Sometimes the Hardest Workout is the One you Don’t Get to do.

That’s what I posted on twitter Monday. I tried to warm up for my workout, I made it 6:31 into the warm up with Andrea, where I decided to stop and walk back to the athletic centre.

The week before training in Florida it felt like the outside of my knee was ‘thick’ at the end of my workout. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but looking back now, it was the start of the inflammation of the insertion of my IT Band at my tibia. This diagram demonstrates why, if your IT Band at the tibial insertion is inflamed, it gets really pissed off at you (note: as it inflames it rubs against the top of the tibia and bottom of the femur. OUCH!).

My last day in Florida I headed out for a run around the island of Key West, to top off an amazing training camp. And my knee said, ‘No thank you.’ I hobbled over to my favourite Cuban coffee place for one last treat and drove up to the airport ending a successful training camp campaign.

Back in Toronto I made therapy and massage appointments with my trusted team and promised myself that first, I would listen to whatever my body was saying. And secondly, that I would find the root of the problem.

It wasn’t until almost a week later that things really started to fall apart. Heading out for a point to point long run Sunday morning, something seemed ‘off.’ Meeting my girlfriends and training partners for brunch I brought my phone with me. 2k into the run I had to stop and stretch my IT Band. Foolishly I tried to keep pushing on, stopping to stretch my IT Band every 10 minutes. By 8.5k I couldn’t walk and I called my boyfriend in desperation to come pick me up.

But enough about me, what did I learn?

  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Sometimes you get injured. We’re runners, it happens. Keep it a small injury and don’t let it flare up out of control.
  2. Get it treated. Get the experts to help you out. They know what they are doing and they will likely shorten the recovery time. Go daily to get it treated if you can afford to. I can’t thank m
  3. Let Go. There is no such thing as ‘making up a workout.’ You’re better off looking forward than looking back. Think about what you’re trying to accomplish, not what you missed. Your mind and body will be better for it.
  4. Listen to Your Body. will tell you when it is ready to run again. Learning to differentiate between fatigue/discomfort and orthopaedic/acute pain will pay dividends to your body.

I’m usually the one that gets pretty emotional when I am injured and going to miss a workout (that reads, as a girl I usually cry!) Why? Because I’m passionate about it and I love what I do. Last Monday I didn’t let my emotions get the better of me; I stepped back and recognized that this wasn’t the end of the world. Be smart, you won’t lose any fitness, and you’ll be stronger and faster if you let this heal.

And it obviously worked, on Saturday I opened my season on Ottawa with a 600, 1000, and 3000, ran pain-free and reasonably fast. (Opener blog coming shortly).

So remember, if something hurts and is screaming at you to stop then stop. It takes far more mental strength and endurance not to do a workout than it does to endure the physical pain of an injury during a workout. Sometimes two steps backwards takes you leaps and bounds forward, but that one step forward will set you back months.