It's an 'orrible feeling. It's like going to Alton Towers and being just over the height restriction to all the rides. I keeping seeing other runners, running with their precious perfectly functioning knees and I hate them all. Yes, I'm bitter. Can't even begin to imagine how gutted real athletes must be training for 4 years for one day/event only to be injured.
When you get into running you start to feel fitter (less jiggly) when some of that 'excess timber' starts to fall off you. Stopping running makes me feel like I've instantly put on 10 stone. This of course isn't rational, but what's rational in the mind of a person who volunteers to run 26.2 miles? Most of all, I miss that glorious, smug, 'Jack - 1 World - 0' post run feeling. The feeling that you've earnt the rest of the day in bed. That 'Ahh Bisto' feeling (replace bed for Bisto).
The first step to recovery is admitting there's a problem. It took me almost ruining my knee to finally hobble off to the doctors to get advice. There seems to be a special kind of runner's denial where you just keep running and tell yourself 'it will sort itself out'. There's no pain, no gain and then there's just pain.
Listen to your body. I never really understood what that actually meant but if it seems like it's saying 'ow this hurts - stop it' ...then stop it. You can make little niggles bigger problems, like I have. There's no point in doing lasting damage.
My tips for coping
First and foremost seek advice from a physio or doctor first!
Think positive - There's no use crying over split milk. You're injured, it's happened, let's deal with it. This sounds so simple but it can be the most difficult thing at times.
Re-plan your plan - The frustrating thing is meticulously following a marathon plan only to feel like you are falling hopelessly behind. The worst thing you can do is attempt to play catch up. Yes it's not perfect but what is in life? Set yourself new little goals to conquer and celebrate. Take baby steps my running brothers and sisters.
Embrace rest time - For most non runners (normal people) feet up on the couch is the first thought as you get home. However, for some runners it can be laced with guilt. Learn to love rest. Treat yourself to a new box set; get that book you've been meaning to read or whatever helps you chill out.
Cut down on your porklife - Lay off the treats. It's an easy time to go off the boil and comfort eat but watch what you eat and you'll be back on the road before you know it.
Cross train - IF you feel up to it and IF you have consulted your doctor or physio, get some cross training done. Low impact exercise like swimming or yoga/pilates can really help (they did the trick for me). It also helped me to build up some core strength - maybe take on a planking challenge.
Stay involved with running - Don't lose that lovin' feeling. Volunteer at your local park run or join a cheer point supporting others at a race. Don't let a feeling fester that you are an ex-runner.
Make a sensible decision - If you don't feel any better after rest seriously ask yourself can you do this race? Do you want to carry on and just do it a bit slower than expected? Most races offer the option to defer entry or maybe look forward to another race.
Stop it happening again - Make you sure you always properly warm up and down for every run. I know sometimes it's the last thing you want to do after a long run but it does really help. In the grand scheme of things taking a few minutes to prevent months of injury makes sense.
What helps you to stay injury free? Any tips for me? Comment below or tweet me @jackwilson89