The Injury Rut

posted in: Running | 6

For nearly six weeks now I’ve found myself stuck in a rut. And true to what I’ve come to expect, my reaction has been to repeatedly slam the pedal to floor, rev the engine, spin the wheels frantically — but only making matters worse in the end. I’m stubborn.

Sure, my IT-band injury has certainly set back my running plans, but I’ve heavily compensated with an onslaught of stretching, strengthening, skiing, cycling, and the otherwise constant pursuit to fill the gap left by running with as much activity as possible. While I’ve retained some fitness, I’ve also subjected my body to all sorts of new stress — stress that has accumulated and spilled over into other parts of my life. It’s left me with a deep cold I’ve carried for several weeks. It’s influenced my mood — I’ve been unfairly short with friends, co-workers and family. And I’ve been unusually tired and fatigued today, which seems to contradict the fact that I’ve run far fewer miles of late.

Yesterday I escaped the office to the Steaming Bean to add an overdue entry to my journal, and I think this brief moment of reflection — the first in a while — finally shed some new light on my situation. Slow down, weasel… it’s only February.

I appreciate winter... but deep down I think I'm a summertime guy.

Indeed, the long, dark winter has worn me down, and I’ll attribute additional anxiety to the holding pattern I’m in (I’m still living out of a suitcase having yet to find a more permanent housing arrangement). I think I’ve seized one too many days in a row, relentlessly waking each morning by 5am to crank out a few hours of exercise.

So last night I vowed to take a new approach, and it began by disabling my alarm clock and crawling into bed at 8:30pm. It continued this morning when I awoke, made stovetop oatmeal and a hot cup of coffee, and sat down at the table to write this post before jumping into anything physical.

Rest. So many of us think we can do without it, but at the end of the day, instinct defeats will. Today I will not work out. I will instead focus on work, relationships, and the laundry list of other things I’ve been neglecting — and I will take solace in knowing that, as far as 2012 is concerned, the best is so yet to come.

Yes, please. I miss this already.

6 Responses

  1. Same boat. Must curb enthusiasm. good post!

  2. I’ve had some pretty insightful mornings about life at the Bean. When in doubt about life, head over there :)

  3. It amazes me how hard some folks work out and stress out in Dec/Jan/Feb for goal races in July and August. There are definitely times to go to bed early and get up before the sun and boring stuff like that, but winter isn’t one of them.

    If I lived in Durango I would visit El Rancho instead of the Bean to solve life’s problems.

  4. Good post, dude. I think it’s easy to forget that part of training involves recovering – whether it’s physical, psychological, spiritual, etc. – and that we are too eager to log our miles or hours on the trail without remember to log some hours doing things that can keep us from getting injured or burnout.

  5. Nice post, thanks for sharing. That’s a good reminder for us all. Afterall, the stress of working out actually makes us weaker. It’s in the recovery time when the body rebuilds itself that we actually get stronger. It’s a perfect symbiosis, and one does not work without the other.

  6. I too have had IT issues and have found A.R.T. to be the ultimate cure. I would not bother you with a recommendation if I did not fully believe in its healing power. They are able to un-adhere the band from the muscle and allow it to move freely once again like it should. Also, a little trigger point in the glute area helps along with pigeon pose for a stretch. Please feel free to disregard if you have heard all this before. Good luck!

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