very seriously. In the end, we only have one body and it has to last us forever.

  8. Amy, I’m so sorry about your injury. Sometimes these things happen and they are just awful. You’re being so proactive with your cross training, massage, medicine, and getting a wedge orthotic. Really, you’re doing everything you can and that’s the best you can do!

    Also, when I read “raking is legit cardio” I cracked up. So true though!

  9. Sorry to hear that you’re still having trouble with the ankle, despite that you’ve had a great week of cross training. Wishing you a speedy recovery and fingers crossed you come back stronger!

  10. pondernwonder says:

    Sorry to hear about your injuries. I think you’re being smart about taking extra time off from running. For all you know, you might bounce back stronger!! Sending good vibes for a speedy recovery.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks. I don’t know that I’ll bounce back stronger, but hopefully I won’t lose too much by ellipticalling and arc trainering. It sucks not running, but I can use this time to work on other things.

  11. Liz says:

    You should not feel like a fraud! Anybody who trains at anything for this long will face injuries at some point, no matter how careful you are. I think continuing to cross-train is smart. I never want to take pain meds before working out, because I feel like even though it’ll feel fine at the time, I’m just inhibiting the healing process.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I took my pain meds after working out- but I take them so often (3x a day) and work out so often that it’s always sorta in my system, I guess.

      I found some new stuff to watch on Netflix and make my cross training a bit more bearable, at least.

  12. Coco says:

    I’ve battled ITBS and PF and both can be as stubborn as any runner. Your cross training will pay off and hopefully is saving your sanity for now!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I hope so! Honestly the cross training isn’t so bad if I have something good to watch on TV. I also chat on my phone/messenger while cross training and it helps to pass the time.

  13. Tracy says:

    I’m so sorry you’re going through an injury! I spent a few months with a random one last year after a couple years of glorious, injury-free running, and it was really frustrating waking up every day hoping I’d be able to run and then not being able to. I spent a lot of time on the cardio machines at the gym, which obviously isn’t the same, but I think it helped! I actually kind of grew to love the elliptical since it was the only thing I could do that made me feel like I was running.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      It is frustrating to wake up and know you can’t run. Plus, it takes up a LOT of time to cross train. I have to drive to the gym and it’s 15 minutes each way. That’s not a bad drive, but it adds up when you go every day, and I could run from home. I can get my heart rate up pretty well on the elliptical and arc trainer and those machines don’t hurt.

  14. I am SO very sorry to hear of your injury. Believe me when I say, I’ve been there. One thing I can tell you is that when you resume running, you will feel awkward at first but keep going. After a week or two, your body “remembers”!! That muscle memory thing is a real thing, I am proof it it. Hang in there sista – sending you healing vibes!!!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, back in 2014 I was out for several weeks with a stress reaction and it felt weird to start running again, but my body got used to it quickly. I don’t have any expectations for running post-injury, just to get some mileage in and not care about pace or time because I know that will come with consistency and getting back to training.

  15. Elizabeth C. says:

    I agree with you that the risk of testing the foot was probably not worth the reward. I know how tempting it can be to want to test something, but I think if you make a deal with yourself that you will not run for “x days straight” and only run after that if it feels 100% might work. I’m here to say that after 3 months of zero physical activity, my fitness came back relatively quickly- and I am sure yours will too, especially since you are doing cross training. Hang in there and I hope to give you a big sweaty hug on Saturday.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Well, I hadn’t had a ton of pain on Friday and Saturday so I thought I was safe, but I knew pretty quickly it was hurting and should have stopped and just walked back to the house. I don’t think any runner wants to do that walk of shame back home, though. I’m hoping the podiatrist today can do something else for my pain. I’d totally take a cortisone shot at this point…

  16. Mary says:

    I was diagnosed by a podiatrist (also a runner) 3 years ago with peroneal tendinitis who prescribed custom-made half orthotics. It took 4 weeks for them to arrive after he took the molds, but he said I could continue running and not make it worse. He said tendinitis is just persistent. In my case, he was right. The runs didn’t feel great, and I didn’t run as much, but I haven’t had a problem since I started wearing the orthotics. I know you mentioned your podiatrist sent you home with orthotics, but did he/she suggest the custom ones? (I wear the Brooks Launch…first the Launch 1s for years and now the 4s with great luck in conjunction with the orthotics. I know you have worn the 3s so maybe a consideration?)

    • Amy Lauren says:

      He did suggest custom orthotics, although they are $450 and I’m not sure my insurance will pay, so I didn’t order them when I was there. I got temporary ones to test out, and have been wearing those. I can tell that I’m not walking on the outside of my left foot as much, but the pain is still there.

      I think the orthotics and various peroneal tendon strengthening exercises will be a great long-term solution. The worst thing is the pain- I feel like the test run on Sunday set me back, honestly, as my pain came back with a vegeance. Icing has helped a little by basically making my whole foot numb (haha). The pain meds help but I’m taking more than what was prescribed.

      Also, I run in the Launch! I alternate between that and the PureFlow, as well as the New Balance Zante. The Launch is a great shoe. I really appreciate your advice and concern, too- thanks for responding and I’m glad you were able to continue to run and overcome PT.

      • Mary says:

        The sticker shock is hard to stomach (mine were covered by insurance, but my husband recently got a pair of orthotics and we have switched insurances so his weren’t covered…eek…)

        Stay positive! You’re being proactive so you’ll make progress.

  17. HoHo Runs says:

    I’ve been on the injury train more times than I care to admit. And yes, I’ve had ankle injuries too (stress fracture, sprains, Achilles tendonitis, etc.) Funny, I once wore the back part of an extra insole inside my running shoe to lift my ankle during one of my injuries. I didn’t know they made those. LOL. Regardless of how smart we think we train, how carefully we listen to our bodies — injuries just happen! My favorite injury mantra? Bodies Heal. Hang in there. Thanks for linking, Amy!

  18. supereli23 says:

    Ugh, injuries are the worst but at least you are handling yours well and focusing on the big picture (rest now so you can run later). Peroneal tendonitis is no fun, I always recommend doing quite a bit of retraining of the foot intrinsic muscles to better control and support the “core” of the foot/ankle in addition to working on improving balance/proprioceptive control of the ankle. Good luck and hope you feel better soon!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, I think my PT exercises with the thera-band will help. It’s strengthening that particular tendon, which I’ve had several people tell me is much weaker than the right side. I also think my knee issues were probably a bottom-up issue from this same ankle, so I’m hoping strengthening it will nip all the left-side injuries I’ve had in the bud…

      And if you have any YouTube videos or recommended exercises for peroneal tendonitis, send em my way. I’m always up to try it.

  19. You should not feel like a fraud. Injuries happen to all of us and you are doing an amazing job getting tons of crass training in.

  20. Gracie says:

    Injuries happen! They suck, but you’ll come back. Just take the time off and keep up the PT. You’ll be back soon, and you’ll get your fitness back fast.

  21. thelostmango says:

    Hope you are definitely alright now! The dedication though! I definitely love your blog name! haha. Im Chy from https://thelostmango.com Nice to meet you! XOXO

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