Archive for the ‘Q & A’ Category
I am a collegiate runner in my last season of cross country, so it’s really important to make this year special. I just had a race this weekend and I went into it sick. Mentally, I just wasn’t there, knowing that my performance would not be where I would want it to be. I ended up going through the race really slow and ended up dropping out with about 1500m to go. I had some issues with mental confidence last year and I’m really not hoping to go down that road again. Have you ever dropped out of a race? How do you mentally recover from something like that? I really would appreciate your help. We are traveling in two weeks to compete again and I want to be ready. Thanks.
Thanks for posting a question and I’m REALLY happy you asked this. My first question for you is this: Why is it important that this year be special? So what if it’s your last year of college? What does that matter? For best results, let’s start by getting specific.
Just because something is the “last” of something doesn’t mean it will summon greateness. Forget the timeline. It only adds stress and pressure. Pretend you will run forever, and that this year matters because you’ve worked hard and you’re ready to experience the high of a breakthrough. Think about the specific things that motivate you. Is it your team? Do you want to leave a legacy? Do you want to be a contributing part of something special? Do you want to look back on this year and say “That was the year I really gave it my all. I was so determined and tough and had fun every single race, taking nothing for granted.”
Spend five minutes thinking about that and write down your own reasons why it matters to you. Narrow it down to three things you can control. Being specific is helpful. It’s like zooming in on google maps…you want to get close enough to see the street names so you don’t have to guess where you’re going.
We already know that one of those things that you care about for this year is being mentally tough. You struggled with it last year, and I’m gathering that your last race is getting under your skin because you’re worried the “old you” is still lurking there, waiting to ruin your season. Oh man, I totally know what that’s about!
Let me assure you that no matter how long you run, you’ll always have at least 2 or 3 moments per season where you think you’re screwed. These moments make you feel like you’re really just the same old weak athlete with yesterday’s issues. Why does this happen? As athletes, we are very accustomed to looking around for external evidence that we are progressing towards our goals: faster workouts, easier efforts, more mileage, a higher finish. This is an easy way to build confidence. The problem is we get too used to looking at external things to determine our confidence, and when those two or three bad things happen per year, we can let them ruin everything. We give too much weight to these bad races, or moments of weakness. The solution? In addition to external sources of confidence, we need to develop strong internal sources of confidence. This is done by subtly shifting the way you think about things.
Personal Example: I remember in 2006, I had trouble doing 1k repeats at racepace. I was doing GREAT at all my other workouts, but 1k reps were terrible every time. In my mind, I let those 1k reps be the big bad wolf, blowing down the house I built all year; it destroyed my confidence and season. I dropped out of three races that summer. Knowing what I know now, I would have given more weight to the things I was doing well, building a house out of bricks instead of sticks, and that way when the big bad wolf came, my house would be unshakable. Who cares if 1k reps weren’t going great. EVERYTHING ELSE WAS.
This is the type of mentality you need to develop this season. Don’t let this one race ruin everything. Put it in it’s place. Take away it’s power by filling your mind with positive things. Notice every good thing that has happened this year and give it weight. Then you’ll see the last race for what it really was: you were sick and it kept you from being your normal badass. That’s not who you are. End of story.
If I were you, I’d make some affirmations like these (but personalize them for you), put them on my mirror and inside my training log and read them every day til my next race.
“I am a better athlete than last year.”
“Fear is natural. I’ll be fine because I want it more than I fear it.”
“I am a badass. Pain’s got nothing on me. I want to see what I can do!”
“I’ve built my season out of bricks. Nothing can shake it.”
It sounds dorky to say these things to yourself, and you should make your own, but it really works. Even after nine years of running professionally, there are still those moments every year that try to ruin things. I’ve learned to expect them. Just knowing they are coming helps me prepare for them, and they have less and less of an effect on me now. I say “Ah, there you are, you little jerk face. I know what to do with you.”
The best way to prepare moving forward is to really take time to notice everything that is going well. Little things and big things alike. Give them a lot of weight. Write them down. In my training journal, I write a ++ next to all days that are above average, a + next to the normal days, and a – when things are worse than normal. At a glance, I can always see that there are WAY more +’s than -’s, (unless something is really wrong) and this gives me confidence. My log shows an entire month in one view, so I don’t get over dramatic about the day to day.
Take time to look back on your past three months and notice them now. I promise you’ll feel ready to blow the bun huggers off all those chicks in your race next weekend
Readers: got any more tips that can help Caitlin out? Any personal experience with rebounding from a bad race successfully? PLEASE post a comment. She’ll appreciate it (and so will the rest of us). To start things off, read Jesse’s last blog for a good story on “Getting Back on the Horse.” (Spoiler alert: he won his next race)
I hope everything is going well for you:) I had a decent track season. 800-2:18; 1600-5:15; 3200-11:30. So not great but I had some setbacks coming in…I struggled w/ low iron and mono for waaay longer than I thought it would!
But I’m heading right into XC season and for once I’m just healthy! No mono, low iron, or stress fractures. I want to have the best XC season of my life! It’s my senior year so maybe I could get some college coaches to notice me.
I just watched a girl dominate my state meet in the 3200 who looked about 5’5 and like 80 lbs, but you believe as long as your eating healthy you shouldn’t have to worry about weight?? I just want to do everything for this amazing XC season. Do you have any advice on how to make it great? I have never really ran much more than 20-30 miles a week. Any advice would be awesome…I’m sooo ready for this season!
That’s great news that your mono is cleared up and your iron is up. Those two things alone will make a really big difference. Add in your determination and some good decisions and you’re in for a great one. And by the way, those are good track times! Give yourself some credit girl!
From what little I know about you, these are the six things I recommend you do to have the best cross country season of your life:
- Run consistently 25-35 miles a week, with a rest day every week. This number is different for everyone based on what they’ve done in the past, but you can increase a little bit every year through high school and college.
- SLEEP enough. This is the hardest thing to do in high school, but at least 5 days a week, you need to get good sleep or the training is pointless, your iron will go back down, and blahbadee-blah-blah bad news. Easier said than done I know, but make it happen.
- DON’T TAKE SHORTCUTS. It will be tempting all year to get distracted by too-skinny girls having short term success. If you want to run in college like you say you do, you’ll want to have success that you can build on every year. Build your own confidence by not looking around at others too much and working with the body you have. It is hard work to do that, but in my opinion, THAT is the only success worth having.
- Aim for a B+/A- diet (you don’t need an A+). A+ diets are not sustainable and they take so much focus that you can’t focus on your training and your happiness.
- Brainwash yourself to be a bad-ass. “I LOVE to compete. I LOVE how I can tolerate pain. I am strong and tough and freaking awesome.” Every quality you need this season is inside you. You just have to bring it out with practice. Every morning, on your warmups, every night, say those things to yourself. Seriously. Pro athletes do it. It works.
- Get the Believe I Am Training Diary and use it every day. It will help with goals, racing, training, and confidence. My friend Ro and I created it to be the ideal training tool for female runners who want to get the most out of themselves. We even have an enormous 40% off team discount for teams that order 10 or more ($15 each and a free motivational team poster).
Go get your best XC season ever girl, and let me know how it goes!
How do you fix an IT Band injury?
Mine has been a problem since October, so I don’t know if you want my advice. Andrea, a fellow runner I talked to today, told me something that resonated: “Unlike other injuries, IT bands and achilles tendons are on their own agendas.” True dat. They seem to want to heal in their own time. The best treatment is prevention, so to everyone else out there, get on your rollers! Otherwise, people are writing helpful comments and their own experiences with IT Bands on my latest blog post here so check that out.
I would say that deep tissue massage to the glutes, TFL and quads, rolling on a foam roller, and strengthening exercises for the glutes tend to be the most common fixes among people who I’ve talked to. In Eugene, Chance Fitzpatrick is a good resource for specific deep tissue, but I don’t know where you live.
When it comes to figuring out how much to run and when, and what specific things to do to make it better, it can be maddeningly confusing. I’ll have to write more in the comments when I solve this problem, but for now I’ll leave you with this: This video is what it feels like to work with an IT band injury:
(Special thanks to ALF reader and blogger MBS for reminding me of this scene from Forgetting Sarah Marshall).
I just finished a road racing season. It wasn’t that intense, but I definitely feel it. I want to take some downtime, but I was wondering your thoughts of taking time completely off running to recover? Should I run at all?
Even if you think your season wasn’t crazy demanding, the fact that you had a “racing season” means you would probably benefit from a “resting season.” Definitely take some time completely off running. Even multiple world record holder Paul Tergat told me he takes four weeks completely off after each season and doesn’t run a step, instead focusing on his family and his business. The minimum amount of time I’d recommend is a week completely off with another week of only running every other day or so for 2-5 miles.
I finished my season on Sunday after the NYC Marathon so I’ll provide an example of what I’ll be doing for my time off for reference:
- Two weeks with no running (with the exception of one 15 min run tomorrow to make sure I don’t have any injuries from the marathon that need special attention during my break.
- The first week I’ll be lazy as hell physically and focus on work.
- The second week I’ll go on some walks with my sister-in-law, and maybe ride my bike or ElliptiGo at sunset a couple times to get fresh air. Anything I do will be strictly for pleasure and I won’t exert myself much.
- The third week I’ll exercise every day and some of those days will be running. The focus will be on fun so I’ll choose some trails I rarely run, go on a long hike to a hot spring on the weekend, and ride my road bike with my husband once or twice if the weather is nice. Might even bust out my roller blades.
- The fourth week I’ll be fully invested mentally and physically.
Structure your break around what you think you need. Will you get out of shape? Yep. Will you gain a few pounds? Probably. But you will replenish those deep stores of vitamins and minerals, your structures will rebuild, and your hormones will find their equilibrium. Plus you’ll have time to catch up with friends you don’t see much or finish that scarf you started three years ago.
Running can become overly structured and automatic over time; you have to stop moving to fully appreciate the view. If you’re like me, during your break you’ll be a little depressed from missing the endorphins, but you’ll miss the hell out of running and will be chomping at the bit to get back. A break makes you appreciate running and feel like you have a lot of work to do to get back in shape. It’s a good time to think about the bigger picture of your goals and make changes to last year’s approach. A training diary is a good place to process things and kick-start your new season.
I really look up to you and I’m hoping you might have some advice for me. I am a college runner and just had the best summer of training of my life. My first week back at pre-season went extremely well too (great workouts, feeling good). However, at the beginning of the second week I started to feel really fatigued and dizzy. I dropped out of a tempo workout, and now for the past two weeks I’ve been struggling with everything. I’m tired all the time. I’ve been severely anemic before and my body feels that way again. I just don’t feel like myself. It’s like I’m in someone else’s body. I have no bounce in my step and midway through any workout I just feel so tired I have to stop – which is not like me at all!
I got blood work done, and the results showed no signs of infection or anemia. The only other thing I’m thinking it could be might be related to the weight I’ve lost over the summer. I didn’t really realize it until I got back to school and people started commenting, but I’ve lost 5 – 10 lbs. And right when I did get to school there was a marked decrease in what I was eating due to getting settled and wanting to look extra lean in my sports bra at practice (silly, I know). My symptoms showed up about a week or so after I started eating less. I also have not gotten a period in three months.
And now, I can’t tell how much of my fatigue is related to emotions. I’m just so anxious and upset over the whole thing. Running has always been my de-stressor, my happy place. I would normally go to practice each day not worrying about the workout or if I’ll crash and burn midway through a run, I knew I could push through it. But now I can’t help stressing over how I will feel each day, wondering when I’ll feel like myself again and when will I feel ready to race. And, unfortunately, the anxiety is affecting my usually ravenous appetite and my ability to sleep.
Therefore, my question to you is have you ever experienced anything like this yourself or seen anyone else go through something similar? Could it be overtraining, the result of a long summer, or eating habits? Or could it be possible that by now I’ve freaked myself out so much that my anxiety is causing all my physical symptoms?
Sorry for the long post, but I really hope you might have some thoughts on the matter.
This advice is given with the assumption that you don’t have any hormonal issue. Your symptoms could be related to a thyroid problem, (hyperthyroid can cause rapid weight loss and other symptoms you describe) which if it were me, I’d test for immediately. That being said, I’ve seen and experienced similar issues that were not thyroid related, so the following advice will hopefully be helpful to someone, even if not for you.
What you have described is a common mistake female runners make when they are trying to take their running to the next level. If its not thyroid, I’d bet my favorite Nike Lunarglides that the root of your symptoms are in fact related to weight loss, and that the problem will be quite straightforward to solve.
Think of running as a wheel. The day you caught the desire to be a runner, you were handed a floppy tire tube. You were told that this is the tire that will transport you through your career, and its up to you to build it into a functioning, strong wheel.
The center of the wheel, the hub, is built when you start to visualize your running potential and make competitive goals related to that. Its the focal point that everything rotates around.
But in order for the hub to connect to the rim, you have to build a bunch of spokes. Those spokes are the supporting structures that take your desire and passion and time on your feet and connect it to your goals and your aims. The way you build those spokes is CRUCIAL to the structure and function of the wheel.
Examples of spokes:
- Physical Training
- Mental Training
- Community/Social Support
- Recovery Techniques
- Life Balance
If you build those spokes evenly over time, your wheel will be strong and carry you with relative ease through your career. Put too much emphasis on one spoke or ignore several of them, and your wheel becomes weak and collapses beneath you.
I am not joking when I say that all of the spokes are equally important. But it is natural when you are learning about a particular subject area to over-do it for a while. Your focus moves away from the hub completely and you dwell on that spoke. Looking the part of a distance runner becomes more important than actually running fast! If your nutrition spoke becomes the center of your wheel, think about how lopsided and wonky it will roll! Think of how dizzy you will get!
Here’s what you do: literally grab some paper and draw your wheel (do it. you can do it). Redefine the hub and identify the spokes. Find the weak spots and decide how you will reinforce them. Burn this image of a wheel into your mind and keep coming back to it over the next few weeks. This is called creating a visual cue, which is a way to pull your mind back to the place you need it to be to achieve a particular goal. I use these all the time.
I believe your health will return if you do this and you will get back to kicking ass. It may take a couple weeks, or it may take a couple months, but you have to accept whatever time it takes as part of the repercussions of the decisions you’ve made. Be at peace with that. Its part of the deal.
It would be smart to include your coach in this process as well as a sports nutritionist if possible. And if it were me, I’d ease my training down to 85-90% for a month or two while my body rebuilds. After losing weight and getting weak, there is a time lag in which you are probably more susceptible to injury, even after you tackle the nutrition issues. You have to let your nutrient stores build up a bit without subjecting your body to too much stress. This will take a lot of discipline, but you will save yourself a bigger setback if you heed this advice.
Amy, always remember there is no shame in screwing up. Its a necessary part of reaching out into the unknown of your potential. The only shame would be if you don’t use the resources at your disposal to come through this wiser, stronger, and faster!
Keep us updated!
A quote I heard from a friend (original source unknown):
“How do you get good judgement?”
“Oh. How do you get good experience?”
“From bad judgement.”
I was wondering if you could help me. In October last year [11 months ago] I sprained my ankle. I had physio in December through to February. I was diagnosed with a grade 1 (slight sprain) but my physio said that I must of had a Grade 2 because of the discomfort I was in. It hasn’t been hurting from when I stopped my physio until June. I went over it playing Rounders (like softball) and ever since it has been really painful but it comes and goes while playing sport and running. I have been using the stretches I did for my physio but it just seems to get worse.
Do you know stretches to do, which can strengthen my ankle?
Hi Katie P,
With all the cross country training people have been doing, I’ve been getting a lot of ankle questions lately!
When you have experienced a bad ankle sprain in the past, you are more likely to re-sprain it, and often it doesn’t take much to turn it over. My husband Jesse has sprained his enough times that even an flat asphalt road will send his ankle over if he’s not paying attention. Its quite amazing…a talent really.
Two things to consider here:
- Not all sprains are created equal. You may have done something more serious or different during ankle roll #2 than your initial sprain, so its important to check back in with a doctor or physio. The rehab exercises you were given the first time might not be the right ones for this particular sprain, and you could be wasting your time without getting a quick check up. Given your description, this is what I suspect is going on.
- General ankle strength exercises are your friend. For people prone to ankle sprains, its a NECESSITY to stay on top of your strength exercises. A bad sprain can loosen the ligaments that support the ankle, leaving it wobbly and unstable. The bottom of your foot has a zillion nerves that read the surface you are on and communicate to all the surrounding tissues to let them know what to do in order to keep you on your feet. Problem is, long after a sprain has “healed,” some of those surrounding tissues remain stupid, and they don’t get the message from your feet or simply can’t react quickly enough. Certain exercises help re-educate the ankle so it can perform they way you need it to.
So first see your doc just in case. When you are cleared, make ankle strengthening part of your routine whenever you start a new season for 4-6 weeks. In my experience, theraband exercises and balance board exercises are the most effective things that you can do at home. They take very little time and you get great results. I do the balance stuff standing on a pillow and find it challenging enough to do the trick.
Check out the youtube video below to get the basic idea of theraband exercises. I do 3 sets of 10-15 reps, per foot, per direction, 3 times per week at the beginning of a season while building my base (or rehabbing a sprain). I hook one end of the band to a table leg and move my body around accordingly.
Best of luck!
My teammates recently told me to check out your site and I’ve been so inspired by coming here…thank you so much.
I’ve struggled with a hamstring injury and a labral tear in my hip for a long time now, and I always felt like I was the only person struggling with such long-term injuries. My question is actually about weight gain after an injury.
I’m about 10 lbs above my target weight thanks to these injuries, and I feel so discouraged in everything I do. Have you had to drop weight coming off an injury before, and if so, how did you tackle that extra obstacle to recovery?
Thanks again for everything,
When I injured my navicular in 2008, I went from 125 to 140. Yikes.
I totally know what you are going through right now. Coming back to running in a heavier body is not only sucky and hard, but it is an emotional let-down because for months all you’ve wanted to do was run, and now running doesn’t feel anything like what you remember. When you are at your ideal weight, you feel like you are meant to run…like you could go forever. That is the feeling you are probably missing most right now.
I’ll tell you two things from my experience (that I’ve been able to see in retrospect) that might help you out in your transition:
1. Spending time injured and then at a heavier weight had unintended benefits for me:
- I got my period regularly for the first time in two years, and its been regular ever since. It restored my hormone and metabolic balance and filled up my mineral and vitamin stores. My blood tests looked healthier than ever. It was almost like hitting a reset button after years and years of hard training.
- When I eventually got back to my previous weight, I was stronger and more powerful as a result of my muscles adapting to the larger load from before. (It was like I had been training with a really heavy sweaty weight vest for several months!) My drills and weights have more pop, and my finishing kick is better than ever now.
- I learned that I never want to gain that much weight again, and the next time I was injured, I only gained seven pounds, which had all the benefits but was easier to bounce back from.
2. Training while heavier required a different approach that made me feel connected to other runners:
- If you start running as a kid, you never understand how “hard” running actually is until you try to comeback from injury for the first time. Now I get it.
- It is valuable to experience the struggle to “get back in shape” now, while you have powerful motivation. Think about all the adults you know trying to “get back in shape.” We’ve been hearing about it all our lives, which tells me it will probably become a theme of our adult life when the structure of competitive sport is done. How do you want to handle this challenge as you grow older? This is the first test run…its an opportunity. Take notes.
When you are getting down on yourself, and you feel like you are breathing like a gorilla in heat while lumbering through the park, try to laugh about it. This is just a temporary thing. You WILL get better. Think of your athletic body as a diamond covered in bits of moss and lichen and clay and sediment. None of those things actually penetrate through the diamond; they just need to be chipped away at a little bit at a time so you can sparkle.
Thanks for your kind words and for writing in!
Dear Readers of ALF,
I’ve been having a problem, on and off, throughout the past 12 years of my running career, and its pissing me off so I want to submit to the running community for some insight.
Since I was 17, I’ve been getting stomach cramps, always in the same spot (slightly above my belly button and a little to the right). Usually they come on during long tempos or VO2 max workouts. It shortens and shortens and shortens my stride and makes it impossible to breathe properly. When I push through it, (which I usually try to do) eventually I’m hunched over running like a 92 year old, and I end up sore for days. In extreme cases, I feel it shoot through to my back and then down under the iliac crest. If I stop and stretch it out, most of the time I can make it go away as quickly as it came. Sometimes it returns later, but not always.
I’ve had years where its very infrequent, and periods of time where it happens A LOT. Lately, I can get sore in the area 15-30 minutes after a meal, without even working out.
So there’s my problem, peeps! I have great faith in the collective wisdom of the running community. Got an inkling of what road I should start sniffing down? Researching online makes me think I have every disease known to man, so I’d rather ask people based on their experiences. What you got for me?
The most recent diagnosis is posted at the top! Looks like the problem is solved!
8/3/11 diagnosis: Stomach ulcer with possible visceral and muscular fascia disturbances resulting from training through it for a long time.
I had an ultrasound of the abdomen that showed normal organs and thankfully no gall stones or kidney stones. I had less than a week before the next race, so there was no time for more advanced scans, so Dr. Lorenzo at Pure Sports Medicine in London suggested we treat it as an ulcer and if it improved within two days, we’d know it was the right diagnosis. Sure enough, with some acid suppressants and an altered diet (no alcohol, coffee, black tea, or spicy foods) I felt like a new woman!
Concurrently, I saw Alex Fugalo twice, an osteopath in London at Beyond Health, for body work. He is a visceral therapist and he did a lot of work releasing my diaphragm and intercostal muscles between the ribs. He also helped free up my liver from the ribs, which was sticking a bit.
Our team massage therapist, Jon Murray, took over from there to make sure I was nice and loose before my London race, and I had a pain free race!
The final thing to do is to get a blood test to see if my ulcer is caused by a bacteria that causes recurring ulcers (responsible for 70-90% of ulcers). People that have the bacteria can solve the problem by taking an antibiotic.
I miss coffee so bad it hurts, but not as much as an ulcer does!
Older Update from 7/23/11: The problem is very near being solved, thanks to all the awesome help provided on here. I can’t thank you guys enough!
I went to a doctor in France and we couldn’t communicate at all due to the language barrier, so he laid me down on the exam table, tapped my stomach like a drum and said “GAS!” and sent me on my way. At least the doctors in France only cost $30…one less dinner out on the town, no harm done. Luckily there is a lab that is totally weird that you can just walk into and order whatever tests you want done. I’ve ruled out a few things that were brought up:
- stomach infection or other infection that could be seen on a blood test
- food allergies to wheat and dairy (haven’t tested for other food allergies, but those were the most likely since I’ve been consuming French baguettes, croissants and fromage like its going out of style)
- Stress response: my stress hormones are in the normal range. Also, once the cramps started happening on easy conversational fun runs and when I was just hanging out with friends in the peaceful mountains of FRANCE, I knew stress only played a minimal role if any.
- Altitude (never had problems at altitude before and this is only 6000 feet. I do altitude quite often).
- General Wussiness (thanks buddy for the personal email on that one).
- Being a chick (I always appreciate some good gender humor, but no).
Thoughts for the Final Investigation:
That leaves a few ideas that were recurring themes from readers that I’m still looking into:
- gallbladder dysfunction (either gallstones or general dysfunction). This requires a visit to an English speaking doctor, an ultra sound, or a nuclear medicine test if its not gallstones. Or as one friend put it, I could just swallow a cup of fat and see what happens, since the gallbladder is active with fatty foods. Could do…
- muscular or fascia tightness around the diaphragm, ribs/inter-costal muslces, shoulder/back/chest/psoas/obliques/hip flexors or anything else that is in the general area that could be pulling funny on my stomach. This requires some expert body work, and I’m already seeing great results from this. I’m seeing a visceral therapist after Stockholm who will be checking the fascia around my organs. Kinda freaked out about what that will feel like!
I stumbled across this website and had a question regarding a navicular injury that I sustained. I shattered it, was in a backslab for 4 weeks until surgery, then I had a cast for 6 weeks and now i’ve been prescribed a cam boot.
I’ve found though that walking without the boot in a regular shoe is easier and much less painful, should I stick with the boot? Or just go with whatever feels comfortable? I’ve only been on my foot for 5 days now and I understand that muscles need to be rebuilt from atrophy, but how can i do that if i can’t put pressure on the leg? My patience is wearing very thin and I’m starting to feel as if recovery is slim. Got any advice?
There is frustratingly little information out there about navicular injuries and what the best way to treat them is. I’m sorry you’ve joined the club, but I’ll tell you that since I had mine operated on in 2008, I’ve met several other world class athletes who have recovered well from a navicular fracture. We inevitably end up sharing war stories, and every person’s experience is different. That makes it pretty tough to give concrete advice to you.
Please, if you are reading this and have knowledge in this area, post it as a comment below.
I personally recommend you do whatever you need to do to stay patient, and treat your injury with respect. It does end some people’s careers, but all you can do is give it every chance to heal, and not take out your overall frustration on the foot.
This was very very hard for me to do. After 8 weeks on crutches, then a scan that showed it still wasn’t healed, then surgery…I was faced with 10-12 more weeks between a wheelchair and
crutches in a cam boot, and the frustration was unlike anything else. There was a possibility that I could do everything right and still not be able to return to running, which kind of made me say, “What’s the point?” You will be temped to be reckless with it as a reaction to act like you care less, but the fact is you DO care. VERY MUCH.
Stay strong upstairs and keep summoning patience. Treat your foot like its a princess. You have a long road ahead of you to recover, and that sucks, but the key to getting healthy is accepting your crappy situation for what it is and developing a long term strategy to return to form. For me it took 20 months, but it was worth the wait, and now I never feel it. I don’t worry about it at all. I am truly cured.
The boot is meant to be uncomfortable because you aren’t meant to walk very much. If you do walk, it protects you, but you are still not meant to walk very much. You won’t get much increased strength from walking this way, so it is critical that you boost your rehab, especially in non-weight bearing positions. When you are sitting around, move it around like crazy, rub between all the bones and ligaments and tendons, develop the little muscles in your feet through various non-weight bearing motions, and work your calf and lower leg muscles with a theraband.
I recommend you get a good physical therapist on your side that understands your urgency to maintain as much strength as possible through your recovery period, and get that person to make you an aggressive but smart plan. I went to San Francisco for two weeks to work with Lisa Gianonne and her awesome staff at Active Care, and it gave me a great start as I transitioned out of the boot. I only wish I would have started with them while I still had the boot on…probably would have saved me months in the long run. DEFINITELY START YOUR REHAB BEFORE YOU GET OUT OF THE BOOT!
Hope that helps Marko. Stay positive. I’m living proof that you can return to form after this setback.
P.S. Do you have expertise in this area? Personal experience? Navicular survivor? Victim? Please share your knowledge or links to helpful resources on here by commenting. There is frustratingly little available online about this subject and every time someone sustains one of these injuries, they have to go through a bleak, dark time with very little guidance. Thanks in advance.
I have been struggling with getting back the competitive edge that I had in high school. I came from a small team and had an amazing relationship with my coach. Running gave me a great outlet to be competitive and have fun with teammates.
Since I started running in college, I struggled to find my niche. My body hasn’t agreed with the coaching style and the atmosphere doesn’t fit with my personality. I know that I have yet to fulfill my potential as an athlete but every time I get that great feeling following a workout where you know that you’re ready to race fast, it’s followed by injury.
I recently decided to transfer to the D-2 school in my hometown in hopes rejuvenating my relationship with running and racing on a new team where I know the coach. I really want to fit in with my new teammates and come in with a great attitude toward running.
At the same time, I’m worried that I won’t be able to live up to the expectations of the running community at home. Do you have any advice for keeping running for yourself and team mates without associating it with expectations from parents and friends?
This is such a good question. I can’t even tell you how glad I am you asked it!
You are going through the quintessential experience of being 20-something (and damn its hard). And so far, you are totally nailing it. Your first college experience was toxic for you, and you had the wisdom to recognize that, and the courage to do something about it.
And now, you are anticipating the things that could hold you back in this new environment and are proactive about preventing them. Double your score there. Well done.
You are going to be great in your new environment, and I’ll tell you how I know: behind everything you wrote is an intense desire to live your life well and be your true self. ALWAYS MAKE SURE THAT IS THE REASON BEHIND WHAT YOU DO and you will thrive.
So enough patting you on the back (even though you well deserve it). Here’s what I think you need to do now that you are moving back home: Get your push-up bra on and continue to claim your space as a grown woman. Spray your pheromones around, I don’t care how you do it, but you need to set boundaries in those relationships you are worried about.
Know this: The harder you lean on someone for support, the more power they have to screw with your balance, even if they have the best of intentions. If you have over-involved people, i.e. parents, you simply need to cut them out of 75% of what goes on in YOUR running. A healthy adult relationship means discussing your pursuits pretty equally, so if you know less about the other person’s favorite hobby than they know about your running, you need to cut things back.
If your community focuses too much on your running, give them something else to care about: volunteer, be a mentor for an at-risk teen, contribute in some other way and the pressure will dissipate. Be proactive about lowering the expectations of those around you. The number of people in your inner circle should be very small, and they should be carefully chosen (parents do not get automatic entry). Surround yourself with people who are positive and unconditionally supportive, even if you have to find people who know NOTHING about running in order to do that.
Last reminder that I’m sure you already know: You can be a team player, but you don’t run for your team mates. You run for you. Team mates change every year, and teams are made up of individuals in various stages of their own lives. Contribute your best self to your team, and carefully take in the best selves of those around you. The better your filter for negativity, the more successful you will be!
Please check in down the road with an update by commenting on this entry!