My biggest fear in life is not being able to exercise…so I guess you could say I am most of afraid of getting injured… A few weeks ago I was experiencing pain in my hip/glute while running. I made appointments with my chiro and physio right away and they both told me that I needed to rest and take a break from running for 1-2 weeks. I was very upset. Especially since I was 6 weeks out from my half marathon race.
In the past this would have sent me into a horrible state, I would’ve eaten my emotions, thought that my life was over and been in a really bad mood, every single day. BUT this time I was sad for a day and then I accepted that my body needed a rest and time to heal. No emotional eating, no feeling bad for myself and no irrational thoughts. In fact I even thought that it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I can’t run the Half Marathon race I have been training for since November. Then I started thinking “why am I reacting so differently than I used to?” And this is what I came up with…
- In the past I was so obsessed with losing weight/my physique and my obsession with food and exercise controlled my life. I did not have a healthy work/life balance. When the scale tipped way to one side (injury due to over training that meant I couldn’t train etc) I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. But NOW I have an amazing husband, a rewarding career and business (I’ve always had that but I feel I am better at managing my time=less stressed/tired), I have incredible family and friends whom I look forward to seeing on a regular basis and most importantly I am happy and healthy-mentally, physically and emotionally.
- When I exercise less I am less hungry. So this helps prevent me from going crazy with food and encourages me to focus on eating lean protein and veggies. This really helps me to feel less crappy while I am not exercising.
- It helps me put things in perspective. I had a goal of running a 1:45 half marathon. This meant more running. increasing my speed etc and by doing that, my body was starting to tell me, “take it easy or you will be sorry later” and it led to me getting injured. This injury has really calmed me down and instead of being so competitive with myself and trying to run this race with a crazy time goal it has encouraged me to shift my focus. I need to remember this- I run because it makes me feel good, it is like a moving meditation for me. The moment it doesn’t feel good and I start hating it I need to take a step back, slow down and run for the enjoyment, not for the competition. I’m not an elite runner, I don’t get paid for it so why try and train like one?
- I have been missing my regular massage treatments and not doing enough yoga. And what happens when you skip those? You get super tight and your risk for injury is high. So this has forced me to chill and it’s amazing how good I feel not exercising lol. Even though I have been focusing on getting more sleep doing proper warmups, mobility work, strength training AND stretching after my workouts and runs, it wasn’t enough.
- I love running but I have accepted that a half marathon is not the best distance/race for me. As much as I love the challenge, the training and the day of the race I think I will stick to doing 5 and 10km races. Who knows, maybe I’ll love doing the triathlon? Regardless I am 185 lbs, have a strong lower body, probably not ideal running form, and not the BEST body type for running long distance and that’s ok! I’ve done so many races over the last 8 years that I can say I’ve been there, done that and help others train for their first half or full marathon.
Long story short, taking the last week and a half off from exercise has been a great mental exercise. I’ve had more time for myself (and my husband and friends and family), I’ve had a chance to rest my body, my mind and my soul. Do I miss it? YES! Am I looking forward to running again? YES! Will I take it easy and slowly build my runs up again? YES! Will I run the half marathon at the end of May? Not sure yet but I will listen to my body (and my health professionals) and decide closer to the date. Will I do my best to prevent this injury or other injuries from happening again? YES! That’s what I appreciate about injuries, you learn so much about yourself and come back even stronger and smarter when you have recovered.
Have you ever been injured and freaked out that you wouldn’t be able to exercise for a few weeks and think you’ll gain a ton of weight? That’s totally normal. But take a deep breath and tell yourself you’ll be ok. But, if I can take time off so can you, as long as you learn from your mistakes and realize that being able to move for the rest of your life is more important than having crazy goals that require crazy training that could potentially injury you for an extended period of time. Take care of yourself, and your body will thank you for it! Remember the exercise will get you fit but too much of anything is a bad thing. Also keep in mind that you exercise won’t help you to lose weight but eating right consistently will. The more you exercise the hungrier you become. So move often but smart and eat foods (and the amount) that make you feel good, not gross.
I am a huge fan of being able to exercise and train my clients until the day I die so if I want to be able to do that I must exercise, eat healthy, sleep, take more time for myself and stay injury free. Here’s to another 100 years of healthy living….