Today on the Doc On The Run Podcast, we’re talking about why injured runners need a goal race.
If you’re injured, you really need to have a goal, and if you were to call me for a private consultation or a house call, I would not believe that getting over my foot pain is a goal.
But interestingly, when injured runners call me, that’s often what they say. The thing is, when you sign up for something like a race, it’s really easy to get motivated. It’s easy to decide on your training plan and just get to work.
When you have a running injury, when you have pain, when you’re limping, everything just seems more difficult. It’s also a lot more difficult to stay on track, get motivated, and get past the little bumps in your recovery that inevitably pop up.
If you’re doing all this stuff that you can do to maintain your running fitness while you’re injured. Now, wouldn’t you have a very specific goal on a very specific day, it’s a lot easier to stay motivated. This gives you something to focus on that’s positive instead of focusing on the pain that’s really negative.
This isn’t true just for injured runners. It’s also true for uninjured runners as well. That’s part of the reason that I tell every runner who schedules a call that they have to choose a specific date to work toward, not some arbitrary six weeks or eight weeks, but you need a goal.
My favorite runners to work with are those who actually are already signed up for an event, they get an injury, they’re told by some doctor that they can’t do the race, and then I help them figure out how they actually can maintain their running fitness, get past the injury, and make it through that race in one piece.
That’s really gratifying because it makes you think you achieve something you really couldn’t. Well, the fact is that you can. If you understand how to reduce the stress and strain on the tissue and maintain your running fitness in most cases.
That doesn’t mean this is a license for you to just go and run off into a race if you have an injury and you haven’t really assessed it and you haven’t figured out what’s going to make it okay to do that. You’ve got to take some very specific steps.
But when I wrote the Rapid Recovery Journal For Runners, the biggest thing in there, the very first exercise is to figure out what your goal is. Not to figure out what your injury is, not to figure out what you’re going to do a year from now, but how you can actually get on track and get motivated by signing up for a specific race.
So when I have calls with runners, one of the first things I like to do is ask them, what is your goal? And when they say “The goal is for my stress fracture to heal,” that’s not the goal. That’s the doctor’s job to help you do that. But that shouldn’t be your goal.
Your goal should be to run a specific event on a specific day at a specific pace. And when you have that, you have something concrete to start working with. Then you can say, “Okay, well I have this injury. How can I get stronger today to work toward that goal on that day?”
When you have a timeline, it will go faster, I promise, but it’s crucial that you have a goal. So, if you want to get into rebuilding mode, if you actually want to get back to training faster, if you want to get back to running faster, you got to pick a goal.
If you’re not sure what to do, if you’re really confused, one of the things might help you is a thing I designed specifically for runners who are confused about what the next step should be.
Basically, go to docontherun.com/quiz and you can sign up for a quiz that will take you through the common things that I see runners making mistakes on their situation, and it’ll give you all the results right away. It’s free, by the way, it doesn’t cost anything. But you can get it for free at docontherun.com/quiz.
So go check it out and I’ll see you there.