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Coming Back From Injury is Hard

Jan 26, 2019 | Lifestyle, Running, Running Advice, Wellness | 10 comments

Why does it seem so hard to come back from time off running?

Whether thats due to work/life taking over, holidays, or sickness/injury. Fitness seems to be lost so quickly when we work so hard to make small gains.

I’m lucky that my knee/ITB/quad is my only running related injury I’ve had and although it seems to always be the same place/injury that reoccurs, it doesn’t require too long away from training.

I am trying to stay positive, stay focused on the ultimate goal and work hard to get back to where I was…and beyond.

Focus on Nutrition

I’m going to be honest, as much as I do know what I’m talking about when it comes to nutrition, I’m often not my best patient. During my 2 weeks off running, I ate as if I was still running 40 miles per week (and probably worse, considering I was stress/sad eating). I put on a little extra weight – although I don’t own scales so can only tell from how I look, feel and how clothes fit – and it’s made me feel less than great.

This week, I’ve been focusing more on fueling my body, ensuring I get my five a day, eating wholegrains, drinking enough and eating more consciously.

Do A Workout You Love

I have been so focused on my BQ and making sure that I get my running workouts in that I neglected the classes that I used to look forward to and enjoy. Yes I love running, but I also love a group workout.

Last night I went to Barry’s Bootcamp with a friend, and I’ve returned to Barrecore with one of the kids that I nanny (she is always reluctant to go but happy once we’ve finished!).

What do you love that has been neglected due to running? I listened to na interesting podcast that said, although it’s important to do sport specific training, your heart doesn’t know that it’s running/cycling/swimming – just that it’s working aerobically. When you’re coming back from injury or have lost fitness, just getting your aerobic fitness back is key!

Change Something

I know part of the reason this injury has reoccured is because strength hasn’t been a priority. My physio (and the physio before that, do I learn?) has said my ITB problems and this quad strain is due to my quads doing too much work, and my glutes not doing enough.

In the past I have rehabbed and then gone straight back to my previous bad habits of not enough strength training or mobility work.

Try not to fall into the Comparison Trap

Comparing yourself to your pre-injury/illness self, or worse still, other people around you or online is perhaps the worst part of recovery.R

I follow some totally amazing runners online that are running times I can only dream of. Knowing how far away from my own BQ (sub 3.30) goal is hard, but I try to use their hard work as motivation. It can make me despondent when I see people documenting HUGE improvements in time, when I feel like I’ve been stuck for years. But I try to remember that each person is on their own journey and doing their own thing. You do YOU.

2018 Running Goals

Reassess your plan

Another great podcast quote, you can do more than you think in a year, but less than you think in a couple of months. My goal for a BQ was Phoenix, but I knew after a few weeks off that it wasn’t going to happen. I let it get me down for a while, wondering if this marathon was ever going to happen. Marathon number 12… I had a DNF (did not finish) in Malawi, a DNS (did not start) in September, and another for Phoenix. I questioned whether I would ever be fast enough to run a sub 3.30 marathon.

But I tried to stay positive, knowing that if I didn’t try, I would never know what I could achieve. If I didn’t try, I was always going to fail.

I had to rethink things, and push the goal time scale back. I haven’t fully confirmed my goal race yet but I know it will be late May/early June. Going from where I am now and building over the next 4-5 months.

Whatever your big goal was, whether it was to run a sub 2 hour half, finish your first marathon, run sub 4, sub 3… that goal should still be THE GOAL, but the timeline might have to change.


  1. Michael

    Keeping control of eating is hard. Confused by your comment about 40 mile weeks, when did you do them? According to strava your mileage is much lower, there’s one week of 48 miles, but looks like some duplication and a treadmill run recorded wrong.

    • charlotte

      Thanks for your comment Michael – not all of my runs are recorded on Strava, but most of my weeks (except when injured) have been between 30-40 miles.

      • Michael

        I’m not convinced – a running blogger who doesn’t document all their runs online? Just be transparent, no need to exaggerate mileage.

        • Shaun

          I bet you’re fun at parties

        • Jacquelyn

          She doesn’t need to prove herself. Not everyone is addicted to tech documenting their every footstep.

        • healthyhappierbear

          Do snarky comments make you feel better? If you don’t enjoy what she shares, you don’t have to follow. The world needs more positivity not negativity.

  2. shineonsyd

    I can totally concur with the eating levels, I have been out of action for 2 weeks and still eating like my life depended on it. My Spring marathons are looming but I am going to have to concentrate on core exercise until I can get back out there.

  3. Jacquelyn

    I agree, it’s so hard coming back and waiting for your body to adjust to the new stress again! Sorry for your injury ? I knew my gait was bad but wasn’t motivated enough to change until I actually did Phoenix last year, and my quads were sore at mile 7 from the (moderate) downhill (yikes!) and I had to use crutches for a few days after because of the worst quad DOMS e-v-e-r (couldn’t even kick my knee out straight ..). I’ve been putting in the work to change my form over the last year and it’s a constant work in progress but so so worth it. Commit, you will not be sorry and it will absolutely help you acheive your goals! I feel so much more powerful with glute dominant running form let alone the decreased injury risk. Good luck!!

  4. Laura

    I always look forward to your blog posts! You are so motivating and positive! I know you’ll get your BQ!! I’m working toward a sub 4 marathon in June, and a BQ someday 🙂

  5. Kelly

    I know how you feel when you see others seem to make massive progress in short periods of time. I have been stuck in a rut for about 4 years now and I think I may finally be coming out of it…it has been very hard not making any progress and continuing to plod on…however like you say we are all on our own journey..the only thing that really has kept me going is that I love running too much to quit it!

    Injuries,,,illness…stagnation – they are the biggest challenges to consistency.


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