One Day at a Time
Being patient is tough for everyone. Sometimes the only way to retain sanity is to take it one day at a time. Rather than focus on how much work you have ahead of you, look at what workouts and goals you can achieve for that day or that week. Set mini goals each week and check them off as benchmarks along your route to making a full comeback to running.
More: How to Define Your Running Goal
Core, Strength and Flexibility
Make the most of the time you're not able to run by focusing on other weaknesses. Gain flexibility, improve your core and overall strength; not only will this make you feel like you're being productive despite not being able to run much, but it will also pay dividends when you are back and running at your optimal level.
More: 5 Essential Core Exercises for Runners
Baby Steps Back
If you start to notice old injury symptoms or new injury symptoms creep up, reassess right away. It may mean not increasing your running for that week, or even taking a few baby steps back for the week. Cut back on the amount of time spent running and do more cross-training. Don't think of this as a sign of defeat; typically, if you catch it and take steps back early, you'll avoid anything serious and be back on "schedule" the next week.
More: How to Cross-Train Through Injuries
Positivity and Perspective
I'll say it again: The biggest deciding factor in how well you can come back from an injury is perspective. Even on the days when you'd like to burn the elliptical or bike to the ground, give yourself a little window of time to vent. But, in the end, get on the cross-trainer and get it done. Look forward to the runs and more miles as they come and do not forget that each mile is NOT a given. Be grateful for them and, as you are able to run more and are back to full training mode, remind yourself not to take them for granted. This will help you remain patient and keep your eyes focused on the long term.
Honestly, coming back from an injury doesn't stink because, while those first few miles hurt like nothing else and may leave you sore for days, the act of "feeling" like you're a runner again is one heck of a high. So smile, even if it looks more like a grimace, and have faith that muscle memory will eventually kick back in soon!
More: 3 Ways to Build an Injury-Proof Foundation for Running
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