Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Best Injury Advice I Wasn't Given

I wrote this as advice to my future self, but figured I’d share it in case it could help anyone else out.

Diagnosis: Impacted stress fracture of 2nd metatarsal, left foot. 6 weeks off running completely and a further 3 of rehab.

Background: Running for 3 years, built up to 65 miles/week. A road/trail runner that dabbles on the fell, 32mins-ish for 10k, 15.50 PB for 5k.

Advice to my future injured self:
            1. STOP RUNNING. STOP. NOW. STOP!!!! I had never been injured before, and am ashamed to have said on numerous occasions ‘I don’t really get injured’. B*llocks. There are two types of runner: Those that are injured and those that will be injured. My naivety contributed to my downfall. If it feels wrong, stop and seek medical advice.

2    2.‘Trust me, I’m a Doctor’ Get the right diagnosis, see a real Doctor. When you’re injured, everyone else seems to suddenly become an expert. Ignore them and seek professional advice. Not a physio, not your mate on Strava who ‘once had a dodgy toe so knows how it feels’ (guilty as charged). Go to your GP. This is nothing against your mates (or my mates) or physios, but that’s what GPs receive 7 years of training for and why they are there. I was lucky enough to be diagnosed quickly by my GP and my timetable for recovery was subsequently confirmed by MRI scan.

3.       3. Get back into your routine. As soon as your Doctor allows, get back into a cross-training routine that mirrors your pre-injury running routine as closely as possible. For me this was 2 ‘sessions’ a week plus a ‘long run’ on the elliptical trainer, plus steady cycling/aqua running in between. This has two benefits: It helps your mental state by removing the ‘lost’ feeling from your routine being disrupted, and it also means you hit the ground running (no pun intended) when you’re ready to stride again.

4.       4. It’s an opportunity. Take the opportunity to work on the parts of your fitness that are often neglected. I’m a better climber now than before my injury, and I put this down to weight training and elliptical work. This gives another mental boost to your rehab knowing that you can come out of the other side stronger in at least one way.  I include training your ‘running IQ’ in this, research why you got injured, plan your rehab, plan your future training and your racing goals.

A combination of the above other advice received has helped me recover well and today I capped my recovery with 2nd place at Orton Fell Race, 9 weeks and 4 days after breaking down.

That’s my few pence, hopefully it will help a few people out.

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