Being injured is a lot like falling off a ladder. You may only fall down a few rungs or your ass might hit the ground. Either way, eventually you find yourself climbing back up agsin to where you were, maybe even hoping to go further this time around.
Being injured and recovering from injury each have their unique challenges. When you're injured you agonize over when you might be better and how you might get there. When you're recovering you fear having a setback. Luckily I'm fully into recovery now. Five full weeks into it. Five weeks that I've been running again. When I fell off the ladder though, I feel all the way to the bottom. I start with one mile, then two, then three, etc, etc. It's terribly slow and it feels like you will never get back to where you were. Patience is of the utmost importance.
Now five weeks after that miraculous one mile test run I'm feeling more comfortable with the miles, but there are some other things I have to deal with. There are certain rungs on the ladder that I have to face up to one at a time.
1) Back-to-back runs
Once upon a time I ran six days a week. While I'd like to get there again, I'm more interested in getting back to base, which would be running on Tue, Wed, Thurs and Sat, Sun. Finally, after 4.5 weeks of running every other day I finally ran two days in a row. It was the most terrifying 4 miles of my life, but it turned out fine. Last spring when I was injured I started running multiple days in a row after only two or three weeks, but this time I felt more hesitant.
2) Getting off the treadmill
Never before in my life have a logged so many treadmill miles. In fact, in the past five weeks I've only logged treadmill miles. 55 of them in January and 35 so far this month to be exact. I think before this the longest consecutive run I'd ever done on the treadmill was 5 miles on vacation when it was too hot to run outside. Last Sunday I peeled through 8. While that might be a little much for my attention span, I've actually started to like the treadmill for shorter runs. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited to hit the road again, but I'm terrified of it. The treadmill is my safe haven. My cushy, bouncey, speed-controlled running home. Outside there are pavement, hills, uneven surface. Insanity!
3) Wardrobe diversity
The first week I was running again I wore compression shorts during every run. Whether or not they were really keeping my IT band in line, mentally they made me feel secure. Fast forward to today and I'm still wearing those damn shorts during every run. They are awesome (seriously, you should try them !), and they were a staple of my post-run recovery during JFK training, but I have got to stop relying on them. Just like the treadmill, I don't feel safe without them. Mentally, however, I know I need to let go (not to mention all of my Lululemon clothes are feeling neglected).
It's hard to know when your body is ready to move to the next level, but the lesson is that if you never try, you'll never know. Obviously there was a time when these three things came easy to me. One day they will again.
What have you struggled with during recovery from injury?