Sunday morning. The clock read 7:00 AM. I swung my legs out of bed having every intention to make today a productive one . I took one step and immediately felt my left foot give out on me. I knew something felt off when I got off the treadmill last night but like every other runner in the world, I pushed the injury as far back into my mind as it could possibly go and continued on with my night. I stretched, I ate dinner, and slept a much needed eight hours before I realized that this day might not be as good as I had hoped for.
Having a bum foot is one thing, but what really bothered me were the thoughts that instantly started racing through my head. "How am I going to work out today?" "How am I going to continue adding miles if this is how I'm going to feel when I'm finished?" "If I don't work out today I'm going to lose every ability to reach my goals and be happy." And so on...
I think these are natural thoughts for many people who are active. Once it becomes a part of your everyday life it's hard to go about your week without it. I sat there this morning with my coffee, upset that I couldn't and wouldn't be able to do anything active today. And then the little light bulb in my head went off...
Rather than focusing on what I can't do, I needed to focus on what I can do. Just because I can't run or do much walking right now does not mean that I can't swim, work my upper body, do core work, or even some light yoga poses. As a runner, I get so fixated on miles and speeds and distance per week and it's just...gross. We should not have to live our life praying for a treadmill run four times a week and even more than that, we should not have to worry about an injury completely ruining our ability to be happy. Active people sometimes suffer from injuries and that is just part of life. The only thing you can do is give your body time, rest, and the care it needs so that you can do better next time.
Here are my tips to overcome exercise setbacks.
If you think you should see a doctor, you're probably right. If you believe you truly injured yourself and need a second opinion, go get it looked it. There is nothing worse than not knowing what the real problem is and it can affect your sleep, your mood, and your stress levels if you go day after day just hoping it will go away.
· Keep focusing on the things that you can do. Like I said, I can't run or do anything with impact, however, I need to think about what I'm still capable of. Sunday afternoon I hobbled around my entire house and cleaned and did 15 minutes of core work. Today I'm going to do an upper body circuit and some stretching. There are so many ways to get your heart rate slightly elevated!
· Find fitness in your everyday life ----> as my mom would say, 'weekly maintenance cleaning' is a wonderful saturday workout.
· Focus on your diet. Amp up your fruit and veggie intake, skip the second piece of candy, and avoid heavy meals that are hard to digest.
· Allow yourself a break. If you are typically an active person, give yourself a much needed time off. If you think about it, a high school sport only lasts for a fall, winter, or spring season. What do athletes do during their off season? After a week or two of rest, they begin training again. Everybody needs a small break once in a while. It will make your cherish fitness even more when you return. I've burned myself out a few times before and it's a terrible feeling. My immune system was weak, my body was always tired, and I was never in a good mood.
· Focus on one other area of health. Since I can't do much exercise right now, I'm trying to put my energy towards another area of healthy living, my mind! I went over to my parent's house last night and grabbed a few books from my mom's bookshelf and spent the evening reading and drinking three mugs of ice water before bed. It felt good to just relax a little bit!
Happy Monday to you all. Have a beautiful week and always remember...
I'm a sucker for The Lion King and it makes me cry every single time I watch it. I'm such a sap.