“Next time things will be different. Next time I’m going to do things right. I’ll be smart.”
If I had a dollar for every patient that expressed this in one form another I would easily have my race fees covered for 2017. In the thick of a roaring injury, it’s easy to commit to change. Flashbacks fill your head of a happier place where you could lace up and burn off some steam with a quick run.
Now, you’re living through self-proclaimed hell as you witness everyone and their mother out running during your morning commute. As usual, it’s not the end of the world, but it sure feels like the walls are closing in. We’ve all been here, right?
As time passes, your healing progresses and so does your function. Over time you begin walking and taking stairs without pain. The thought of running becomes real again. I pile on by confirming,
“We should be running in the next couple weeks. You’re real close.”
This simple phrase is a a champion for the status quo. Nine times out of 10, runners toss those best-intentioned “be smart next time” plans into the trash. The races on the horizon start to probe your interest. Sure as the sun rising, I you toss out a feeler comment to test the water.
“Do you think it’s ok if I sign up for….”
Per habit, the smirk from the corner of my mouth grows and transforms into a full smile. I’m not attempting to be subtle–this is me answering through body language. Most runners smile nervously back, completely picking up on my vibe. But just to be sure, they toss out the….
“Sooooo…. Is that a no?”
The conversation progresses as I lay out options—heavily weighting one over the other. The truth is… most (but not all) are preventable. Injuries happen for various reasons. Unfortunately, there’s seemingly zero chance to completely avoid one.
Although it might not be leading the way, it cracks my top three. What is it you ask? Your decision making. Too often runners block out the awfulness of an injury—completely forgetting what got them in trouble in the first place. The result is a broken runner. One is who has zero momentum in their favor. Their stagnation is worn on their sleeves of frustration and feeling… “icky?” These runners are spending more time complaining about their injuries than they are running.
Believe me. For most, the ship (season) is still sinking even after my runners back on the road. They grab for lifeboats (races) to save their season or to right their wrongs. When asked to review their running in hindsight, most runners paint their running with a broad brush of failure.
If this is you… let’s talk about righting the ship. (If this isn’t you, then send this article to your friend who is!) Here are some simple things to consider so that you can build your running momentum.
1. Go Backwards:
No, I’m not asking you to start running backwards. Instead, go back one distance. Quite often I find that half and full marathoners are chomping at the bit to run longer distances. When, in fact, it’s just crushing them at every training cycle.
So, let’s say you’re currently injured or recently released from injury. You love running full marathons. After all, it’s your favorite distance. Instead of eyeing up a spring marathon, find a half. If you’re a half marathon kind of guy or gal, scale back to 10k.
The goal here is to build your training momentum and to stop the cycle of train, injure, repeat. After successfully completing your half this spring (you’re welcome), move back to a full (or another half) in the fall. Again, build the momentum in your favor!
2. Take Your Training Plan Seriously
It’s not uncommon to find a runner shrugging when I ask them about their training plan. Truthfully, your body is going to war when you decide to run a race. Going to war without a plan ultimately leads to waiving the white flag of defeat.
If your training plan isn’t dialed into your pace and simply says “easy day” or “speed workout” it’s time to keep looking. (For those who are interested, I’m holding a free seminar on building your own customized training plan on December 6th. You can sign up by clicking here.)
Every run should have a purpose—even if you’re goal is to finish. It’s not too much work to build your own plan either.
Ultimately, my piece of advice for you is to build the momentum in your favor. Don’t forget your grand plans to right the ship. This time will be different. That is, if you let it.