When you start running everything is great. You’re trying something you’ve never done and loving (or maybe hating) it. The leg soreness, the stretching, it all has a new feel to it. This is stage 1, where runners feel great and can train without any issues.
Stage 2. You know you’re injured.
Most runners go through a few injuries during their lifetime……OK….maybe more than just a few. This is never a good feeling. Perhaps it starts as a twinge, or a discomfort. You think, I can still run, I’m OK. Then it continues or the pain gets worse. So you ice it, take an Advil, and rest. Sometimes you have to stop running altogether. This could quite possibly be the worst torture there is. So you sit with your Runner’s World and wish you could run.
Stage 3. You do your first post-injury workout.
You finally feel good; perhaps get a doctor’s clearance to commence running again. If you’re like me, this is the worst part. I dealt with the cycle of taking care of a strained tendon in my knee, but the first run post-injury was terrible. Not terrible because it took me an hour to run 3 miles. Not terrible because I mentally couldn’t get through it. It was terrible because my legs didn’t want to run. In the 30 minutes I forced my legs to turn, the first 25 were horrible. It was worse than when I began running.
Before I injured myself the most recent time, I could run 4 miles in 40 minutes and not ache for the next couple days. I was happy that I had finally reached that milestone. So being forced to fight back to get there, took every ounce of perseverance I had.
Stage 1 (again). You run like normal without any injuries.
Eventually, every runner gets back to where they were. Or, they find a new normal. This is the stage where things feel good, when you’re back at the starting line again. You don’t think twice about lacing up your shoes and pounding the pavement. This is when it’s easy to be a runner. Maybe there’s some self-doubt, maybe some aching. But no injuries.
Right now I’m happily going through stage 1, but something tells me stage 2 will turn its ugly head once again and I’ll be set back from another PR or race goal. Oh well, tis the life of being a runner. You accept the inevitable cycle and do everything in your power to avoid stage 2.