How to Not Run

A Guide for the Running Addicted.

by: Andi Ripley

This is a real thing. I have been running and coping through running since junior high school. I would get out of junior high dances because I  “needed to run.” Yes, that was my excuse! It worked very well. Who would judge someone for being disciplined, right?

Little Andi competing for North Rockford Middle School year 2000.

As I have previously shared, I rely heavily on the benefits of running for my mental, emotional, and physical well being. Not being able to makes me a little crazy (ok, Zach says a LOT).

I’ve been injured for a while, and I keep feeling compelled to run. I just keep “testing it out” to see if there is pain. Just a couple steps here and there. Bad idea. Patience would be better.

Because I am currently in the midst of this struggle, please comment with any other suggestions you have for me and the other running addicted who may be perusing this post.

For now, here’s a list I am compiling, as much for myself as for you. Whenever I am feeling wonky in my injured slump, I refer to this list.

  • Baths: Baths help ease my anxiety, and I am able to get a good stretch after.
  • Playing outside: Working in the yard, playing with my kids, going for a walk, any way to get that vitamin D helps with my anxiety.
  • Doing my exercises: Doing the work (the things that DON’T hurt me)  helps me feel like I am working toward my running goals. Don’t just make it up, though. Talk to a physical therapist with expertise in running. (Our advice? Try Adam at Endurance Rehabilitation. He specializes in distance running and has worked with Olympians and other world class athletes as well as the everyday runner of all ages. NOTE: we do not receive any kind of compensation from Endurance Rehab for recommending his services.)
  • Cross training: Depending on the injury, cross training is a very effective way to help with running withdrawal. I had to take some solid days off of any cross training. This was when “Crazy Andi” made her most prominent appearance. Getting in a good sweat really helps.
  • Social Engagement: Cheering at races (if you need some convincing, read Why Spectate a Road Race?), making plans with friends, writing positive remarks on others’ posts, and calling or texting a friend pull the semi- (or fully) reclusive injured runner out of a funk.
  • Creative projects: Painting, home projects, cooking, drawing, jewelry making, writing, brainstorming, photography, photo editing, blogging, rearranging furniture, music, or learning a new art form can distract and fulfill some of the stir crazy.  (I could’ve kept going on this one, but you get the point.)
  • Deliberate gratitude: Entering a time of reflection to focus on blessings. For me, it’s a time of prayer and a proper ordering of my faith and priorities and self.
  • Get a good night’s sleep: If possible. Sleep helps most things. If you normally would get up early for a run, sleep in. Don’t feel guilty, feel refreshed. A lot of recovery happens while we sleep.
  • Foam roll: Roll. Roll. Stretch. Roll. Repeat! (For most injuries, mobilizing speeds recovery, but consult your doctor or PT before doing anything crazy.)

Not running for the runner is tough. Please know you are not alone! What works for you when you want to hop back in too early?

2 thoughts on “How to Not Run”

  1. Trying a new form of cross training—especially if it’s in a group fitness class setting—has helped me. Depending on your limitations, spinning classes, yoga, barre, and boxing are great options! And lap swimming is the exercise that gave me the closest feeling to that runner’s high. I briefly joined a swim group when I was injured during college. Plus, it’s fun to see how quickly we improve at these things that are new to us, especially after running for so many years and seeing very gradual improvements.

    1. Thank you, Carly! These suggestions are great. I have been thinking about picking up swimming for some time now, and your encouragement is helping me toward making the leap! Also, I think I would really love a fitness class too!

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