This was not the post I intended to write when I started writing. I wanted to write something like, “Four ways to train through injury” or “How I survived an ankle sprain to get back to running” but the story always comes back to decisions we make that affect us in the future-in ways that can make a big difference. Everything happens for a reason and we usually do not know what that reason is. Our life choices send us along a path of uncertainty. It’s all about following your gut and acceptance.
I am 7 days away from my goal race, a 25K trail race I signed up for in November. I decided to try something different-a new distance and a new event in a new location. That is a lot of newness for me! If you have been reading my blog you know I am a bit intense. I like routine, I like a plan and I like to stick to it. I really like to control my life to the extent it is possible. Over the last few years as a runner I have learned there are somethings that are out of your control-like the weather on race day, sickness, and other people. So, I really like to stick to my training plan and control as many variables as I can to give myself the best opportunity for successfully achieving my goals.
But I did not plan to roll my ankle 2 weeks ago. I probably could have controlled that event by choosing NOT to run a 10 mile technical trail race in the wrong shoes, but I did not really know any better. Now I know why they make trail shoes. The ankle sprain was not terrible, but it did prevent me from following the last three weeks of my training plan which were supposed to be focused on running. How did I survive not following my plan? Here’s what happened:
The most important decision I made was a year ago when I decided to work with Justin at Gain Strength and Conditioning. I couldn’t know it at the time, but this one decision affected my recovery the most. Justin has training in mobility which includes joint and soft tissue work which we started 48 hours after the injury. No more Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Instead, wrap, re-wrap, and get moving-but respect the injury. THIS is why I work with a personal trainer, coach, person, whatever you want to call it. I cannot stress enough the value of working with someone who cares about helping you accomplish your short term goals and life goals, and has the skill-set and mindset to keep it all together on top of running a gym. From the time I set my 25k goal I have felt supported, even when things were not going the way I liked.
I want to train as if I am going to run my race. So I ditched my printed training plan for the month and Justin created plans daily based upon my recovery. I took a deep breath and jumped on the Air Dyne and did all kinds of circuit work to maintain my strength and to continue to work on my conditioning. I worked on recovery 6 days a week for 2 weeks like it was my job. Day by day, the swelling went down, the pain decreased and my range of motion increased.
How did I manage my anxiety over not following my plan? It was really simple. I stopped looking at it. The first 48 hours were so rough I just went to the gym for an assessment to hear what the prognosis was. Once Justin told me how he planned to have me train around the injury, I simply stopped looking at the plan. I know I am heading into my taper week, week 4 of my training cycle, but that is all I can tell you. Tomorrow when I get to the gym my workout will be whatever I need to work on to keep me on track to run next Sunday. This all goes back to the decision I made a year ago to join Gain. It has taken a year for me to get to the point where I am at now-but I can finally trust in the philosophy, the process and myself.
For more information on mobility check out Kelly Starrett, aka @mobilitywod Ice is for Corpses article
For more information on Gain Strength and Conditioning check out Seacoast Online’s article from a year ago: Gain Confidence at the Gym
For more information on my 25K trail race check out Salomon Trail Running Festival.