Phase 1: The 1st week after Howl at the Moon. Walking a few miles each day. I'm a firm believer in physical activity every single day even if it's very slow and easy. Slow & easy is better than nothing, even after a big race. For a few nights to help in my recovery, I did take a muscle relaxer & extra strength prescription anti-inflammatory pills. This pretty much knocked me out each night and helped me get some deep, deep sleep (in addition to several naps). By Wednesday I was feeling much better & had little to no soreness or effect from my race only 4 days prior. I changed my workout from a slow, easy pace & short (2-3 miles) distance to a much faster and longer (4 miles) workout. Several of my workouts I did at home, often heading out with girlfriends for my walks. We talked the time & miles away while working up a sweat & enjoying some much needed girl/mommy time.
Phase 2: 2nd week after Howl at the Moon. I consistently walked 4 miles every single day on the treadmill at the Y. To help pass the time I read a book & committed to finishing said book before the week was up. This is the one of the main things that motivated me to keep doing this. For some reason, I can run all the live long day, but walk.....boring!!!! My leg was feeling so much better & I was tempted to try running. However to give it a full effort of sticking to this strict recovery process that I had implemented upon myself I had to resist such a great temptation. I also added in weight lifting to my routine. This, I believe, is what has been a key problem from the get go. I so often completely ignore weight lifting or any kind of cross training. This lead to my injury to begin with and I'm sure why I could properly recover either. I knew this, yet failed to do anything about it. Yeah, I'm pretty stubborn & hard headed about such things. A good portion of my life can be summed up with "I had to learn the hard way". Ugh! Well, it makes for some interesting stories (oh the stories I could tell about myself....you have no idea!!) and I'm glad to have learned and be putting such things into practice. My life also seems to indicated that once I learn things the hard way I then turn things around and said problem not only disappears also improves drastically. That gets me excited.
Phase 3: This phase was intended to slowly re-introduce running back into my routine. So maybe just a few easy miles, maybe a mix of walking & running. I had also intended to not start this phase until September. My original plan was to give myself the rest of the August with no running. This was important because I wanted to be able to honestly say I truly did give full effort to a proper recovery. Not say it one day, then throw it out the window and do the opposite the next. Really, running is my addiction. It's my drug. I say that jokingly, but it is so true!! I have serious withdraws and I'm just not me if I don't have my fix. Phase 1 & 2 were hard enough as it is. I had a lot going on in other areas that helped make it easy to scale back on everything. Now things were settling down on a personal level and my leg was feeling so much better! I was on the fence about sticking with my original plan (completely phase 2 through the rest of August) or starting it a week early.
Turns out a running friend was coming through the area last Saturday & wanted to stop off in town for a run. Without knowing too many details of my injury & recovery that friend asked if I could meet for a run. It's rare enough that someone actually initiates & asks to run with me, but when it's an out of town running friend I most certainly jump at the chance. Being that it was my first actual run in 2 weeks this was either the stupidest idea or the best thing to jump start phase 3. We ended up running 8 miles (a tad more than I probably should have ran being my first run back. Ha ha, so much for easing into it), but at a fairly slow (for me) pace. One seemed to counter the other and my body handled it quite well.
On Sunday I headed back out for a run. My first solo run in phase 3. Running with someone is always different than running solo. I had a 5 mile route planned, but also had alternatives to cut back to 3 or 4 if I felt like I needed it. So far I had no effects from my 8 miler the day before. I'm not going to say that my leg felt 100%, but it was feeling much better than it had for many months and especially considering the tough 45 miles I had put it through just 2 weeks prior. I can tell my leg is still recovering. It's going to take a long time to get it back to completely strong & healthy. However this 5 miler on Sunday felt pretty good. I even ended up with an 8 minute pace, something I was planning or trying to do, it just happened. On it's own.
I'm continuing with phase 3. I had my first speed workout on Monday. 8x800's on the treadmill (that seems to be the only way I can get speed workouts done). My first 4 - 800's I ran at a 8:30 pace, the second set of 4- 800's I ran at an 8 minute pace. I'm re-introducing certain running elements back into my schedule, but at an easy (for me) pace. I have plenty of time to get back to where I was pre-injury. I want to do it the right way & seem to be on track for that. I'm sticking with my weight training as well. It has many other benefits aside from aiding in my recovery. All in all, things are heading in the right direction for me!
Have you ever been injured before?
What did you do to recover from your injury?