Guest Post: Injury Recovery with Julie

Hello, Fitnessista readers! This is Julie from Savvy Eats, and I am honored to be guest posting for Gina while she is off soaking up some Bahamian sun!

Like Gina, I recently broke up with running. After taking almost 8 full weeks off because of an IT band injury, I realized I wouldn’t be going back. Running just isn’t for me. But, I learned a lot in those 8 weeks about dealing with an injury, both mentally and physically. Here are the most important things I learned about keeping your spirits high and your body safe and healthy.

  1. Look at this as a chance to EXPLORE.

Okay, you can’t run (or bike or whatever it is that your injury won’t let you do). But you can still do something. During my time off from running, I discovered a love for weight lifting; I can feel strong and work up a sweat, without making my injury worse! Look at this as an opportunity to try something new that won’t aggravate your injury.

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  1. You can still have FUN.

Three days before the Disney Princess Half Marathon, I went for what was supposed to be an “easy” 2-mile run to check in on my IT band. About an hour later, I was wincing with every step, and could hardly make it up the stairs. I decided I had to pull out of the race, even though I had been training for almost a year. But since I had already bought my ticket to Orlando, I decided to go along and cheer on my friends.

Yes, watching my friends walk off to the starting line was hard. But I put myself on the monorail to go to the first viewing spot, and cheered for all of the runners. I ended up having a lot of fun encouraging all the racers, and seeing all the fun costumes! And celebrating with them on the beach later helped, too. 😉

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  1. Remember: A few days now, or many days later?

This was my mantra during those 8 weeks off. I couldn’t even bike for 6 of those 8 weeks, and I was going NUTS. I continued to remind myself of this: I had two options. One: take a few days (or weeks) off now. Two: seriously injure myself and be forced to take an even longer amount of time off or worse, possibly need surgery?

  1. You may need to see a doctor or sports specialist.

I actually ended up seeing two sport medicine doctors in those 8 weeks off running. The first was at the free drop-in clinic on campus, where they suggested I take a week off before trying that “easy” 2-miler I talked about earlier. When I had trouble walking after that short run, I went to the second doctor to make sure the problem was really stemming from my IT band, and not a torn meniscus, stress fracture, or something similar.

If your injury is minor, you may simply need a few days of icing, foam rolling, and stretching. But if it lasts more than a few days, or the pain is getting worse, please go see a doctor or sports specialist. Trust me, it is worth the expense; they will be able to tell what is really wrong, and suggest ways to speed up recovery.


Have you ever discovered a love for a new fitness activity after being injured??

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  1. Heather (Heather's Dish) on May 13, 2010 at 10:23 am

    when i hurt my knee i discovered a real love of walking rather than running. i can do it for hours and it definitely makes me stronger! plus i love that it’s something i can do forever 🙂

  2. Jessica @ How Sweet on May 13, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Grrreat tips. I love non-runners since I am one myself. 😉

  3. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman on May 13, 2010 at 10:34 am

    This was great, Julie. I’ve been dealing with two injured knees for five years and I wish back then I had followed the “few weeks now or years later” mantra. I also wish I knew that once your injury heals, you need to keep doing the physical therapy you learned. If you slack, the injury could come back–and stay longer.

  4. Ilana on May 13, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I had to take some time off of my beloved Pilates because of a shoulder injury, which was difficult for me because Pilates was one of the things that really helped get my life “back to normal” – but it gave me time to explore things like riding my bike more frequently and work on lower-body strength instead. Also, taking that break helped me wrap my mind around the concept that I won’t GET FAT if I don’t work out 5 days a week.

  5. s on May 13, 2010 at 11:03 am

    great post. taking time off from exercise is important. it’s really hard for me to take time off of running tho because i can’t tell when my leg/knee/etc kinda hurting is because i’m tired or because it’s messed up.

  6. Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter on May 13, 2010 at 11:06 am

    I discovered the gym when I had runner’s knee. I wasn’t allowed to run outside on any concrete or uneven surfaces, so I discovered the elliptical, bike, the indoor rubber track and all the fun classes offered in my gym!

  7. Kilee on May 13, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I discovered lifting weights as a workout when I injured my ankle. I had dabbled in them here and there. Then, when I couldn’t run, I HAD to do something, so I started lifting weights. Way to listed to your body on the running thing!

  8. Kelly on May 13, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    I’m currently in week 7 of physical therapy for my IT band and month 4 of not running. I’m still not a happy camper and I miss running a lot, but I have found a new love for the pool!

  9. breakingsilence @ Freshman -15 on May 13, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    I discovered Pilates after getting shin splints. Not being able to do my normal cardio workout was driving me nuts, and I HAD to do something, so I picked up Pilates. Once my shins healed, I was able to incorporate Pilates into my normal workout, and the results were incredible!

  10. Catherine on May 13, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    I started a timid love affair with a gym membership when I hurt my knee running a marathon last year and that love has totally grown. I’ve since run another marathon, but this time my focus wasn’t on miles and instead overall fitness. I only ran 3 days a week and finished the marathon in great time. I think I’ll always be a runner at heart, but my needed break from running made me discover the joys of gyms… swimming, spinning, pilates, yoga… the fun never ends!

  11. Whitney @ Whitinspired on May 13, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Yeah…I’ve decided after my 5k in June that I’m breaking up with running. I’ve tried it and I just find that there’s other stuff I enjoy doing more. I still think people who can run marathons are beyond amazing, but I am just not ever going to be one of those people and I have accepted that!

  12. Nicole on May 13, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    I just ran a half marathon on Saturday and am pretty sure I hurt my IT band. Do you have any recovery tips that could possibly help?

    • Fitnessista on May 13, 2010 at 5:26 pm

      foam rolling, stretching, icing and REST

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