If you haven’t read Part One check it out here before you start!
The inability to walk did eventually force me to stop making my injury worse and seek some help from a physio. Here again I am sure I am not unique in my skepticism of how effective some physio’s are. After a lot of searching I have found a great physio who has really helped me understand how I can improve my injury so if you want any details on what I’m working on or who she is get in touch here.
But my time spent attempting to run through injury did lead me to question my reasons for such apparent self-inflicted pain. Which lead me to my next question:
Why are you still exercising?
To being with I was a little afraid I admitted to myself, that the rest of the running world was improving and advancing without me. And because being a runner had become such a central part of my identity, if the whole world was better than me at the one thing I could do, I was struggling to find a way to like my injured self. (In fact I began to really dislike myself, which just meant the pain from any attempted running was in line with my emotions).
We are also told over and over again things like, ‘No pain no gain’ and I think for a time I was struggling to assess how much pain was too much pain. I don’t ever like to back down and so if someone even suggested they thought I should be able to do it, I would prove I could no matter how much pain I was in. Often this ‘person’ was myself not wanting to admit I was injured, and either way I am responsible for what I do to my body and nobody else.
I also realised I struggle more than I like to admit with body image. I like to pretend I don’t care about my outwards appearance; I have always been a ‘tomboy’, always wanted to play football, be muddy, only wear make up on special occasions.
But running had changed my body and I was unhappy about it changing back. I liked it better when it could do cool things, like run 5km super quick, power up mountains, swim in oceans, cycle round islands. But I also thought other people thought it looked better that way, and so I wanted it to keep looking “fit”.
I like to stay “actually fit” because I never want to feel imprisoned in my body, I never want to say no to any adventure because I am not physically capable. But my attempt to stay looking “fit” by trying to exercise through injury meant I was trapped in a body that at times could hardly walk.
So I came to the grand conclusion that looking good and actually being fit were incompatible at this exact life point for me, and that actually being fit and able again was more important to me. (So I am currently resting/going a little insane, but I have good friends who try and keep me occupied).
I also want reassure you all that the reasons people exercise are personal and I don’t hold any judgment over what is right or wrong! All exercise potentially makes you a little more healthy and happy, so if you love to do crunches and look like a bikini model then that really is great!! If you are doing them because you feel you ‘have to’ though and not because they are something you enjoy, want to be good at, or help in a sport you do enjoy. Then maybe stop and think about who you are exercising for?
Anyyyywayyyyy…. Enough of these ramblings, the point I am really trying to make about being injured is that it can give you a chance to pause and re-evaluate, both mentally and also physically. And it turns out as well as a few mental issues; I probably hadn’t been training right before I got injured.
If you are injured right now I would really recommend stopping for a second to consider why this thing has happened to you.
As a runner have learnt a lot about the importance of strength training, and yoga has really helped me, it is non-competitive, and really does feel like a healthy thing for my body and even my mind (for all you, like me, who are initially very skeptical of meditation and the like)
(One yoga-youtuber I love to follow is Adriene so be sure to check her out!)
If you are injured the chances are there is a reason for it. Overtraining seems to be an umbrella term to me for a multitude of sins to do with not training in the correct way. Cross training, strength training, and classes at the gym such as yoga and pilates are great ways to keep active, but can also help with injury prevention if you substitute them into your routine.
Also I know it has been said before but sometimes it is beneficial to listen to your body. It is possible it is genuinely in a lot of pain and not you being lazy. The cleverer and better thing to do in terms of real fitness is often to miss a few sessions. Far better that than miss a season.