Today on the Doc on the Run podcast, we’re talking about how indecision prevents running injury recovery.
Scott McNealy was the co-founder of Sun Microsystems and once he said,
“The best decision is the right decision. The next best decision is the wrong decision. But the worst decision is no decision.”
At every step of your training and your recovery when you get injured, the decision you make can change the course of your healing, your training, and your life in general. You know, you’re always getting stronger or weaker. You’re always getting faster or slower and you’re either healing or not, but there is no real in between on this.
I think that the single most important thing you can do when you think you have a running injury is to make a decision quickly because you really do only have two choices. First, you can realize and admit you’re injured and get about the business of recovery or the alternative is that you can confirm you aren’t really injured and then just adjust your course of training so that you can continue to prepare for your event, but you have to do one of the other.
What I think most runners do is something in between. We want to believe that we’re not injured. We want to think that we can continue training. We want to think that it’s normal to have this weird ache in the middle of our foot or this weird cramping in our calf and really what we’re doing is we’re just kidding ourselves and we’re not getting about the business of recovering and because of that, we’re not really training, and we just make things worse.
So this is really an issue that I see over and over and over with runners. Most of the time when someone calls me for a consultation, they don’t call me because they did a long run or speed work or an event yesterday and they’re in pain today. Instead, it was weeks ago, most of the time. Sometimes a couple of weeks, but that’s really actually rare. It’s usually somebody has been going for weeks or months with insufficient training, complete decimation of their fitness, and they’ve been trying to half train, half take it easy, half heal and you can’t do both.
If you really have to have a period where you need to heal, you need to do that aggressively. You need to treat the injury seriously. You need to get on track and do something to let the tissue actually heal.
I personally believe after many years of just helping runners get better and get back to training and get back to their events, I really believe that the majority of runners who get injured know somewhere, they suspect that they’re actually injured when the injury first begins. They feel something during their run or immediately after the run or the next morning. They know something isn’t right, but instead of seeking help, getting advice and then figuring out what to do quickly, we just kind of stick our head in the sand.
We think that if we just take a few days off, it will miraculously go away. We think if we rest a little bit, it will start to get better. And then what we do is we don’t do anything. We kind of take it easy and then we go for a run and it hurts again so then we decided to do that exact same routine again. We decided, well, we’ll just back a little bit and we’ll skip this one run, but we’ll go do a short run instead.
Now, all of that back and forth really costs you a lot of time. It really does eat away at your fitness. It really does eat away at your psyche. And in fact, in the end it will leave a mark. I mean, you basically will wind up afraid and gun shy every time you have some weird acre pain in the future if you go through this routine of self torture where you’re not healing, not recovering, not getting better, and then you fail to meet your goals.
So I think it’s really crucial that you really think about what you need. You really need a goal. You know, one thing that can help with that is the healing runners goal worksheet. So if you think you’re injured, you should think about your goal immediately, like as soon as you think you’re injured, so download that, print it out, fill it out, use it to come up with a clear picture of where you want to get to and it will really help you figure out what you need to do now to get back to training and running as quickly as possible.
The thing is is when somebody calls me for a consultation and we start talking about what is wrong and what the problem is, I generally get questions like, well, my foot hurts and it’s hurt for this long. How long is it going to take me to get back to running? Can I run on it now?
And then I always stop them and say, okay, what is your goal? What is the race you want to do? What is the event you want to do? When do you want to do it? How fast you want to run? We need to talk about that first. And then after we talk about that, we can figure out what you need to do now to make sure that you maintain your fitness so you can resume training and be in a better place when you resume training.
But that comes out of that discussion and those phone calls that I do with runners all day long, is to help them figure out where they are, but how they get from where they are to where they want to be. So get the healing runners goal worksheet. It’s on the website, at docontherun.com, under the podcast tab.
Download it, print it out, it’s free. It will help you figure out what you need to do now to get back to training as quickly as possible.
One simple step you can take is start with the Healing Runner’s Goal Worksheet.
It will help you take what you know about goal setting in running and use what you already know to focus your healing. It’s free.
Go get it now!
If you have a question that you would like answered as a future addition of the Doc On The Run Podcast, send it to me PodcastQuestion@docontherun.com. And then make sure you join me for the next edition of the Doc On The Run Podcast!