First, thank you all so much for the kind words on yesterday’s post! I appreciated the support so much and am so grateful for the running community.
I have an official diagnosis after yesterday’s podiatrist appointment: I sprained some ligaments in the top of right foot (near where my ankle and metatarsals connect) and ever so slightly shifted my cubiod bone (which connects the heel and metatarsals). The sprain was from my slip and fall in a hike a couple weeks back and while the 30-something miles I ran on it didn’t make it worse, they didn’t help the recovery process. (Thankfully, practicing smart hiking techniques including using trekking poles prevented this mild sprain from being a much more severe injury).
I guessed at a sprained ankle in yesterday’s post, and I was not too far off – ankle or foot, the result is the similar. The doctor manipulated the bone back into place (ouch) and taped up my foot, which after the initial weird feeling of the manipulation my foot felt better than it had in days.
My completely honest emotional reaction? I’m happy it’s not a stress fracture or something worse, I’m relieved to know what was causing the pain (uncertainty is distressing), and I’m not upset by it. A sprained foot is so incredibly minor compared to the hardships too many people across the globe endure on a daily basis, that it’s not worth getting upset about. Sprains are a risk that you take when you run and hike.
I’m just glad I nixed running last week and didn’t make things worst. And, as Suzy said in the comments yesterday, at least a sprained foot comes from an acute injury, rather than a biomechanical problem.
Of course, there’s the question I asked the podiatrist and I’m sure you are wondering as well: can you run on a sprained foot?
The answer is no. I mean, I’m sure I could, but the fact of the matter is that I will recover much more quickly and reduce the risk of future sprains by taking the next 2-3 weeks off of running. So what will I do instead?
Since nothing is fractured and I can bear weight on my foot, I can still cross-train over my 2-3 hiatus from running. Cross-training will maintain my fitness and still produce those endorphins that will keep me from going completely stir-crazy. My preferred cross-training at the moment is the elliptical, and yesterday Meredith shared several good elliptical workouts for runners. If I become completely intolerant of the elliptical, there are also some spin bikes and spin videos at our apartment’s gym, although indoor cycling has always bored me.
I won an entry to a local half marathon the other day, but since the race is in 3 weeks I had to turn down the entry. I can’t just do a race as an easy run, so even if I’m back at running by then, I don’t race just to run easy. I race to push myself hard, not to ease back into long distance running after what will be a total of 3-4 weeks of cross-training (since it’s already been one week since I last ran). And I know that while I may have discipline in my training, I do not possess the discipline to hold back when in a competitive setting.
Of course, 3-4 weeks off of running requires reassessment of marathon goals. Yes, cross-training will maintain my fitness, but the end goal of training is not to maintain fitness but to build peak race-specific fitness. Unless I do long runs on the elliptical, I won’t be improving my marathon-specific fitness. So we will see what happens regarding the Jack and Jill Marathon, but even if I miss it, there are always other marathons (especially out here, in the land of nearly year-round racing).
Strength Train More
Since my mental limit to the elliptical is 60 minutes (and my feet begin to go a bit numb by then anyway), I’ll have more time and energy for strength training. Now is a better time than any to add more strength training sessions to my training, especially as hiking season peaks up and I could benefit from more strength overall.
Easier said than done. But honestly a total of 3-4 weeks off of running with the option to cross-train is far, far preferable to a chronic injury or months off of running.
Have you ever sprained your foot or ankle?
Do you run races even if you aren’t in peak shape?
What do you do to stay
sane fit when you can’t run?