This is the question that has been asked of me (Tim) a week after getting achillies tendonitis following a couple of back-to-back long runs, loaded with a rucksack. The implication being that if I don’t run then I’m basically going to go out of my head.
Interesting. And to be fair, something that a lot of runners seem to think will happen, it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. You get injured, you announce to the world you can’t run, and wonder how long you’re going to cope before you drive yourself crazy because you can’t run.
It’s been a week now since I haven’t run. It’s the only week this year that I haven’t put on my suunto, laced up some inov8 s and gone for at least two runs. Do I feel perturbed? Do I feel like I’m driving myself up the wall?
Not really, no.
I have recognised that what has happened to me was because of an overload of tissue. That tissue needs time to rest and heal, overdoing it on already fragile and healing tissue will simply prolong the time away from running.
So…. What do I do?
Simple. Keep busy. Busy ensuring that everything else in my body stays fit, stays fresh, and is ready for the achillies to come back to strength. No point in wasting away just because I have an injury.
This week has been full of weightlifting, rowing intervals, conditioning circuits and, most importantly, Rest. Everything has been built around taking stress away from the injured achillies, but that has not meant that this week has been easy. Far from it. I have realised just how weak I have become from concentrating just on running, my sustained power has slipped away, and my headspace has moved somewhere else.
These next few weeks would indeed be better spent doing long miles with a large amount of kit on my back, but this is not feasible, especially if I want to stay as fit as possible for the Spine Challenger*. However, they will be filled with exercise, with therapy, with rest, and with sharp mental focus.
Equally, if you’re injured, don’t spend time and energy moaning about it and your inability to do the sport you love.
Spare me the whingeing and whining that can be so easy to do. Shut up, buckle down and get fitter than you ever have been. Injury may well mean there was something that gave out because of weakness. That means there is probably something to strengthen, which means you can be stronger, faster and better.
*The Spine Challenger is a long distance challenge held in January. In 2016 there is a new class, the Montane Mountain Rescue Challenger – which sees members of the Mountain Rescue Teams taking part in this 108 mile race heading North on the Pennine Way from Edale to Hawes. Tim is running as part of the team in which he is a member, Glossop Mountain Rescue Team. If you wish to sponsor the team you can do so on their JustGiving page.