So this Thursday marks 5 weeks since the real stress fracture diagnosis but it’s been 8 weeks today since I’ve REALLY run. I am itching to get outside and be free again to run through the quiet morning streets. I’m being very patient with my rehab (as patient is for me!). I don’t plan on running until I can hop pain free for two weeks. I think the way things are at this point it will be another 4 weeks. Maybe 3, but I don’t want to rush anything. Technically when you are 1 week pain free you can run but I’m going to wait an extra week.
So what have I been doing with my non running time for fitness? Biking. A lot of biking. Pretty much daily riding with a day off every week or two. Riding my trainer with Trainer Road app and riding the bike at the gym. I also had the odd outdoor ride but with it being dark and colder and not being able to stand up and pedal I preferred the safety of the indoor trainer. It’s funny that you will do something that you normally wouldn’t enjoy (gym bikes) if it’s your only option. Yes, I could swim and water run, but the pool I use has a very small deep end so it makes water running even more mind numbing than it is. My daughter did ask me to go to the pool with her last week so we did and she played around me while I ran a bit and swam 500m for the first time in over a year! It felt good when I was done but it’s not something I love to do anymore. After 18 hrs of tolerating swimming for triathlon, I gave it up last year in favour of weights and yoga. Only so much time in my days.
This week I hope to test out short bits on the rolling staircase and the Arc Trainer which I have never used at my gym but after doing some reading seems like a better alternative for runners than the elliptical. Then if these go well I will start some early morning sessions at the gym to vary my cardio from the bike trainer! I can’t do weights in the morning as my body just feels too stiff but cardio I love for getting my day going (well that and coffee!).
As for silver linings…..I’m still trying to find if for this go around. Last time (pelvic stress fracture in May 2014), I realized I was harming myself by overtraining, focusing more on results, the need to workout even when I felt tired and maintaining a certain body type. Since 2014, I have put on a good amount of weight, reduced my stress levels with yoga, started to respect myself more, listen better to my body and it’s needs and adjusted my training to lessen the load from running. However by cutting back on distance but continuing with intensity (under a coached guidance). So I guess what I’m learning this time is patience and that even when I tried to change factors it doesn’t protect me from the inevitable that many runners face.
It is suspected that this stress fracture is from my poor foot mechanics after my surgery for bunions almost 5 years ago. Add the speed work and racing and perhaps not having enough cushion in my shoe. So now what have I decided to do? Cut out speed work. Up the cushion to my shoes. Race for the fun of it vs. needing to be competitive. I guess one comes to realize that as much as the brain wants to go in one direction, the limits of your body say another and ultimately that is the one that wins. My body is telling me my feet can’t handle the weekly speed work. I’ll just be so happy to be able to run a few times a week at whatever pace feels good for me on that day and if I choose to jump into a race it will be for the pure pleasure of participation not race times.
This morning I read an article in the December Runners World. It was an interview with a guy who’s been uninjured since 1978. He mentions no speed work, quick cadence and small vertical displacement, running by feel and easing into his pace. All these things are what I will do (I already use that type of stride) in order to hopefully run injury free for many years to come.
When you are recovering from bigger injuries I find it important to connect yourself with others who understand what you are going through and can work through your rehab alongside them. I’ve done this again on this injury and it really does help you feel like you are not alone.
Here’s to the next phase of recovery and getting back out there soon with another progressive run walk program .