When I took my injury-prompted break from running in January, I was at peace with the decision. I volunteered at a couple of races, watched all my online running buddies do the Walt Disney World Marathon and the Princess Half with minimal jealousy and bitterness, and tried a handful of different, low-impact exercises while I normally would have been planning a race calendar and starting a long distance training plan.
Then the itch started.
I trace the origin back to my stress level. We had a lot going on earlier this summer, like job changes and moving. Running had been my go-to stress relief and I couldn’t do it. I toyed with walking my favorite race, The Peachtree Road Race, which is a 10k–but ultimately decided to transfer my number to another runner because I was still having discomfort and I wasn’t remotely prepared. I watched social media with longing. I wanted to be out there! Then the Princess Half registration happened and I couldn’t take it anymore. I put on my Nikes and out the door I went.
My first attempt was supposed to be a slow power walk around my new neighborhood–and then I got chased by a dog and it turned into a run. I changed my route and told myself that I’d do one mile a few times a week. I take it slow, pay attention to my injury…and I won’t let myself go over a mile. In August, I’ll get to two. Then three.
I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to racing long distances on a regular basis. I really love 5Ks and the occasional 10Ks and I think there might be a half or maybe even a full in my future in a few years. But I’d really like to be healthy enough to run my favorite races and hit the pavement when my stress level starts to creep up.
Until then, just one mile.
Have you ever had to take a long break due to injury? What did you do to keep yourself from losing it?