You now have two choices—wallow in self-pity, put on weight and lose touch with family and friends in your misery, or be proactive and positive in your recovery. It is your choice. Here are 10 ways to stay positive and retain your fitness when you're injured.
There is some good news about running injuries. Most are the results of overtraining in intensity or distance. You will run again if you are patient enough to rest and give your body time for the healing process.
Substitute the time you normally run with an equal amount of time swimming, rowing, stationary biking, using the elliptical machine or doing some other form of vigorous activity. Try to simulate your run in both time and degrees of intensity. If your run was to be a hill night, then bike easy as a warm up and then bike hard for 2 minutes and easy for 2 minutes. Do what you would usually do for a warm up and then for a hard run up the hill; then go easy down the hill.
When we are healthy and injury free most of us have a hard time fitting in our running and some stretching, so now is the time to do some weight lifting. Do more legwork than usual, along with some abdominal and upptier body routines. Weight training burns calories and will help to maintain overall fitness and muscle tone.
When running we tend to eat more. Now is the time to focus on low-fat foods. Watch the snack items such as chips, cookies, ice cream or beer. Eat to stay lean and you will keep your positive self image. Now is the time to listen to your parents and eat your fruit and vegetables. It is not the time to diet—your body needs the nutrition to repair itself.
See your doctor, podiatrist, physiotherapist or massage therapist. As an athlete you work hard at training when you are healthy. As an injured athlete be as proactive in your exercise and recovery physiotherapy as you were in your training. If you do so, you can really improve your recovery time.
If you cannot meet the group for the normal practice run, then join at the start when they go off for their run. Get a group to walk or water run. Get caught up on some of your chores with the extra time or better yet read some inspiration material to keep up your positive attitude.
Go for a bike, a hike or cross country skiing. You need the fresh air and the tranquility of the outdoors. Visit a park or a river trail. Be in nature. Be inspired by the fresh air.
Injury time can be brutal, but keep it in perspective. Go visit the local extended care facility near you. Think of a friend or family member who has some real illness or real pain. Some of them may not recover; you will stop being a wimp and complaining. No one wants to hear it anyway.
Enjoy your cross training workout for what it is and for the benefits it will bring you mentally, physically and spiritually. Be flexible with your goals when injured and be prepared to lower your expectations on race day.
Keep all your training fun. That way you will never know the difference between training or playing.