Can I be completely honest with you? This year has been awful training wise so far. I’ve been dealing with injuries back-to-back, and it’s not because I’ve been over-training… when I’ve been able to do so. I’ve logged fewer miles this running season than I did at this point last year, and I feel stronger than last year. I’ve spent close to two months in total down due to this injury, or that injury. This is when training gets tough.
If you’ve been a member of the RSG team for a while, then you may remember that I took an entire month off from exercise back in January. This was due to a breaking point with my training after recovering from a stress fractured ankle late last year. Once February 1st rolled around, I got back to training, and everything was going well until the end of April.
Unfortunately, in April it rains… a lot. Which for a trail runner like myself, can make training difficult because the surface you’re accustomed to running on is changing with each rain storm. At the end of a nothing but a rainy week, filled with running in between rain storms, and slipping and sliding on mud. My shin splints were starting to make an appearance. So I immediately cut back running, focused solely on strength training for a week, and returned to running the following week.
Running with no problems continued into early June when I hyperextended my knee. The bad thing is this wasn’t a running injury.
I’m a huge advocate for partaking in other sports to help with agility and to change it up and work your muscles in a different way. Another important detail for this is that my knees already naturally hyperextend due to being double-jointed.
So after jumping and hitting the soccer ball off my knee, to bring it back down to my feet, my knee locked and bent just a bit too far back while landing after the jump. A little KT tape, and I was ready to go a few days later as long as I kept up my knee strengthening exercises.
Back to the joys of trail running.
A little over a week later while running, I hit the arch of my foot over a small tree stump which I couldn’t see due to it being covered by grass. It mildly irritated my plantar fascia; I did the fast track to recovery. Meaning I spent a week with KT tape across my arch, rolling my arch with a golf ball three times a day, and rolling a frozen water bottle under it for two 20min sessions each evening. Five days later and the pain was gone, but I still took an extra two days off.
Now keep in mind I haven’t been able to do much agility and speed work this running season, and I can tell my running is suffering from it. Which is why I did more agility based work than speedwork (because my speedwork right now is more of a fast run, but not quite a sprint) this past Saturday, and now today my left arch hurts. It’s nothing more than irritation due to a drastic change in routine, but after so many injuries it’s frustrating.
It’s frustrating not being able to run. It’s frustrating not being able to train how I want. It’s frustrating that every time I do run, I question my ability to run from point A to point B due to not doing my drills.
It’s always in the back of my mind, “what if my ankle goes the wrong way and it stress fractures again?”, “what if I hit a hole and my knee hyperextends just a bit too far?”, etc., etc., etc.
Injuries are frustrating there’s no denying that, and any athlete no matter what level they’re at will tell you that. However, one of the things that separate athletes apart is how they handle an injury. For me, I always tackle an injury head on and remember what my old track coach told me after my first ankle sprain.
No athlete is truly tested until they’ve stared an injury in the face and come out on the other side stronger than ever.
So although I’m slightly frustrated that I’ll be down for another week. I know that everything, in the end, will work itself out, and I’ll continue to come back stronger than I was before being sidelined.
Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.