So, I’ve essentially taken a little bit more than a month “off,” thanks to a little bout of “plantar fascitis,” about which you can read much more on the site.
And I’m having kind of a hard time getting back on track. I don’t think it’s lack of desire, or lack of willpower—there’s nothing so much I want to be doing than slapping feet against the earth and sucking in as much fresh air as possible.
I think that I’m fresh up against the evil wall of fear – fear that the injury will re-occur, and fear that I might have to reduce my goals to be closer in line with my capabilities.
In essence, I’m heading through a little bit of self-doubt. So, here, in no particular order, are five quick thoughts on getting over my mental hurdles, and getting back on track:
- Start slow: I think the trigger to my injury was jumping up to the mileage I wanted to be running without taking into account the mileage I SHOULD have been running. The temptation to just go, especially when just going feels good, is ultimately counter productive. There’s value in moderation. However, that energy’s got to go somewhere, which leads us to:
- Cross-train: Many injuries, I think, can be traced back to over-use. Which is a tough thing to overcome, especially when one’s excited about a new training regimen. Breaking out the bike, or taking the kids for a hike or the dogs for a walk, or hitting the pool, or painting the house—all excellent ways to get rid of some extra energy without aggravating running injuries. Who knows? Your spouse or significant other might be in the mood for some “cross-training,” what with it being spring and all. Yeah, you and I both know that last one is
- Stretch: Do any of us do this enough? Look up your injury and see if there are targeted stretches that can help you prevent recurrence. Or, go for a broad-band approach.
- Core: In my case, this wouldn’t help much, but for a lot of stride-related problems, strengthening your core can help. What is the core, you ask? It’s the bit that on a lot of us is blanketed with decades of indulgence. For some core exercises , see Bicycling‘s recent bit, or look at taking up Pilates or Yoga.
- New Shoes: In hindsight, I wish I’d pulled the trigger on a new pair of skins about a month earlier. Mile counting is one way to measure shoe wear however, the beginning twinges of problems are another. The warning signs were showing with me—longer time to “warm up” with each run prior to my calling it quits should have had me at the shoe store immediately. Spending $70 a month earlier than planned might have saved my training for February.
So, there it is—how to avoid fear and loathing in five easy steps.