5 Tips for Keeping a Positive Outlook When Injured
Even under the best of circumstances, I don’t think I am what anyone would ever call a ‘glass half full’ type of gal. My eyes automatically are drawn to the picture that is slightly askew on the wall, my mind ruminates on what went wrong or was lacking in a situation. I have always had a hard time finding the ‘silver lining’ in what I would consider to be ‘bad’ events. In other words, I have always had to work to put a positive spin on life and appreciate the goodness in it.
I’m sure it will come as no surprise to any of my fellow pessimistic runners out there that a chronic, nagging injury will just about cripple you emotionally (not to mention physically). Mine developed after months of running hilly races but training on the flat roads near my home. My IT band, knee, and foot decided they’d had enough of my nonsense and basically went on strike. The rehab was ongoing for about a year, and even after I was officially released from treatment, my injuries will still occasionally come back to haunt me when my mileage climbs above a certain threshold. When running is your life, and you suddenly become stuck in a holding pattern, where not only are you making no progress, but you are not even able to run for a while, it can really get to you. The crankiness from not being as physically active paired with the emotional despair at your circumstances can be enough to make you throw your hands up in the air and just quit being a runner.
Fortunately, my love of running was greater than my frustration (although some days, not by much!). How did I stay the course? Here are some strategies I employed (and some I wish I had, but didn’t!):
Make sure you have a great team of doctors/therapists at your disposal. I was blessed to have them all under the same roof, thanks to the recommendation of my primary physician (and fellow runner). My team consisted of a chiropractor who specialized in sports injuries, her assistants, and a top notch sports massage therapist. This group of people became my new family over the course of my treatment, as I saw them weekly and got to know them VERY well.
Do what you’re told! You will not get better if you don’t follow the plan you are given. Also, you will wind up wasting your money, which just adds insult to injury. If you have done your homework and found a good team to get you back on your feet again, trust them and do what they say. Is going in for therapy twice a week a pain? Yes. Is doing a set of exercises at home in addition to office visits inconvenient? You bet. But it’s kind of like the lottery, you can’t win it if you ain’t IN it, sister.
Use this time as a learning experience. Instead of beating yourself up for being so stupid and getting injured (which is tempting!), reflect on what led to this development, and how you can change your training in the future to prevent a recurrence. In my case, running-specific strength training was a must add to my routine.
Offer it up! Yes, we’ve all heard this so many times it’s easy to ignore completely. But it gives your suffering meaning, and it really does help the Body of Christ. There will be days when it’s the only thing that gets you through the pain (both literal and figurative), knowing that someone out there, somewhere, NEEDS this from you.
Use this to deepen your relationship with Jesus. This is a wonderful opportunity to meditate on His passion. No matter how bad you’re hurting, He has hurt more for YOU! If anyone can sympathize, it’s Him… he’s been there, he understands, and he can take it if you spend most of your time wallowing in self-pity and complaining, whereas your family? Probably not so much!
If I can leave you with one final word of wisdom, it’s this: This too, shall pass. Keep your chin up and don’t let this challenging season of life bring you down - you’ve got this! Run on, sisters!
Jennifer has been a runner since the early 2000's. She's the wifey to Wade and mom to two with a partially empty nest (boo!). She loves running (of course!), being in nature, writing, baking, photography, memory keeping, singing with her church choir, and her awesome Catholic faith! (If she could live at church, she probably would!) Jennifer has two adorable dogs (both Chihuahua mixes) and one of her life's goals is to own an RV and travel to all the National Parks before she kicks the bucket!