There’s nothing more frustrating to me than a persistent injury. I know some people who can run miles and miles without a single injury. Sadly, I’m not one of those people. My injuries have ranged from mild to painful, a strained ankle tendon to a persistent IT injury. Recovery has taken anywhere from a few days (ankle) to months (IT band). My problem is not knowing what kind of treatment to do when. Do I use RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate)? Or physical therapy? How long should I stop running? Do I have to stop running or can I run through the injury? Will that keep me from a full recovery?
I normally approach each injury head on, trying to do as much as can, pushing my limits, to try and figure out how serious my injury is. Obviously I wouldn’t do this for some super severe like a bad sprain or broken bone (neither of which I’ve had and hope never to deal with), but for the various strains and aggravations I’ve had that method is the best way I’ve found to deal with my injuries thus far.
And I’ve found that different injuries respond in different ways and recommendations I get from running experts or online running resources aren’t always the best fit for my body. For example, my IT band was injured because I did too much too fast and to get to a full recovery I had to stop running completely. Instead I focused on cross-training and found a roller. I began rolling out my IT band every day, along with my other muscles, and that was what got me to a full recovery.
Most recently I pulled my hip flexor. It’s been incredibly frustrating because I can’t run without pain and even walking has been hurting. I’ve tried different things and have found that the best exercises that work so far are strength training for the glutes and low abs (for some reason my hip flexor always feels better after I do those strengthening exercises) and using the Precor machine because it doesn’t have the same impact as running does. I would like to add water running to my recovery list as I feel like the Precor mimics that movement.
I’ll continue to work towards healing so I can run at full capacity again and try not to get frustrated at the time it takes. My ultimate goal is to run for my lifetime and if I have to stop running while I fully heal then that’s what I have to do!