Respecting Your Injuries

On Wednesday night I was out for my usual training run. I headed into the Sherwood Forest and over to Sunnybrook park. I was just thinking which way I wanted to head home, hospital hill versus the trail, when disaster struck. I thought I was in the middle of the paved path but I either found the edge of pavement or a hole. The next thing I remember was being on the ground, a very kind couple running over to help me, and my ankle feeling like it wanted to explode.

It’s now Saturday. Things are not a whole lot better. Tomorrow is the inaugural 5km road race championships, to be held in my hometown. I called my amazing trainer and physio therapist at The Runners Academy immediately on Wednesday night; could this be managed to get me through on Sunday. After an evaluation of the condition of my ankle today, it was suggested that I not race. I was devastated, torn up inside, but I agree, I should not be our there racing.

My preparation, both mentally and physically over the last month could not have been better. My workouts got tougher and tougher and I got faster and faster. I was excited to be out there with the fastest girls in the country and test my competitiveness. My speed from the 1500m training this summer still lingers and I’ve been pushing the limits with endurance.

I know I’m not giving up tomorrow, I know that by not racing I’m making the right decision.

I am protecting what I have worked so hard to build. I will not break it down so I cannot build it back up.

I just finished Peter Coe’s book Winning Running: Successful 800m & 1500m Racing and Training and the timing could not be better. In the beginning of the 3rd chapter, Mental Conditioning, Coe states the following:

“The following is an important example of discipline, because it involves a very keen and dedicated athlete and a not less committed runner.  A common mistake is in the attitude to injury is the attempt to return to training and competition too soon. This is best shown in the way athletes ask a key question. It should not be ‘How soon can I start running again?’ The proper approach is to ask ‘How long must I rest before it is safe to resume training?’ It is an example of when restraint needs discipline just as much as facing up to hard racing and training does.”

While the above helps, it still was not an easy decision. There were tears, just a few; it’s important to embrace the emotions to work through the frustration. And I think if it was an easy decision it might mean that I do not care about it enough. And I really care, I’m really sad to not be on the start line tomorrow.

So my break starts now. Ok, well it started as of Wednesday! I will celebrate all of the successes of the season, and there were many. I will reflect on the my strengths and my opportunities. I will look forward to what is to come and get thirsty for more training, more hard sessions in the gym, and great time with teammates. And most importantly I will respect this injury and let it heal.