Today I had a celebration of sorts. A little personal victory party. After spending the latter half of 2016 dealing with a stress reaction in my foot, I can comfortably say I am not injured anymore! As a physio, I often advise my patients to mindfully avoid falling into a long term "disability mentality" when they are injured. There comes a point when your body is healed, but it's easy to still think of yourself as "damaged," and remain fearful of moving normally, living normally. Although it's still healthy and wise to be cautious post injury, consciously leaving that "injured runner" mentality behind is necessary and so liberating!
All along the way, I gave my body small tests I strongly felt that I could pass. I was not interested in self-sabotaging this whole process and wasting all that valuable healing time I had spent resting. This is the criteria I give my patients, and I made sure to apply it to myself each and every day.
Pain-free walking before running. My personal test was 60 min on the treadmill.
1) No obsessing about your injury. If you are aware of your problem with each step and you can't relax and forget about it for whatever reason, that's a sign that maybe you shouldn't be running that day.
2) No limping or altered gait allowed. I constantly monitored my gait with the metrics from my Garmin, which meant wearing my HRM for all runs. If my ground contact time R/L balance spread by more than 2% over the course of a run (L 51% R 49%) then I knew I needed to adjust my plan for the next few days.
1) No lasting discomfort > 2 hours.
2) No increased morning stiffness or discomfort the next day.
3) Overall healing trend - each week is better than the last.
I just had a 3D Gait Running Assessment completed where I work at The Running & Gait Centre. I can happily say there is nothing biomechanically precluding me from running - no red flags. In fact, my gait is better than it was last year! I'd highly recommend any recovered runner consider having one of our assessments done before starting to increase mileage, if for nothing else than peace of mind. I'd be lying if I said that I am 100% pain free, but the vast majority of the time I am and each week is better than the last.
So it's time to leave that injured runner mindset behind and move on towards my next race goal. I am finally confident enough to say that I'll still be toeing the line at the Zion 100 in April. Very excited. Onward and Upward!