injury survival tips

You guys, I think I ended up getting REALLY lucky with this injury – especially after doing my “research” (thank you Google) and reading how tricky an injury to the SI joint can be.  Maybe it’s because I caught it early or maybe God really felt like I could use a break (if that’s the case, THANK YOU), but I can tell you that my pain has subsided for the most part.  I’m not feeling any pain except some occasional twinges during the day.  I even hit around a volleyball today with some of my kiddos, started to feel it in my back, stopped, and within the next hour, I was pack to a 1 or 2 on the pain scale.

However, I’m trying to be smart about this.  While I might feel like I could run pain free again, my body was obviously telling me otherwise last week.  It was definitely a wake-up call that I need to listen to my body and rest when it’s asking for it.  I need to realize it’s better to take a week off from training than to be out for several weeks.  Lesson learned.  And I’m making a point to be better at that from here on out.

Regardless of how quickly I am healing, I do feel that whether it’s a week or months off from running, there are ways that you can survive the break effectively.  Lord knows I struggle with cross training and my mindset is always in the “go-go-go” and “all-or-nothing” mode.  So, I really had to figure out exactly what I could do to make this easier on me, especially if my layoff from running lasts longer than I expect.

1.  Have a plan.  I’ll admit, I was in tears this weekend, not only from the pain, but from the fact that I just couldn’t do the one thing that I needed more than anything at the time.  I have a training plan because I do have a race coming up in just a little over a month.  I want to run it (I’m financially obligated and it’s a relay so I don’t want to let my team down) but knew that taking time off was going to effect that.  But, just like I have a running training plan, I needed a training plan to keep me motivated to continue staying fit and getting myself recovered from my injury.  It took me several days to figure it out, but this is what I came up with…

Monday:  New Rules of Lifting for Women (NROLFW) Stage 2A + 20 minute HIIT workout

Tuesday:  30 minutes steady state cardio + rehab exercises/stretching

Wednesday:  NROLFW Stage 2B + 20 minute HIIT workout

Thursday:  30 minutes steady state cardio + rehab exercises/stretching

Friday:  NROLFW Stage 2A + 20 minute HIIT workout

Saturday:  60 minutes steady state cardio + rehab exercises/stretching

Sunday:  OFF

This plan would allow me to keep my fitness, plus it would allow me to fix the imbalances to correct my injury.

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2.  Focus on what you CAN do.  It’s hard for me to look past the fact that I can’t run.  But, I CAN still be active.  The hardest thing for me is that it is absolutely GORGEOUS outside this week and I can’t be out there running in the afternoon.  I CAN, however, push the kiddos in the stroller on Tuesdays and Thursdays to enjoy the nice weather.  I also can get in a pretty hard workout on the elliptical or bike in just 20 minutes, without having a flare up of my injury.  Even yesterday, I left the gym drenched in sweat after 30 minutes on the arc trainer.  I’m hoping to find a spinning bike or spin class I can go to so that I can start really working on my glutes and hamstrings again.

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3.  Figure out your imbalances.  This is less about surviving your injury and more about figuring out how you can prevent it from happening again.  I’ve known for weeks that my glute and hamstring were not firing the way the should, and doing heavy squats made that pull those muscles even more out of alignment, causing my injury.  So, now I’m focused on getting my pelvis set back in to place, not only through chiropractic care, but also through doing the exercises to strengthen those tendons and ligaments affecting that area.

I also know that CrossFit and Insanity has NOT been helping me right now, so I am backing off that until I get my imbalances fixed.  So, instead, I’m doing New Rules of Lifting for Women again.  I did this after my pregnancy with MacKenna and came back to running stronger than ever.  It’s going to help me build my strength back up slowly, which looking back now, I realize I really needed, before I start incorporating harder exercises again.  I’ll also be doing rehab exercises to reset my SI joint into place on the days I’m not lifting weights.  I can already tell you that I feel a significant difference in my strength and how my back/hip/leg feel.

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4.  Let. It. Go.  I’m trying to channel my inner Elsa lately and just try to let things go.  I’m sure I could write a whole other post on this alone, but it’s something I’ve been trying to practice more lately.  I’m injured.  I can’t run.  I know this.  Yes, it’s SUCKS hardcore.  But, I know it’s needed.  I know that the time off is going to help me.  I know that eventually, whether it’s next week or a few months from now, I WILL run again.  This is not the first time I’ve been injured and I’ve set PRs after other injuries before.  I’m the one putting pressure on myself – no one else is.  So, I just have to let it go.  I’ll race again.  It’s OK to take some time off for awhile…