Running or not… that’s the question

After this horror show of journey with a metatarsal stress fracture, I’m scared to run again. Really, I had more or less decided to give it up altogether. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before in one of my fitness update posts.

But the truth is, I find myself thinking a lot about running and all the what-ifs. And the fact that I hate to give up. I’ve stopped being one who gives up easily. But I also don’t want anything like this to happen again. This injury has disrupted everything. It stopped me from doing proper strength training, enjoying spring, fixing up the garden, messed up my mental health, even disrupted music to a certain extent (because of the shoulder problem caused by crutches).

I know it’s probably not 100% true, but it feels like I’ll be back on square one with leg strength and that is a huge disappointment. I was in better form than ever with my squats, even split squats before this happened. I was getting there with lunges and deadlifts. Now all that will have to be worked up all over again. Of course now I’ll know what to do to get back on track but I’m utterly annoyed over it.

But you know what more annoys me? Giving up before even getting anywhere. Previously, my injuries/niggles have always given me more drive, motivation and oomph to get stronger and keep running. I’m not so sure this time. But then I have days when my jävlaranamma comes to the surface and I get into the WTF mode and What would Goggins do?

But I can use the Jävlaranamma in the gym as well, and probably more efficiently than I would in my running shoes.

So what IS my plan with running?

I have a certain goal in mind that would require being able to run 1 km. That would be attainable… just not in a while (which is ok).

If I do decide to try running again, I still have LOADS of strengthening to do before getting back on the road. First I need to get back to where I was before the stress fracture. Then I need to get much stronger because there’s a reason I got the stress fracture and it’s not only to do with training errors or running technique & mechanics. I’ll work on overall strength but will also include runner-specific exercises with single leg strength, balance and mobility, foot strength, lower leg strength, hop exercises etc – because these are things we all need whether we run or not, especially as we age. And if I go back to running, I’ll be more prepared.

So I guess my only plan with running right now is intense strength training. That’s it. If I decide to run again, I’ll start up very differently and probably get in touch with a running coach.

Why run?

  • It was so enjoyable and refreshing
  • I loved the feeling of achievement when I made progress
  • I loved the challenge
  • The fact that I hate giving it up when I’ve invested so much time and energy into running
  • There were so many potential plans we could make about running together
  • It’s great for the cardio fitness and mental health
  • I’d love to do at least one race, 5-10k to prove to myself I’m able to do it

The cons with running

  • The injury risk, obviously
  • There are other ways to do cardio training with lower risk of injury
  • I’ll have more time and energy for strength training if I don’t run
  • More focus on strength training if I don’t run
  • The enormous learning curve and requirements on the body

My goodness people, it’s really hard to find cons! However, the biggest thing is the injury risk and that’s truly a big one because after this spring, I’m fed up with injuries. I want to be able to live a good life and do all the things I enjoy doing, without restrictions.

I’m back and forth all the time with how I feel about running. Time will tell what I decide. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy walking and strength training, using the rowing machine again, AND we’ve bought a stationary bike! So eventually, I’ll go back to being active in many different ways even if I don’t run.

And I’ll still enjoy following the running blogger community. Running caught my interest and even if I don’t run myself, I enjoy reading updates from people who do – especially now when I’ve had a sneak peak into the world of running.

I’m linking this post on the Fit Five Friday link-up with the following hosts: My First 5K and MoreRunning With AttitudeRun Laugh Eat PieRuns with Pugs, and Zenaida.

Fit Five Friday

20 responses to “Running or not… that’s the question”

  1. Deborah Brooks avatar

    I have some similar questions in my life right now. I agree with you that strengthening before your return will help you stay injury free. Coming back slow and letting your body lead you is not always easy but it usually works. Hope you are back doing what you love soon

    1. Susanne avatar

      It’s so hard to listen to the body! Mine has never let me know in advance that I’m doing too much of something. Always too late! But if I want to run I’ll find a way. My husband recommended to start inside, “run” on the spot, little by little and a few more steps each day. We’ll see.
      I hope you find what works for you too.

  2. Darlene S Cardillo avatar

    Those are all great reasons to run again.

    I bet you do.

    And your injury will be your past and that memory will fade.

    But the longer you run, the more likely another injury will happen and you will start again… that is life.

    But it’s worth it.

    My two sense but if you decide that something else fills your cup, that’s ok too.

    1. Susanne avatar

      I agree with you. This memory will eventually fade away and with time I’ll get the courage back to try again. And you’re right about another injury… it’s bound to happen if you run but I hope it won’t take months to get back to normal then.
      You never cease to inspire me! Especially as an older runner.
      And my trainer told me he had a year with injury after injury, everything imaginable. Now he’s training for a 100k.
      I may not become a long distance runner, but it would be nice to be able to do a few km for the enjoyment – and for that other goal I mentioned.

  3. Jenny avatar

    You absolutely can’t go wrong with strength training. Get yourself strong and then, if you want to run again (it sounds like you do!) you’ll be ready. And I’m glad you joined our runner blogging community- i get all sorts of ideas from this group, not only about running. And it’s also just fun to see what everyone else is doing!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, still a lot of running in my head, that’s for sure. But I’ll wait at least a year, maybe more, get myself strong as you say, and then I’ll see how I feel about it. In the meantime, love strength training. I love pushing myself with it, how it makes me feel, and be able to SEE the results. Just that is worth a blog post of its own!
      Regarding running, sometimes I feel it’s too late but I also know it isn’t. I know several people who started in their 50s, and read about a lady who started on her 60th birthday.

  4. Michelle avatar

    I can understand your question about returning to running – injuries are hard! I think your plan to start with strength training will serve you well no matter what you decide to do about running. Find joy there first and then see where it takes you.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, strength training is wonderful and has so many benefits. And we all need it, runners and not!

  5. Lindsay avatar

    This so resonates with me! I, too, follow all those blogs and link ups and love running as a concept – however, I have often, as a person, felt like running has not connected with me back after a slew of injuries and life getting in the way of a good try at doing the thing consistently and safely… Whatever you decide, please know your dedication to movement and strength (in so many ways) is inspiring!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Lindsay, it makes me so happy when you say what I share is inspiring!! That is one of my biggest wishes with this blog… to inspire someone to get into, or continue, an active lifestyle.
      Also, “love running as a concept…” is such a brilliant way to put it and that’s totally me! I don’t know if my body will agree with running even if I make it stronger. I’m a bit disappointed with how my body has reacted but I have to move on, and I’m happy to focus on strength, especially later when I can stand on my two feet and do some proper lifting again. Then I’m also curious to see how I’ll like the new bike!

  6. Catrina avatar

    I know what it feels like to be injured! I was injured for 9 months with Achilles tendonitis, I’ve just found my way back to running in May.
    I found it very helpful to join Crossfit. It’s completely out of my comfort zone, I don’t have a strong build to start with. But it’s great fun and I feel how it is now helping with my running.
    You will get back to running eventually! Wishing you a speedy recovery!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Catrina! I’ve heard Achilles tendonitis can be a hard one to deal with and that’s a very long recovery time. Mine will likely be something similar in total because it’s been such a complex journey before I finally got a diagnosis and some proper help. But I’ll be much happier as soon as I can walk again.
      Strength training certainly works wonders. I started lifting before I started running, and after my first running problem (knee pain, possible tendonitis) I got some added exercises (I work with a personal trainer) and before my stress fracture I felt strong and good. Even after getting back on my feet I won’t run again for a long time. But eventually I might decide to get back to it.

  7. Shathiso avatar

    This can’t have been an easy post to write as this decision is so hard! But I will echo what others have said so well – strength training is important whether you are a runner or not! Selfishly, I hope you get back to it as I love all things running, but even if you don’t, I’ll continue to follow your progress and your strength training pursuits!

    1. Susanne avatar

      No, in fact this is a post I’ve been thinking of writing for a long time. And after publishing and replying to comments, it’s like it’s given me some clarity, I feel more settled about the thought of maybe not getting back to running. It’s possible I’ll run again but even if not, I’ll be happy building strength and muscle and that also gives confidence and that feeling of pride and achievement. And thanks for following!

  8. Writing Sparkle avatar

    miss running. When you said, “My goodness people, it’s really hard to find cons!” I laughed in agreement. Unfortunately, my hip no longer allows me to participate in high-impact activities. I’ve been struggling to find an alternative that makes me feel as healthy and good as running. I decided that I’m going to try roller skating (not blading, skating). I haven’t done it in years, but I think it will offer me some of the things I love about running but without the impact—unless I fall hard. We shall see. Anyway, great post, Susanne.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Roller skating! That sounds very brave, haha! I’m going to give indoor cycling a go when it’s foot-safe to do so. We’ve ordered a stationary bike that will arrive in a week or so. For getting out in nature, I look forward to walking again. Thanks for visiting!

  9. Kadie avatar

    I’ve been on crutches before and they are so hard on your shoulders, I am sorry that they caused an interruption in your music as I know how much it means to you. I can’t say much about running, I have never been a runner but I understand your frustration and fear about running again. You’re right about strengthening before you return, that would definitely help, especially getting even stronger then you were before the stress injury. I wish you all the best!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Kadie! So many people talk about shoulder problems with crutches! They simply can not made for long-term use!
      I’m very happy to be back to playing music without restrictions again. I had a rough time in early May with my shoulder and wrist. 🙁 We spent a weekend up north at a bluegrass festival and I sat in jam sessions and played through a lot of pain. I still had a good weekend but the shoulder/wrist was miserable.
      And yes, I’m totally committed to getting strong now! This will be my 100% focus for a while.

  10. Anne avatar

    Susanne, I have no idea how you stopped showing up in my feed! But I wanted to let you know I Am working through the backlog – slowly – and hope to be caught up soonish. I am so glad to see you back out there, bringing your grit and perseverance. You have those in spades. Go, you. 🙂

    1. Susanne avatar

      Oh, that’s so nice of you to say about perseverance! That made me happy!
      That’s weird that I stopped showing up in your feed? Perhaps because I stopped the RSS for a while (while fiddling with the site) but I activated it again afterwards.
      I didn’t write much during the summer anyway, not even the rundown posts for a while so I’m sure you haven’t missed much.

Leave a comment and make my day

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *