Mike W over at Just a Little Run wrote a post Just a Little Run…: Making It Count., about what to do when injured and he offered a lot of great advice on things you can do while you are injured to stay active.
I added one more thing and I think it is an important one.
(online or face-to-face)
Many runners when they are injured (whether it is running related or not) have the tendency to isolate themselves away from other runners and stop participating in a community that they were so active in before they were injured. Especially if the injury will mean a long period of not running.
Unfortunately, when they are injured many runners are thinking only about how their injury affects them (been there done that), not how they will be missed by the people they have become friends with and not how they can still contribute to the community they have been such a part of, even while they are injured.
- many are jealous of those who can run, when they can’t run and don’t want to be around people who can
- no one “understands” how they feel about not being able to run (like nobody else has ever been injured)
- don’t want to be a “burden” on others (you’re not)
- don’t want to continually answer the question “When are you going to start running again?”
- that people will get tired of hearing them whine about our injury (we understand – believe me we understand)
- they no longer feel that we are part of the “group” if we can’t run (b.s.)
That is unfortunate, because when runners have an injury there is a process that we all seem to work through and a good blog post on those stages of injury is over at Shut up Run – Stages of Injury. Runners do need support (whether they want to admit it or not) in getting through those stages and getting back to the sport they loved so much.
When a runner isolates themselves from their online or real life running support network:
- it deprives the injured runner of one their natural running support networks that help them stay engaged with others who have the same interests
- they lose contact with those who would stay positive about their return to running, even when the person doesn’t believe it will happen
- they tend to be more pessimistic about whether/when and how they will get back to the sport
- develop bad habits, i.e. eating, drinking, not doing anything at all to remain active, instead of what they can. Then find themselves completely out of shape in a relatively short time
- they let go of the great friendships they have developed in that community
- it takes them longer to return to the sport they loved so much
- or worse the injured runner just completely leaves running
- I am sure there are more, but this is a start to that list
These are all things that I have done and so have many other injured runners.
What can you do
You can sit back and become a couch potato, get fat, lazy and pessimistic about the future or you can make the best of a bad situation, pick yourself up, dust yourself and stay involved your running community.
What can an injured runner do to stay involved in running, even though they might be injured:
- Volunteer to help out at local races, events, fun run or your local running club (help with registration at races or whatever you can do)
- There are always online chats/hastags: #fitfluential #runchat #fitblog #runners #running and all the other online running forums to participate in.
- help organize things for other runners, be part of the clean-up detail
- if you have computer skills, blogging, know how to put together a webpage, use Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other social media to publicize the club and to attract new members, can help write a newsletter, etc. your local running club should be very interested in your help and you will be considered a very valuable asset to the club
- figure out what other skills that you have, that can be a huge asset – carpentry, photography, writing, etc.
- be part of a support team, I know of many times at local fun runs (back in the day), that injured runners would drive the “I’m done vehicle” for the other runners who couldn’t/didn’t complete a run. I have used that vehicle as a runner a couple of times during fun runs and it was a welcome sight. Just have some plastic bags to cover your seats – those damn sweaty runners.
- if your friends are at a race and you haven’t volunteered to help, cheer your friends on in different parts of the race course (if possible) and be there at the end to help them out. You would appreciate it if the roles were reversed.
- take lots of pictures of your friends running, races, fun runs, events, etc., they will tell you how horrible they look, but will still be thankful that you took the pictures of them in action and add them to their albums, blogs or however, they keep track of their photos. Runners usually don’t have too many pictures of us running or at running events.
- most of all stay our friend
- An injured runner still has all that experience and knowledge that they gained while they were running and can continue to pass that knowledge on to other runners.
There are so many things that an injured runner can do to remain active in the running community and I am sure that you have more ideas to help injured runners stay active in the running community.
The reality is that
JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE INJURED DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU CANNOT REMAIN INVOLVED IN YOUR RUNNING COMMUNITY.
It totally sucks, to be injured and not be able to run whatever the reason (I was gone for almost 18 months this last time and it wasn’t even running related), but it doesn’t mean that you don’t have anything to give to your fellow runners while you are injured.
You can exchange the word “runner” for any other activity you enjoy and continue to participate – this is not just about about running.
What do you think?
What do you think, should injured runners just fade away from the running community or should they continue to be active and vibrant members of that community, even if they can’t run?
If you are injured look closely at the things that Mike at Just a Little Run…: Making It Count says in his post – it is all great advice! But remember, it is also important to stay connected to others who share your interests, even when you can’t actively participate. You still have a lot to offer other runners even while you are injured.