Getting back to running after an injury can be daunting. There is definitely a psychological impact to being injured and plenty of emotional barriers to overcome as you resume running again. This is normal. As a runner, I have dealt with plenty of injuries myself. In 2017 a hip injury kept me off running for eight months, and my brain was throwing a lot at me when I started running again. Poor motivation, lack of confidence, impatience and fear of re-injury were just some of the issues I faced.
Here are my top tips to help you overcome these emotional barriers, as you start hitting the road/trails again:
Get your head in the game. Set realistic goals and smash them. Enter for races; especially ones that get you excited about running again. Training for a race will motivate you to stick to your training plan.
Face your fears. Understand that fear of re-injury is normal. However, constantly worrying about an injury could compromise your performance. Aches and pains during training are often normal; therefore, it is essential to monitor pain and progress objectively. Look at the facts, rather than what you imagine may or may not be happening. With any injury, when in doubt, check in with your physiotherapist.
Stay the course. Focus on the small steps. Break your training plan down into daily goals, write them down and tick them off. Avoid overtraining, optimise your recovery, and stick to your rehab plan. Consistency builds confidence and is vital in preventing re-injury.
Run for yourself.
Returning to running for the wrong reasons can sabotage your success. Don’t feel pressured by coaches, friends, family or sponsors; let your love of running drive your comeback. I remember lacing up my shoes, plugging in my tunes and simply enjoying the feeling of being able to run again!