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Dealing with running injuries like a grown-up

7 May 2022

For someone who has been a runner for 27 years, I’ve been lucky. I’ve had no major injuries and, looking back, my few minor ones have only taken me a handful of weeks to get over. So when I got a calf strain after the Stamford 30k, was I super-chilled and cool about it? Reader, I was not.

Injury face

I felt despondent. More than half-way through a training block for Brighton marathon, with seven weeks and two long runs to go, I was just getting fit and strong for the first time in two years. I felt like an idiot for pushing too hard in the 30k (justified), and worried that I would never run without pain again (absolutely not justified).

12 weeks later, everything is different. Yes, I deferred my marathon place, but I actually only stopped running for about ten days and the injury is gone. On Sunday I ran a 10k in my third fastest time ever. Spring is here and every run is a joy. Is it possible that I might take some lessons from this? Doubtful, but just in case, here are a few:

Langtoft 10k – 7th woman!

Good ways to deal with a running injury

  • Just foam roll it, it’ll be fine
  • Ask an instagram influencer what to do about it
  • Tape it up like that guy on youtube
  • Just run through it!

Joke. Actual good ways to deal with a running injury

  • Get an expert opinion. If you can afford it, see a physio for a diagnosis of the problem and advice on exercises and treatment. And if you have money to spend on new trainers or kit you don’t absolutely need, you can afford a physio appointment.
  • Stop running. If it’s not improving, and especially if it’s getting worse, STOP. Cycle, walk or swim if they don’t hurt, and you want to get out of breath or be outside.
  • Be kind to yourself. Running is not the only reason you get to eat chocolate or feel proud of yourself. In fact, as you’re missing those running endorphins you deserve to do *more* – not less – of the things that bring you joy. Have the cake.
  • Think long-term. It feels like running has turned to shit forever, but what if it’s good? This could be sorted in weeks or even days. Maybe you’ll do all those physio exercises everyday and turn into Kipchoge? It could happen! Give it time, and remember that it won’t be much time at all, looking back.
  • Remember there will be other races. It absolutely sucks to miss a big race, but not as much as it sucks to run one while in pain. Also, there are plenty of things that suck about races: the nerves, the plastic waste, the toilet queues. With luck, you can go for a quiet, no-pressure run on race day to remind yourself of why you do it.
  • Do something less boring instead. Suddenly have time on your hands? Do something with it. Call your parents; knit a scarf; read a book; see a friend; join a swanky overpriced gym!
Pilates with a glass of wine? Why not?

Hope you, and future me, find these ground-breaking insights helpful. I’m just off to cancel that gym membership.

NB Proper injury advice is available from your local physio, mine is the excellent Preston’s Health.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 7 May 2022 6:24 pm

    What a fabulous piece of writing Gina! Stories are so powerful and they sell hope: thank you so much for sharing your experience and the mention. I think its really an important message for people to hear.

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