Morning, friends!  I am currently slamming coffee and praying the magical Book Writing Fairy comes to my house and does all my work for me.  You?


Amazing breakfast!


This Breakfast Banana Bake is one of my favorite breakfast recipes (and that’s saying a lot since I’m definitely a breakfast girl).  The recipe is here.  I love how simple it is.   I subbed out the cornbread mix for extra pancake mix since it was all I had on hand.


The Emotional Side of Injury


While I’ll mostly be discussing injuries in this post, I think a lot of this advice applies to other reasons you may be ‘out of commission’ from exercise, like being busy at work, getting sick, family obligations, or pregnancy.  Even when you consciously choose to prioritize exercise, life occasionally gets in the waySince reaching my own Healthy Tipping Point five years ago, I’ve watched my exercise habits ebb and flow due to a variety of issues.  Unfortunately, I’ve also suffered a slew of (mostly minor) injuries during my running career. 


While every person and injury is physically different, I think we all go through pretty much the same emotional upheavals when confronted with an injury.  Feeling like you’re out of commission is a horrible feeling, especially when you are used to regular exercise.  During my injuries, I have grappled with a wide range of negative emotions, including jealousy of healthy runners, sadness, fear that I’ll lose strength or endurance, anger (“Why me?!?!”), and even happiness (“Yay! I have so much free time!”). 


Here’s what I’ve learned about dealing with the emotional side of injury:


Don’t Fall Into the “All or Nothing Trap”:  Actually, I think this is the biggest takeaway lesson about healthy living, period.  You do not have to be all or nothing.  If you cannot exercise, you can still eat well and do all the other things necessary for health.  It is really easy to throw up your hands and say, “Oh, screw it!” and completely fall off the bandwagon for two months.  And honestly, I personally believe that healthy eating is way more important for your general health than exercise (it’s very difficult to “outwork” bad eating habits, as Miranda said on Twitter this morning), so if you can’t exercise for three months, you’re not going to be become a lump.  Look at your injury as an new opportunity to really focus on fueling your body with nutritionally-dense, whole foods, like lots of veggies, fruits, whole grains, etc.   Remember your body needs healthy foods so it can heal your injury quickly.


Find Alternative Exercises, If Possible:   If you cannot run, for example, you may be able to safely bike, swim, elliptical, or do yoga.  Make sure you talk to a medical professional before doing alternative exercises!  When I was on my first running hiatus, I could still safely bike and swim and used the opportunity as a chance to prep myself for a bike race and triathlon.  If your doctor says you can’t do any lower-body stuff, ask if he or she can clear you for upper body work. If so, you can focus on building awesome guns and abs by doing the 100 Push-Up Challenge, striving for a two-minute plank, or the Modified Boot Camp.  You might also be able to safely do the rowing machine at the gym.  Again, just check with your doctor.


Yay, Free Time!:  If you’re totally out of commission from exercise or have to cut back on your exercise time, lucky you – you suddenly have tons of free time!  Look at your injury as a chance to discover other hobbies.  Challenge yourself to read a book a week, catch up with old friends, or do volunteering.  Do something you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time for before – don’t just sit on your couch bemoaning your injury! 


Don’t Freak Out About Endurance or Weight:  During my first two-month running hiatus, I’ll admit that I was initially stressed out about losing endurance and/or gaining weight.  I was VERY surprised to discover at the end of the two-month period that I hadn’t completely reverted back to fitness ground zero, and I had actually lost a few pounds.  In regards to weight, I think the key is to REALLY listen to your hunger cues and focus on filling your plate and belly with nutritionally-dense but lower calorie healthy options (like bulking up a serving of pasta with a ton of raw spinach instead of eating two servings of pasta).  When you’re training for a marathon, for example, you become used to shoveling food in your throat just to get enough calories because you are ALWAYS hungry.  I’ve found it takes my body one to two weeks to ‘adjust’ my hunger levels to the lower level of calorie burn, but once it does, your hunger cues will naturally taper off in accordance with your needs.   And honestly, if you have to take off a few weeks due to injury, focus on healthy eating, and still gain a few pounds, what’s the big deal?  It will come back off when you revert back to your normal levels of exercise.  You’re beautiful regardless. 


Focus on Other Healthy Habits:  Beyond healthy eating, you can refocus your energy on keeping up with other healthy habits during your injury.  I love to make a Gold Star checklist of things like “floss teeth” or “sleep 8 hours.”  Making the effort to do OTHER things you know you should be doing for optimal health will make you feel better about being injured. 


Keep it in Perspective:  Whenever I find myself wanting to chuck a water bottle out my car window at a runner on the sidewalk, I take a deep breath and try to keep it in perspective.  No matter what your injury, it could always be worse.  Stress fracture in your leg?  Well, at least you still have your leg!  I try to focus on being grateful for all the things I have – health and otherwise – to keep myself from getting upset over not being able to run.   In the grand scheme of life, a month off of running won’t kill me. 


Don’t Sacrifice the Long-Term for the Short-Term:  Would you rather take two months off or a year off?  It can be very, very hard to admit you have an injury and need to take time off, especially if that means missing a race.  But the reality is that you cannot run your way to a healed injury.  You have to rest.  Or it’s going to get worst.  Do NOT ignore pain.  


Get Help:  And lastly, if you are really struggling with the emotional side of injury and feel yourself becoming obsessive about your inability to exercise the way you want to, get professional help.  Injuries blow, but they shouldn’t feel like the end of the world, and if they do, a therapist can help you work through that (side note: if you’re in college, you have access to free counseling!).  


Here are some of my top posts on injuries:

Common Running Injuries and How to Prevent Them

The Story of My Knees and the Treatment Plan that Finally Worked

The First Knee Doctor Appointment (Left Hysterically Sobbing!)

The Second Knee Doctor Appointment (Left Smiling!)

Knee Sleeves vs. Athletic Tape

Recap of my first Running Hiatus

Is this Pain Normal?

Can I Run When I’m Sick?


What is your experience with the emotional side of injuries?  What tips do you have?



  • Clarissa March 29, 2011, 9:24 am

    I definitely suffer from the All or Nothing syndrome. I’ll either strive to be REALLY healthy, or not try at all. I’ve been feeling so awful lately I want to try the healthy thing again. But you’re right! Just because I can’t eat a healthy meal doesn’t mean the other two meals can’t be healthy!

  • Katie @ cooklaughmove March 29, 2011, 9:30 am

    For me, it is like the stages of grief…denial…bargaining…acceptance…etc (I can’t think of them all!)

    Right now I’m in acceptance that I have an injury (shin splint/stress fracture) and I am slowly bouncing back. I ran 3 pain free miles last night. Probably not in time for my 25k, but there are other races.

  • michelle March 29, 2011, 9:32 am

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I had dental surgery yesterday and am on a cold liquid diet for 3 days, then a liquid/mush lukewarm diet for 7 more days. Also, absolutely no exercise- at all- until I get cleared next Wednesday evening. In my head I’m thinking, “milkshakes and no working out?” Yeah I know- sounds great for 2 days but after 10… I can’t even do protein powder with greens (vega- nope)! *wah* Oh well, it could surely be worse. This too, shall pass. I’m using my time of work to catch up on documentaries that my hubby doesn’t like to watch and really am watching my calories (and supplementing). I’m also reading a lot. I am counting calories and nutrients for fear of drinking 5 milkshakes a day… lol!

    • Orla March 29, 2011, 11:26 am

      Oh Michelle, I hope that you feel better soon. I had dental surgery a couple of years ago and had that liquid diet order too. Hope that you get the all clear and in the mean time enjoy the TV catch up!

    • Kara March 29, 2011, 12:05 pm

      You forgot about a critical food group: pudding! 🙂

      Eating real food again is going to remind you how much you appreciate variety and fresh food!

  • Sara March 29, 2011, 9:37 am

    I’ve struggled with knee and ankle injuries that have sidelined me in the past. Two years ago, I had an ankle injury that even caused me to wear a boot for a week or so. I was sick at the same time, super frustrated, and I remember sitting on the couch crying and feeling sorry for myself. My doctor said I could bike at the gym, which I hated, so I didn’t. So I ended up taking a few weeks off completely, surprising my doctor, and ended up fine. The time off allowed me to heal, and I was able to get back to exercising without reinjuring myself. When my knee problems flared up last year, I put myself on a running hiatus until I could get in to see my doctor. I did some activity if it didn’t cause much pain, but I tried not to get as frustrated as the year before. I figured it was better to be out of commission for a few weeks than to permanently injure myself and never be able to run again.

  • Melanie @ Trial By Trail March 29, 2011, 9:46 am

    Caitlin, this is some really great advice. I definitely needed to hear this today. Being sick or injured can really take an emotional toll on you. One of my favorite posts of yours. Thank you!

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday March 29, 2011, 9:49 am

    Get help from a physiotherapist, chiropractor, or massage therapist too!

    • Freya March 29, 2011, 9:56 am

      DEFINITELY! I waited way too long before seeking help from a physio – I wish I’d gone sooner!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat March 29, 2011, 9:52 am

    GREAT post Caitlin! Thankfully I’ve never had a terrible injury that has put me out of running, but I really appreciate reading this and I think being able to accept that NOT running for a couple of days is not going to completely derail your progress. I’m bookmarking this as a reminder!

  • Sarah @ The Strength of Faith March 29, 2011, 9:52 am

    I think it’s important to remember that – in a way – you’re grieving. I am definitely a believe of Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) and I think that on some people athletes go through these stages when they are sidelined.

    When I was a hospital chaplain I told my patients and their families that the worst thing they could do was to try to rush their grief – I think it’s the same with this. Allow yourself to feel the emotions of being sidelined!

    • Freya March 29, 2011, 9:58 am

      I got injured and went through all those stages – and weirdly, once I’d accepted it, I started to improve!

  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations March 29, 2011, 9:53 am

    I agree that perspective is important and NOT falling into the all or nothing trap are critical. Like you said on Twitter this morning, healthy living is about 80% eating and 20% exercise. While it’s wildly frustrating and induces all kinds of emotions when we’re out of commission, it’s not going to negatively impact our health to cut back on exercise for a period of time if we strive to focus on healthy eating. And the extra free time can be a blessing sometimes. Life ebbs and flows, and there will always be times in our lives when some things take precedence over exercise (whether it be healing from injury or other things like family illnesses or increased work or whatever).

  • Freya March 29, 2011, 9:55 am

    This is an awesome post. I’m just about coming out of a 3month layoff from running (fingers crossed I’m getting better now). At first I was completely freaked – ‘argh, I’ll gain weight, lose endurance and never get it back!’ but i started to see the bigger picture near the end. I was still healthy, and I was going to get better, and I was still a healthy person!
    I made plans for when I was better and I made sure I did all my ‘rehab exercises’ (like strenghtening my calf muscles), and it helped. My physio had told me what to do, I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel and it calmed me down so much.
    It’s never as bad as we think it’ll be 🙂

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg March 29, 2011, 9:56 am

    This is great advice — I think it is so easy to fall into the all-or-nothing trap when you are injured. I know I have! I tell myself that I’ll start eating healthy when I can exercise again — it is amazing how your mind plays tricks like that!

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine March 29, 2011, 9:56 am

    I dislocated my patella when I was 14 and had surgery a few months later. Looking back, I’m amazed at how calm I was! I actually think the aftermath of the injury has been more difficult- it’s hard for me to feel totally comfortable doing a lot of exercises, including running. Classes can be tough because of all the jumping/squats/lunges, which really aggravate my knee. Sometimes I just want to punch a wall, but then I force myself to think of the people who CAN’T be active- people who are confined to wheelchairs, people with disabilities, members of the military who have lost limbs or become paralyzed keeping our country safe. It puts everything into so much perspective. My body may not be able to do EVERYTHING that I ask of it, but it can still do so much to keep me healthy. I recently had to cut running out almost completely, save for occasional short distances, and even though it pisses me off, I’ve realized that getting upset doesn’t solve the problem. Just like with healthy eating, it’s better to focus on what you CAN do than what you CAN’T!!

    • Amy* March 29, 2011, 12:27 pm

      I just wanted to echo the value of perspective. My brother-in-law has CF and is on the waiting list for a lung transplant. He’s been in and out of the hospital his whole life, but when he went in on Thanksgiving, they told him that he should expect to stay in the hospital until he gets new lungs. It is an every day reminder of how lucky I am to have my health. Even if I can’t run or or do any exercise, I can breathe fresh air and feel the sunshine. It has taken me a long time, but I finally realized that perspective is the key to happiness.*

      • Caitlin March 29, 2011, 4:30 pm

        Thanks girls for both sharing your experiences… Amy, I’m so sorry about your brother in law!

  • Christa Barlow March 29, 2011, 9:56 am

    Caitlin, this is a wonderful post. I was injured while training for the 2010 Disney Marathon. I trained up to the long 22 miler just fine, and then I suddenly had pain while walking. I iced, stretched, saw a Chiropractor, and I just wasn’t healed enough in time to run the race. They said I had sacraliliac joint dysfunction.(I basically had a stabbing knife like pain by my right hip) It took about 8 weeks to heal, but I still ponder that my gold Mickey medal never left the rack at Disney. I had spent so many Weekend mornings away from my 1 year old to train.
    This was supposed to be “my marathon” before getting pregnant with baby number 2. Looks like I will have to try for baby number 2 before running a marathon.
    Anyway-I know your trip to DC was hard. You were there for your friends, but I know your heart was broken. My friend that I was training with came back with a gold Mickey. 🙁
    I had a rough running year last year. My times were terrible and slow, even after healing completely. I guess it was harder on me than I thought. It is definitely a trial that many of us must go through. It will make us stronger, though! You WILL heal, and you WILL race again!!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) March 29, 2011, 9:57 am

    This is a great post and you are so right that it actually relates to a lot of different areas as to not being able to work out. I had a tumor removed from my abdominal muscle and was not able to work out. I was so fearful of weight gain, not being me again, knowing that my wholw life was changing and I needed the emotional release of working out. I realized, especially after being healed and then having a hernia at the surgical sight, that you have to put it all in to perspective. This is a short amount of time and you have to allow your body to heal so you can be the best you can be even if unfortunately it’s not the same as it was before. I really got in to walking after my surgery and instead of long workouts, I would break the walks ups throughout the day. It helped keep me moving and kept my mind clear. This is a great topic that I know a lot of people could benefit from. Thanks for sharing it Caitlin!

  • Jessica March 29, 2011, 9:59 am

    Ugh! I know what you mean. I had all kinds of summer goals but got slammed with a pretty major health issue that has me out of comission for now, and possibly forever. I am so frustrated and mad….but I am trying to make the best of it that I can. I have traded spin class and running for walking and yogs – both things I can handle right now. Thanks for reminding me that I AM still doing something active for my health – that it still counts just as much as the other stuff. Even these effots may become impossible at some point so I really appreciate the reminder that if that happens it will give me more free time to go after other hobbies that I also love – like photography. And Yes, it could ALWAYS be worse 🙂

  • Camille March 29, 2011, 10:00 am

    I am definitely emotional when it comes to injuries. I think it stems from the fact that I am both a very emotional and competitive person and I never feel like something is good enough. I am trying to get better (I recently skipped a race due to injury and didn’t even cry!) but I still feel a little upset when I am injured 🙁

  • Anne G. March 29, 2011, 10:05 am

    Thank you for this post! It comes at the perfect time, since I’ve been sidelined from marathon training (my first marathon, which makes it SO hard emotionally!). I think that I gave it enough rest and that I’ll be able to get back to running this week, but in case I can’t, I’ll come back and read this!

    I particularly loved “don’t give up the long-term for the short-term”; I may not be able to run THIS marathon, but I can improve my fitness and endurance for the next!

    Till then, swimming it is (bah!)

    • Caitlin March 29, 2011, 4:29 pm

      You’ll get that 26.2 – I just know it!

  • Tonyne @ Unlikley Success Story March 29, 2011, 10:07 am

    I guess what I have been dealing with is emotional injury. It’s been hard to get back into routine and I often feel very run down and physically tired. I had a lot of guilt at first, but I’m trying not to be so hard on myself.

    • Caitlin March 29, 2011, 4:28 pm

      I know it’s easy to feel exhausted when you are dealing with grief. I am sorry 🙁 hugs and kisses!

  • Kelly March 29, 2011, 10:07 am

    I liked all of this. I think sometimes injuries can be blessings in disguise. A lot of times people lose track of their priorities and when they are injured things come clearly back into focus.

  • Carly March 29, 2011, 10:12 am

    This is exactly what I needed today! I know injuries all too well, so I just accept modification. Can’t run? I walk or swim. Sick and can’t do anything? I read a fitness book to get me excited or modify my plan for when I get better. I find if I get my mind out of the game it doesn’t get back in it easily.

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman March 29, 2011, 10:13 am

    I’ve had an unhealing knee injury for six years–at first I was hopeful and optimistic but at this point I realize that my knees suck. I’ve found there are two things you need to know:

    1. You need to put in the work. Do your physical therapy religiously.

    2. Find out what you CAN do, and do it. A lot of times it’s weight lifting to strengthen the surrounding muscles.

    3. If you’re unable to do much and find reading fitness blogs too hard (I know that sometimes hearing about races or how much a person ran–or walked!–can make the injured feel jealous or, more likely, depressed.) avoid them. I used to get super sad seeing all of these people doing things I couldn’t–grocery shopping, walking around. I found that I had to take a step back.

    Still, being injured isn’t the worst, which I learned when I got a pain disorder. I wish I could go back to the days when my knees were the only thing that hurt. Yes, I was limited, but I could still lift weights and walk a bit. And there’s a chance of recovery, so heads up!

  • Whitney March 29, 2011, 10:19 am

    Glad I am not alone! I suffer emotionally big time when I am sidelined from running. I have been dealing with IT band problems for a month and haven’t been able to run as much as I like to. My sister and my dad are runners and it makes me extremely jealous when they get to go run and I don’t due to my knee. Admittedly I become rude and mean to them and it’s not their fault. I really need to do better at this. I am still able to bike, elliptical, and lift so I should be grateful for that. Thanks for the reminder Caitlin! 🙂

  • Ashley @ Feeding Ashley March 29, 2011, 10:20 am

    Sorry, I’ve been hogging the fairies to write my paper, I’ll send them over when I’m done.
    This is such a great post. I feel so useless right now. I dropped something on my foot this morning and now I have to ice when all I really want to do is run.

  • Faith @ lovelyascharged March 29, 2011, 10:23 am

    If the book-writing fairy shows up, do you think you could send him over to my office with some article-writing powers?

    • Caitlin March 29, 2011, 4:28 pm

      He never showed up – is he at your place?!

  • Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow March 29, 2011, 10:24 am

    So many incredible tips here!

    I am nursing a bit of a bum knee right now as I’m training for my first century ride. Injury, pain, discomfort is never easy but here’s what I’ve learned…

    My body has it’s own needs too.

    Sometimes I let my minds needs play a larger role in my decisions and actions than listening to my body. Funny how we do that! One of my favorite quotes is “your body can heal itself beautifully. You just have to get out of it’s way!”

    I tend to let my emotional needs, desires to train, desire to do an event over run what my most perfect, beautiful, strong body might need. So I have to listen to it and calm my own fears, needs, and wants.

  • allison @ thesundayflog March 29, 2011, 10:27 am

    love the “it’s not all or nothing.” i think this applies to my philosophy of eating vegetarian. i still eat sea animals, i still wear my previous leather bags, i still drink wine and beer that might not be vegan, etc. however, that does not make me a bad person. every bit counts! i am dealing with plantar fasciitis in my right foot (had it in the left a few weeks ago) and it is definitely frustrating. luckily my tri isnt until august so i have time to rest, but with spring coming, i am getting ANTSY to run outside!! fortunately i can still bike and swim as per my training plan 🙂

  • Katie G. March 29, 2011, 10:28 am

    GREAT post, Caitlin!! Such wonderful tips on staying positive during an injury! I love the healthy habits checklist! I am so making one of these for myself!

  • Lucy @ The Sweet Touch March 29, 2011, 10:35 am

    I tend to be the all or nothing person as well and then I beat myself up over it! ughhhh!

    Anyway, great advice, in your case I think that writing about it helps too, maybe this could help others. I have a feeling you are going to rock your next race!

  • Angela (Oh She Glows) March 29, 2011, 10:38 am

    I love this post Caitlin!

    When I was off from exercise from 2 months due to a pelvic injury, it was really difficult, but after the shock of the first couple weeks (I literally couldn’t even do yoga I was so sore!), I got used to it as I learned how to fill my time with other activities. Still, I struggled with disordered eating thoughts that crept up now and then as a result. I also had to cut back on reading blogs during that time because I was struggling with jealousy seeing others be able to run and do what I wanted to do so badly. Sometimes it helps to take a step away from it all. My Sports Doctor was also a huge support for me and I saw her as much as I could.

    I’m dealing with a tailbone injury now from a fall, but thankfully it seems to be improving each day. I’m not sure when it will be safe for me to run, but I hope to get the OK from my doctor tomorrow to start up the elliptical at the gym again. No impact options are great!

    I hope you heal quickly 🙂

  • Emma March 29, 2011, 10:44 am

    Another awesome post! And as you said, this can totally apply to exercise/healthy balanced life in general. The all or nothing attitude is a big one to concur. Sometimes you just gotta look at the big picture of health, and take time away to explore new opportunities.

  • Caitlin @ The Caitie Experiment March 29, 2011, 10:45 am

    This post came at a critical point for me — I feel like I’ve had one injury after another the past month or so! I think another really important tip is to COME BACK SLOWLY, regardless of the injury, and just try to take things one bit at a time. While I took a week out of my running training plan to hang with my sister, I compensated by doing the 100 Pushup Challenge… and ended up straining my lower ab on the Week 2 Max test. There went another week. Then, I came back and jumped back into the training plan, and ended up with mild shin splints. I ran through them for a planned 5k, and, of course, the course was full of hills and I could barely flex my foot by the end. There went another week. I went to Yoga last Weds after my first run back to stretch everything out — and pushed too far and strained my hamstring. I’m FINALLY ready to start running again this week, but since I haven’t had a really great run in about 6 weeks, I’m pushing it all the way back to the 5k plan (as opposed to the 10k I was on) and just running a later race than I planned to.

    Thanks for reminding me that I’m doing the right thing, even though I want to tear my hair out! 🙂

  • Jessica March 29, 2011, 10:54 am

    I can completely relate to this post! I ran a marathon with a stress fracture about a month ago and haven’t been able to run since. I’m going crazy not being able to run and have found myself getting so jealous when I see other people running! My boyfriend said I’m like a caged dog that needs to run free haha. Luckily I can still cycle and elliptical and do basically everything else except run. I just keep telling myself it will feel that much greater when I finally get back to it. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in my jealousy and anger toward runners 🙂 I hope you heal up soon!

    • Caitlin March 29, 2011, 4:26 pm

      I can relate to feeling like a caged animal! It sucks but we’ll be back to our old selves in no time.

  • Amber K March 29, 2011, 10:59 am

    The only time I have been injured (since exercising) was when I got plantar facitis last summer. I had overindulged in Vegas in both walking and food! I mostly got super anxious about not being able to exercise because I wanted to get rid of the water and food weight I had gained. I went through all of the stages and realized that I didn’t want to be hurt even longer so I took my time before getting back out there.

  • Heather March 29, 2011, 11:03 am

    I hear ya. I have been back and forth with my IT band since OCTOBER. I have decided to take it easy this summer with short mileage,s tretching and foam rolling as well as lifting and cross training and try to heal up for fall races. i have gone through anger, pity, jealousy, all the emotions with my injury. Making non running goals definitely helps!
    One thing I dont know if I totally agree with is that eating right is THAT much more important than exercise. I would become soft and pudgy and sluggish if I didnt exercise which in turn would affect my mental health which is VERY important part of healthy living, so I think you have to personally find a balance, I dont think its the same for everyone.

  • Elizabeth@The Sweet Life March 29, 2011, 11:09 am

    All or nothing is a HUGE trap! Great advice.

  • Cathy K March 29, 2011, 11:12 am

    this is an awesomely comprehensive list of tips, caitlin! thanks for compiling your ideas and suggestions.
    in 20+ years running, i have had my share of injuries. two points: recognize that you’ll go through the stages of grieving (anger, sadness, denial etc) before you’ll ultimately reach acceptance. once you get to acceptance, then it’s easier to find alternate activities and deal optimistically with your situation. second, you’ll have a “rock bottom” moment – when that time arrives, cry, shout, get angry, let out the emotion…then move on, and pull yourself up by your bootstraps.
    it helps to know that (unfortunately) injury hits us all at some point along our athletic journey – take comfort from others’ experiences, and know that someone will learn from you, too.
    hope you’re back to 100% asap!

  • molly March 29, 2011, 11:16 am

    Healthy eating really is where it is at. I remember when I got really sick last April and was in a super mega workout mindset, I was devastated that I couldn’t work out and though oh man I am going to gain so much weigh. One year almost later and minimal to no working out later I do notice obvious differences but did not really gain all that much weight at all, like I thought I would. Healthy eating = key.

  • Orla March 29, 2011, 11:16 am

    I just giggled at the whole throwing a water bottle at a runner – I am sidelined at the moment and have been feeling terrible (PMS does not help) and when my partner was driving the other day I told him if he really loved me, he would aim the car at any runners.
    Not being able to run makes you say irrational things! I had to make myself think “good for them”
    I have also just read an article in the European Runners World that essentially compares the stages of injury with the stages of grief -Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. I am somewhere between Anger and Bargaining at the moment. THe Denial just made me worse!

  • Isha March 29, 2011, 11:18 am

    Like so many other people have said, this is exactly what I needed to hear today. I was just – literally JUST, like in the last two hours – diagnosed with a stress fracture, put in a boot, and told to come back in three weeks. I immediately started brainstorming all the options for exercising I have, which, since it’s my foot, doesn’t feel like a whole lot. But your post made me realize that I can focus not only on upper body stuff, but on other healthy living things. Veggies! Water! Sleep!

    So, yes. Thank you.

    • Caitlin March 29, 2011, 4:25 pm

      Wahhh boot. 🙁 Heal up soon!

  • Mindy Knows March 29, 2011, 11:19 am

    Thank you, Caitlin! This post came at the perfect time for me. I pulled my calf a week ago and you totally addressed my inner conflicts when it comes to being sidelined with a race in the near future. Great advice!

  • Mandy March 29, 2011, 11:20 am

    Thank you very much for this post – I’m having a surgery in two weeks that’ll keep me in recovery for 6 weeks afterwards, and the worst thing about it for me will be not being able to exercise! But you’re absolutely right! Taking a break isn’t the end of the world. I’m very thankful that you posted this today – it truly generated a few ideas for me to focus on instead of feeling sorry for myself. 🙂

  • Joan March 29, 2011, 11:21 am

    Could you tell us more about your healthy habits checklist?! Love the idea!

  • Brooke March 29, 2011, 11:25 am

    Great post today Caitlin! All very sound advice! Thank-you, thank-you for sharing!

  • Sarah for Real March 29, 2011, 11:27 am

    I think we must be cosmically connected because I’m dealing with a knee injury and figuring out this exact same stuff (not all-or-nothing).

    One thing that dawned on me the other day whilst consuming fake nacho cheese (I know, it’s my Achilles) is that my injury is partly an issue with inflammation. Food can greatly contribute to inflammation, or it can help reduce it. So… if I’m pissed off because of my inflamed knee, why then would I go about adding to that inflammation by eating bad food?

    • Caitlin March 29, 2011, 4:21 pm

      We are injury twinsies.

  • Sana March 29, 2011, 11:32 am

    Injuries are a way of letting you know that your body is the most important thing in the world that just needs to be cared for 🙂

  • Khushboo March 29, 2011, 11:37 am

    I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason! Maybe an injury is a blessing in disguise as it gives you the free time to explore new pursuits. I love to exercise and would be devastated if I had to stop. That being said, it’s important to remember that it’s not the be all end all when it come to weight loss/maintenance. As long as you adjust your intake accordingly, you will not gain weight! Really proud how positively you have been handling your injury 🙂

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) March 29, 2011, 11:38 am

    I definitely have the all or nothing mindset. The first time I was injured, I had to take a week off, didn’t exercise at all and binged the whole time. The next time I was injured, I took cycling classes, kept eating healthy, and came back from my injury stronger- I ran a 5k and PR’d! It was hard too not run for two weeks when I was so close to running my first marathon, but it was the right decision. I healed and was able to do the whole thing 🙂

  • Kate @ Spoonful of Vigor March 29, 2011, 11:45 am

    As a clinical psych doc student, I’ve done my fair share of work in university counseling centers, and I love the shout out to free therapy in college! If you’re a university student, this is a benefit you should definitely take advantage of.

    Additionally, if you’re not a college student, you may be able to find low-cost therapy services in your community. It may take some google-sleuthing, but a lot of therapists/agencies have sliding fee scales to help individuals who may not be able to afford typical therapy fees. If you’ve got a clinical/counseling psych doc program in your area, most of them run community-based clinics on their campuses that offer these types of fees.

    • Caitlin March 29, 2011, 4:21 pm

      Great tips, Kate. Thanks for sharing!

  • Katherine: Unemployed March 29, 2011, 11:46 am

    keep going with your strong heart and will to succeed!

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) March 29, 2011, 11:51 am

    Great advice! I’m pretty bad with injuries and try to exercise on them if I can. Not being able to run bugs the heck out of me when I’m injured, but you’re right… it’s not the end of the world, and you don’t start out from zero assuming that you’ve been doing some other activities. It definitely made running again more fun!

  • Joanne March 29, 2011, 11:53 am

    Amazing post, Caitlin. You covered all the bases.

  • jenna{frombostonwithlove} March 29, 2011, 11:56 am

    Thanks for this! I totally struggle with keeping it all in perspective and also not being able to do everything I aspire to at once. This is great encouragment.

  • Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) March 29, 2011, 12:07 pm

    This was a REALLY wonderful post Caitlin!! I totally NEEDED this and am totally making a shortcut to this for the next time… bc there’s always a next time… esp as I get older ;P

    I struggled in Feb with an inflamed SI joint that took about 3ish weeks to return to normal (note to self: always STRETCH A LOT lol) & then 3 weeks ago today I had a terrible muscle spasm in my left pec muscle (due to fly’s on my workout ball) that left me only able to do things that do not engage my upper body at all… which includes blogging/ cooking/ pc work! I was getting REALLY down to say the least… but, I was kind of following your tips w.o even knowing it. I started walking every day with B, reading more, working on my herb garden and stopped my outdoor bike rides as well as my spin classes (doing these things seemed ok, but my injury wasn’t getting better) and NO weights until I had NO more pain at all. So, this monday I woke up feeling normal!!! 😀 My knee jerk is to TAKE IT SLOW… I don’t want to be resting again for 3 (?!) weeks or longer. I have really realized how good being able to excersize the way I want regularly makes me feel & can’t wait to be totally back again. Thanks again for all these tips!!!

  • Kara March 29, 2011, 12:08 pm

    This is great, and I’m glad you put in pregnancy too! We all want to be that fit pregnant lady at the gym, but it doesn’t always work out that way! I had to take 8 months off from running when I was pregnant and it was hard, but I told myself that I’ll have my daughter for the rest of my life, so a few months is nothing!

  • Courtney March 29, 2011, 12:10 pm

    i just love you.

    • Caitlin March 29, 2011, 4:20 pm

      hey, i love you too!

  • Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope March 29, 2011, 12:14 pm

    I’ve had a couple of surgeries and a few injuries that I had to work my fitness around, and it wasn’t easy. But my first real hiatus with a surgery taught me that I was a little TOO focused on exercise. I had to ALLOW life to take over once in a while. Just realizing that fact truly changed my life and the way I view exercise. I had to realize that exercise is for my phsyical and mental health… and if NOT exercising is what I need one day, I need to listen to that. I honestly believe that injuries and surgeries are some of the best lessons in disguise. I’ve also discovered so many new alternatives (pilates, biking) that I now LOVE that kept me off my feet when I was unable to walk long distances (my favorite exercise of choice).

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie March 29, 2011, 12:21 pm

    banana bake. I want.

    peanut butter and honey oatmeal will have to do.

  • Lauren March 29, 2011, 12:25 pm

    Very good points! I’ve never had any big injuries, but I know I would get jealous of runners if I did get injured. I usually cut back on running during the winter because of the cold temps, and I miss running as much, but I’m always amazed how quickly I gain my fitness/running back in the spring.

  • Coco March 29, 2011, 12:34 pm

    Great post. So helpful. BOOKMARKING it! 🙂

  • Amanda Perry @ Sistas of Strength March 29, 2011, 12:47 pm

    Great Post! I have been thinking about the all or nothing situation a ton lately (especially since I am almost 8 months preggo). It’s so easy to get sucked into that, but life really is all about moderation and usually with many injuries and while you are pregnant just because you can’t do one thing you just may be able to do another and you might even find a new favorite! I wrote a post on working out with injuries last week because I was feeling a bit sidelined myself!

    • Caitlin March 29, 2011, 4:19 pm

      Congrats on being 8 months preggers!

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In March 29, 2011, 12:48 pm

    This is a great post. I definitely get frustrated and down when I can’t exercise, and fall into the all-or-nothing mentality. But eating IS more important than exercise with regards to your weight, so it’s even more important to amp up your nutrition.
    And even better is your reminder that IT’S OKAY. We are beautiful no matter if we are running, have toned arms, or overate!

  • Jayna @ Healthy Living Bites March 29, 2011, 12:58 pm

    Ahhh, why couldn’t I have read this a year ago when I first got injured?!?!?

    I have struggled so much with this exact issue this past year. I herniated a disc in my back in March, had surgery in November, and am told I can run again in May. I am still angry about basically starting over with running (I’d only been running for a year), and scared of injuring myself again.

    I had my period of “screw it” and learned that over indulging in treats does not make the frustration of injury better. I also now had a great excuse to join a gym again and am greatly enjoying the elliptical and some group fitness.

    Still, hearing of everyone signing up for races makes me mourn my uncertain running future. . . I guess it’s time for me to stop thinking about what I can’t do, and maybe look for fitness-esque things I CAN participate in. . .

  • Laughter-Loving Stacy March 29, 2011, 12:59 pm

    Thank you for posting this! I am working hard to not be an “all or nothing” person, which I have been that way for as long as I can remember. I’ve hurt my knee before, and I focused on strength training and other workouts instead, which made me a better runner!! 🙂

  • kk March 29, 2011, 1:15 pm

    personally, i think periods of injury are great for 3 things in particular:

    1. catching up on all the hobbies, interests and social time that get pushed to the back burner when you’re training hard. movies, books, gardening, knitting, live music, theatre! these are some of mine and filling my time with them serves to remind me that my life can be rich and enjoyable even if i can’t run for a little while.

    2. discovering new ways to work out. unless you’re in a full-body cast, there’s always SOMETHING you can do. maybe it’s the perfect time to try the aerial silk class you’ve always wanted to do but are always too busy for (i aspire to try it some day!). or maybe now is a good time to try a 30-day hot yoga challenge. sometimes you just have to get creative! as you mentioned, if you can’t do any lower body stuff, hit your upper body hard. there’s so much you can do to train your biceps, triceps, chest, shoulders and back.

    3. giving back to the running community. volunteer at a bunch of races! we all appreciate the tireless efforts of volunteers who put on the races we participate in . . . now is your chance to be one of them and bank some good runner’s karma. you can also support friends on their long runs by offering to meet them with water and fuel. they will love you to bits for it and likely return the favor one day.

    • Caitlin March 29, 2011, 4:18 pm

      I especially like #3!

    • Cris June 14, 2013, 3:04 pm

      While I do agree with all of these points very much, I feel the need to mention that while aerial silks is amazing, it works your whole body intensely, and I wouldn’t recommend it for someone with an injury. Maybe anti-gravity yoga would be a better option.

  • Natalia - a side of simple March 29, 2011, 1:29 pm

    This is a GREAT post, Caitlin. I’m definitely bookmarking it, though I hope and pray I don’t have to access it too often… Everything that you’ve touched on is so true and it’s nice to know I’m not alone when I go through those specific stages or have certain thoughts that you brought up. Thanks!

  • Lisa March 29, 2011, 1:32 pm

    I had my first “serious” running injury in September–right after Hood to Coast. I hurt my ITB and had to stop running for 2 months. I was so frustrated that every doctor I saw couldn’t help me. I tried massage, yoga, acupuncture, physical therapy, sports medicine…nothing.

    And all the while I had to endure reading blogs about all these races they were running. I was angry, jealous and frustrated. I stopped reading a lot of blogs because of that.

    I started weight lifting, lost a bunch of weight and realized that there were other things than running! Now that I can run again I’m much more moderate about it. I balance it with weight lifting and other activities.

    • Caitlin March 29, 2011, 4:18 pm

      sometimes you just need time to heal ) I’m glad you’re better now.

  • Christy March 29, 2011, 2:10 pm

    This was very helpful especially since I’m injured from running currently. Fortunately, I still exercise like biking and lifting weights. I still focus on my diet though. Too much. I think that because I’m not running, I can’t eat as much as I can. The truth is, I can eat the same because I still am working out. It’s tough mentally and physically. I’m just telling myself to take off a few weeks from running and that in the end, I may be back to normal. Hopefully.

  • Kiran March 29, 2011, 2:46 pm

    I’ve struggled with back injuries recently, and it’s not doing any good for my posture or my exercise regime. I strive to not make it such a big issue and have started light yoga to alleviate some of the back pressure. It’s all about being and THINKING positive to solve issues that might hinder you in future.

  • Shannon @ A Pinch of Ginger March 29, 2011, 2:46 pm

    Caitlin this is such a great post! I had to take off 4 months last year due to some serious IT band strain. I wasn’t even able to walk 4 blocks let alone run. It was really stressful, however, I came out of that experience all the wiser. I now know to listen closer to my body and when to back off. Like you said, better to sacrifice the short term!

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table March 29, 2011, 2:48 pm

    Kudos to you for having such a positive attitude! I’m just recovering from my broken jaw and it IS an emotional journey. I literally have to learn how to socialize and EAT like a normal person again.

    Side note: how’s the push-up challenge going? I’m doing my own thing, but I’m up to 50 in a row!

    • Caitlin March 29, 2011, 4:17 pm

      I’m trying – I’m up to 15. LOL

      • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table March 29, 2011, 4:40 pm

        My trainer had me a do a max set, cut that number in half, and then do 3 sets a day at that halved number.

        ex: when I started I could do 20 max. He had me doing 3 sets of 10 per day. 3 mos later I’m up to 3 sets of 25 a day!

  • Jo @ Jo In the Kitchen March 29, 2011, 2:59 pm

    Well done! I think a lot of people need to hear this. Injuries aren’t the end, and as long as you take care of yourself, you can come back to the things you love.

  • Kristen March 29, 2011, 3:08 pm

    this is really good advice!

  • Allison @ Happy Tales March 29, 2011, 3:16 pm

    I love your healthy mindset on how to handle an injury, Caitlin! The comments other people have left are wonderful as well. This really resonates with me, as I’ve had to take a big period of time off from running in the past, too (seems like a lot of people have!). I liked that it gave me more time to read.

  • Ellie@fitforthesoul March 29, 2011, 3:29 pm

    i agree i love your banana bake Caitlin!! one of the first “healthy blog meals” that I had tried a few months ago 🙂

  • Cindy March 29, 2011, 3:34 pm

    This post and these comments are amazing! The emotional side is the hard part. I was all gung ho to go back to working out after I had surgery last summer. By the time I was cleared, I had moved to a new country, started school, and lost my motivation, and gained a lot of weight. Now it seems every time I try to get back into it I hit a roadblock- possible frozen shoulder, a family death, and now I’ve twisted my ankle.

    It isn’t about looking good at this point, it is being at a healthier weight that isn’t a giant red flag every time I see a doctor or look in the mirror. (I must have next to no metabolism since I look at food and gain weight)

    I just hope that my ankle heals quick and that I can finally get physio for my shoulder so I can get back into running and spinning and feeling like myself again.

  • Dee March 29, 2011, 3:38 pm

    Great post, I agree with everything, and found several needed reminders and some new thoughts I hadn’t considered before. I recently went through an emotionally-charged absence from running due to illness- I had bronchitis, resulting in about 11 days of absolutely no running, and needed to intially restart by walking only to test out how my lungs were doing.

    I knew I needed to give my body its rest, but i was SO MAD during this period! I felt like I was losing ground, when I had just been making so much awesome progress.

    Next time anything like this happens, I’m going to come back to this post to cope!

  • Carrie S. March 29, 2011, 4:36 pm

    Great post! I’ve been dealing with my first injury in 16 years of running and it’s been AWFUL. I’ve been trying to keep on some sort of fitness track with yoga and weights a few times per week, but the all-or-nothing mentality has been very hard for me to shake, plus I’ve just been bummed about not running and doing a lot of emotional eating. Trying to work through it, but it’s tough. I’m definitely trying to keep in mind that a few months rest is better than a year off, and I know I’m going to be glad I rested and healed when I’m doing the 2012 Goofy Challenge 🙂

  • Heidi - apples under my bed March 29, 2011, 5:55 pm

    I am not really an athlete (I do love to exercise, but I don’t do races or anything) but I found this post really helpful! Fabulous tips here, Caitlin, thanks!!
    Heidi xo

  • Sophia @ Raven Waves March 29, 2011, 5:59 pm

    Emotionally, a physical injury can be tough. I know when I was injured with knee tendonitis for 6 months, I got into a horrible slump and gained weight. Yikes! Now, I know that being injured doesn’t mean I get to be lazy! Supplementing running for other workouts can still work! 🙂

  • Michele March 29, 2011, 5:59 pm

    Hi Caitlin,
    Would you be willing to share a gold star template with us? That looks like a handy way to keep track of stuff.

  • Kari @ Human, MD March 29, 2011, 6:22 pm

    I think the hardest part of injuries for me is the disruption of my routine. Running and cycling are my sanity. They are my opportunity to push myself, destress, and focus on me after a day of paying attention to everyone else’s problems. When I’m injured, not only can I not run or cycle (aggressively…), but I lose the intuitive way to destress at the end of the day. While I know there are other ways to exercise, they don’t generally have to same effect for me.

    When I’m injured (as I happen to be right now… I’m back in a prolonged battle with an ankle that’s been through a couple of surgeries and a recent little fracture), I have to be very intentional about setting aside time for alternatie high intensity exercise and MAKING myself go. While it’s generally depressing because it reminds me of all the things I can’t do, I always feel better after working out!

    I also have to remind myself NOT to push though intense pain (which I’d normally do), because it’s better to take time off now than end up with anarthritic ankle in 5 years!!!

  • car March 29, 2011, 6:31 pm

    I was diagnosed with a stress fracture two weeks, put in a boot, crutches, and i’m not sure how much longer I’ll be off of it. I miss running SO much, and definitely am feeling and fearing all of what you mentioned in this post. Somehow though, which each day that passes, I’m trying to remember the injury was my body telling me it needed more rest. I miss being able to run to destress, but as you said, it can always be worse, and everything happens for a reason.

  • Shannon March 29, 2011, 6:48 pm

    BEST POST EVER, CAITLIN!!! Seriously, fantastic. I am not even injured at present but as a psychologist (and runner), I appreciated the wise emotional advice in here. Also, I know that in the near(ish) future (like, the next few years most likely) I will have to have foot surgery (probably both feet!!!) and will be totally off my feet for a loooong time. I am dreading it already (years away still!) but I will have to remember this post and come back to it when the time comes!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing March 29, 2011, 6:49 pm

    Thank you thank you thank YOU! I’ve dealt with all of that.. especially the wanting to chuck a water bottle out the window at a runner..hehe.

  • Emma (Namaste Everyday) March 29, 2011, 6:53 pm

    Thanks so much for this post. Thought I luckily am not dealing with any injuries right now, I often go through exercise slumps because of lack of routine in my life. If I think about it too much, I can get down on myself, but I love to remember that we are beautiful always <3

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin March 29, 2011, 6:54 pm

    This is an awesome post! I once had to stop running for a week or two because I started to feel pain in my knee, but it was actually a blessing in disguise because it got me out of my running rut and helped me explore new ways to work out. There’s always a positive side to everything! 🙂

  • Gina March 29, 2011, 7:26 pm

    I have been making a microwave banana cake that looks a lot like your banana bake. It is totally awesome and I have it almost every morning! You should give it a try. Super easy, fast and delish. It was on Oh She Glow recipe link love a month ago.

  • Laura Ann March 29, 2011, 7:28 pm

    WOW, it’s like you just experienced the last year of my life! A knee injury, a slew of doctors, a surgery, and a yr later I still have two swollen knees. You described all of the emotions I constantly move through. But I really love what you wrote about keeping it in perspective. It’s all too easy to feel sorry for oneself.. So I am often reminding myself of all I *do* have.

    I had to learn to love pilates (it is one of the only group classes I am allowed to take), which I was not happy about at first. But I fell completely in love with it. I try to make the most of my elliptical workouts and well… my upper body is in the best shape it’s ever been! :o)

  • Verna March 29, 2011, 8:05 pm

    I really needed to hear this! With my last pregnancy, I had really bad morning sickness the entire time, I was still working full time, I was completely exhausted by the time I got home from work, and on top of all of that I developed several respiratory infections during my pregnancy. I did a lot of walking at work but by the end of my pregnancy, but I gained 60lbs and I was not in good shape at all.
    After my son was born, I vowed that with my next pregnancy I would be in better shape to start with, and I would try to stay healthier throughout my pregnancy. Thanks to breastfeeding, I lost all of my “baby weight” within 3 months, without a whole lot of effort. When we started talking about getting pregnant again, I joined the gym and started lifting weights, riding my bike, and taking walks with my son.
    I got sick before Christmas, with what I thought was another respiratory infection, but it never went away. Fast forward to January, I find out I’m pregnant, and still sick (probably shouldn’t have kept on trying but too late now). Come to find out I have a weird fungal pneumonia and end up getting the flu on top of it. I was pretty much living on the couch for about a month. I could hardly take care of my son, let alone myself.
    Thankfully, I have pretty much fully recovered, and my baby is healthy! But I’m in HORRIBLE shape again, and headed down the same path I was with my last pregnancy. It’s been so difficult feeling so weak and unhealthy. I’m so thankful that my baby is healthy though. My morning sickness was very mild this time and only lasted from 6-10 weeks (Thank you God!!), and I haven’t even been as tired so I’m hoping to slowly get back into shape and keep my weight down, at least a little bit better. ; )
    Sorry, I rambled on so much. Thanks for a great post!

    • Caitlin March 29, 2011, 8:16 pm

      <3 your welcome!

  • Jacalyn March 29, 2011, 8:18 pm

    This is exactly what I needed today. I was feeling really bummed about my plantar fasciitis and ate 2 cupcakes today. I am not off the bandwagon, but was definitely emotionally eating. 2 cupcakes won’t set me back, but I don’t like the way I feel now. NO MORE EMOTIONAL CUPCAKES! Thanks for the post.

    I have begun swimming again since my foot has been hurting me and am looking forward to building some awesome shoulders with my new workout Plus, swimming has got to increase my lung capacity – – – > more efficient running!

  • Sara March 29, 2011, 9:06 pm

    Just wanted to throw another perspective into the mix…
    I’ve had a bunch of injuries over the year — sesamoiditis, typical running related knee pain and tendonitis in my hip flexor. I LOVE(d) running and even though I was never particularly fast at it, it was a very important part of my life. I do NOT deal well with injuries and being injured makes my job (elementary school teacher) very unpleasant. Injuries happen for a reason so obviously I was doing something wrong. Could I have figured out what was wrong and corrected it to avoid future injuries? Maybe. But I eventually came to realize that… My body was healthier when I was just living an active life (walking errands, being on my feet for work, etc.) and not doing too much in the way of formal exercise. I’m not suggesting that everyone who gets injured should quit running but that another tip is to consider patterns of injury and whether the pain is worth it. For some it might be (and occasional injuries might not interfere greatly with the rest of life) but for me it wasn’t.

  • Nicole March 29, 2011, 9:20 pm

    This post was awesome, and covered a very important but often overlooked topic. I have been struggling with a chronic illness for four years now. At its worst, I was hardly able to walk up a flight of stairs, and even now any high impact sport like running is totally out of the question. If you like to exercise it can be very disheartening to be unable to do things you love to do. I actually did see a counselor to help me find ways to deal with my illness, since my inability to participate in my usual activities was depressing me so much. All your points are great, and I have a few more that were really important for me:
    1)Don’t beat yourself up. If I stopped doing something because it hurt, or took a rest day (or month), I would find myself constantly beating myself up. (“you’re a wimp”, “you’re just making excuses”, “you’re lazy”, “you’re going to get fat and ugly” (terrible I know). On top of that, when I caught myself being negative, I would beat myself up for THAT! I would call myself a whiner, and think of what a terrible person I was being so sad when other people had much worse problems.
    2) It’s ok be to be unhappy about being injured. I don’t mean all the time, but don’t feel as if you should shrug off every road block. Take the time to stop and acknowledge what you are feeling (sad, disapointed, etc) and THEN move on. Trying to ignore your feelings will just make them build up over time. It’s good to try to be positive, but it’s also important to acknowledge ALL your emotions.

    I got a ton more tips from my counselor, but along with what Caitlin said above, this should be good for shorter-term injuries. For long-term or chronic illnesses, don’t be afraid to go to your own counselor!


    • Caitlin March 29, 2011, 9:31 pm

      Thank you for sharing this!

  • BroccoliHut March 29, 2011, 9:35 pm

    I’m dealing with my first serious injury right now (2 stress fractures), so this post couldn’t have come at a better time!

  • Sarah March 29, 2011, 11:34 pm

    Thanks for all the great advice. Im currently taking a running hiatus due to a foot injury. I have been struggling but bought a bike THIS WEEK so i can focus my energy on something NEW and FUN!
    I will have to take more into consideration what I am eating since I am burning WAY less calories each week!

  • Tay March 29, 2011, 11:38 pm

    I have dealt with this A LOT. And am currently in the midst of my 7th injury. With my other injuries, I knew somehow they’d pass. As upset as I was, and I missed running, I knew I would run again. This is my second injury that is having me thinking “Will it EVER improve/go away? Ever?” First was my knee, and now my ankle/heel/inner shin. Sure I’m sad I can’t run (or do all cardio actually), but it was with my first injury I was the most upset. I would break out in tears OFTEN during my year long battle. But I’m with you when I tried to keep things in perspective: There were a lot of people way worse off than me. At least I still could walk. At least I had my health. At least I could weight lift. But of course I couldn’t help but think “Why why whyyyy meeee??” (at the risk of sounding whiny). I’m also thankful that my injuries have given me the ability to appreciate exercise 110% much more. I used to run run run without a second thought. I almost started crying at the end of my half marathon after I recovered from my knee injury. It was so much more special than my marathon because I knew how sacred running can be!

  • Jessica March 30, 2011, 8:41 am

    Thank you so much for this post. I’ve been unable to run for a couple of months now due to tendonitous of the heel and knee. It’s really frustrating, especially since I’d recently adopted the outlook of “running as a hobby” vs. simply “running to stay in shape” (this really makes such a huge difference for me, and my enthusiasm following this change in perspective is honestly probably why I overdid it to the point of injury). This post has some great suggestions for coping with injury…focusing on nutrition is something that has especially been helpful for me! It’s great to hear the other tips and to know I’m not alone!

  • Richelle March 30, 2011, 11:10 am

    Great post! I’m dealing with an injury in my lower leg/foot that’s just crept up again. Just the thought of not being able to run is freaking me out. It’s the exact same pain that caused me to take a year off, so this time I’m trying to listen to my body better and have stopped running in the hopes that I have caught it soon enough.

    I know last time I definitely struggled with jealousy, anger, and sadness. As well as disordered eating thoughts. This time I’m going to stay positive, find other ways to exercie and focus on nutrition. It’s early yet, but if I do need to take more time off, I have really wanted to get more into yoga. Thanks again for the great post.

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me March 30, 2011, 12:35 pm

    I feel it’s so easy for people to “fall off the wagon” once they get injured. Then it’s so hard to start back up again. I totally agree that if you can keep something in your schedule…whether that’s walking, yoga, even stretching. It keeps your body on a schedule.

  • Lindsay March 30, 2011, 5:26 pm

    Excellent post!! I am currently 19 days out from shoulder surgery (due to an injury 6 months ago!). Anyway, I’ve been struggling with the “all or nothing” mentality. It’s so true that this is THE time to focus on healthy eating to help my body recover quickly.

  • Kristina March 30, 2011, 8:45 pm

    Great post! I’m trying to decide at the moment whether to bag my first Olympic tri at the beginning of May because of foot and knee issues. I have TWO appointments on Monday – one for the foot, one for the knee – and will make a decision based on what they say. If I can walk the run portion, then I will bite the bullet, eat my pride and just try to finish the damn race. If, however, the prognosis is more serious, then I have to reassess where I am.
    I’m quite frustrated and definitely feel depressed at this point about giving up the tri and maybe giving up running (AGAIN), but I am staying positive about the fact that I’ve become much stronger and confident as a swimmer and cyclist.

  • Lesley March 31, 2011, 8:23 am

    The issue I have to deal with is fear. I’m on my 3rd bout of runner’s knee and it’s been 4 months since I’ve run. I’m *finally* starting to get better, and I’m hoping to start back to running in about a month. I was able to start ramping up my activity a few weeks ago, and the fear of a relapse is always in the back of my mind.

    • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 8:35 am

      YES! Any every twinge is like “OMG.”

  • Jess July 15, 2011, 10:00 am

    Thanks for this, Caitlin! I remembered reading it when you posted it, and a friend reminded me about it yesterday. I have a stress fracture (most likely; doc thinks so, but x-ray didn’t show anything) in my shin and have 16 weeks until my third marathon. I’m really emotional and I bet a lot has to do with my utter frustration and fears. But! I can swim and bike, and haven’t for a few months, so I’m going to get back into them and see what happens. 🙂 Thank you again for the post!

  • Bronwyn May 8, 2012, 11:01 am

    I can completely agree that an injury is a very emotional experience. I had my first injury last year, and it completely demotivated me. It wasn’t that I couldn’t live without running, but I just lost my zeal for anything sort of healthy-living. Which is bad, as I work in the healthy-living industry. Fortunately I’m finally starting to find my workout mojo again, and it feels great to motivated to go for a run or a bike ride or to yoga.

  • momruns49 July 25, 2013, 12:05 pm

    Totally crushed right now because I may have some upper hamstring/glute thing going on. I’ve been off of it for a few days, and am afraid to try to come back..I’ve dealt with this before, so I’m terrified it may be That Injury again. I have a huge deductible and no extra $ right now, so I am putting off seeing anyone yet. Was signed up for tons of trail runs, road races, etc. It is my whole community, friends, etc. As a single working mom, this is so important for my fragile self-esteem. I have to say I am not yet Mother Theresa enough to attend all of these events as a volunteer only, while knowing that I cannot run any of them. I’m happy to volunteer beforehand, but I can’t face being there. Completely depressed at the moment. 🙁

  • A November 29, 2014, 6:01 am

    Well I’m not a runner, but I’m a fitness geru that really likes to workout. Everybody that knows me knows that it is just not my personality to be stationary, I always have to be on the move doing something. 3 weeks ago I pulled a muscle in my hip (severe) , and I have been bed bound for most of that time. It is so frustrating to me because I have gained 5 pounds from the immobility (probably was the thanksgiving dinner lol). I don’t know when this injury is expected to heal but man I can’t wait!

  • gwen May 20, 2015, 12:51 pm

    don’t know if you are reading this but I may visit it regulary for the next while. I’m not a runner but I walk 11 km a day when I’m healthy. I had both my knees replaced 5 years ago and have since taken up all the walking I’m talking about. 6 months ago I injured my Achilles tendon, had it injected which worked almost immediately, started walking again and it happened all over again which stopped me form walkign all winter, went to a doctor in january who suggested stretching and antiinflamatories and bakc again in 1 month, back in mid february, then suggested physo and back in a month, back in a month still in alot of pain and unable to walk. Mid march was perscribed a walking boot and have been in it now for 6 weeks, still no distance walking and I am missing it sooooo much and feelign like a lump. I’m really hating this and having a really difficult time dealing.

    • Sean August 7, 2015, 8:00 pm

      Hey there, sounds like you have hit a rough patch. Hope you are feeling stronger mentally right now and getting better physically. I suffered a back injury(bad lumbar tear)11 months ago and now deal with chronic neuro/back pain every day. My life before that was of national caliber on the running circuit where I always dealt with little injuries here and there. I can’t even run down the street now without being in pain. Its a constant battle trying to deal with this new life but im doing the best I can. Please feel free to join my Facebook page, its a little support group I have started up for people like yourself and all the athletes on here.

      Stay strong all,


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