Imagine you’ve gotten the kids to bed after a long day of work. Your partner is home in case they wake up. You’ve scheduled your evening run with an accountability buddy. And in the first mile of your well-intentioned 5 mile training run, your knee starts to ache. Or you get a cramp. Or your ankle rolls.
Welcome to the world of inconvenient and often painful injuries! You don’t want to be here. Neither do I! Here are a few reg flags for recently-returned runners after kids…
Again, I am not a trained medical professional, so talk to your doctor about your own body and experience.
In my experience, I started to notice some low-grade pain in my right pelvis/lower abs after running, a few months ago. It didn’t prevent me from running and it didn’t hurt too much, so I mostly ignored it. (Red flag #1 – don’t ignore pain.)
About a month ago, as my mileage increased, it started interfering with my physical activity for the rest of the day after my run, so I decided to get it checked out. I was referred to a physical therapist, who was respectful, knowledgeable, and encouraging. She ruled out several of the more alarming potential reasons for pain in that area (hernia, appendicitis, etc.) and determined it’s probably just a muscle strain. Having pushed out two kids from approximately that area, those muscles are weaker now than they used to be!!
The PT gave me a few exercises for my off days, a warm-up routine for my running days, and told me that I can do this. No excuses. Given my training regimen so far, if I were to attempt the half marathon tomorrow, I could finish. Tough love!
So, it’s been about 5 weeks since that appointment and I’ve done my exercises and warm ups about half the times I was supposed to. (Red flag #2 – do what the PT says. They know what they’re talking about!) The issue hasn’t really gone away or changed at all.
In fact, when I attempted a 9-mile run with my neighbor 2 weeks ago, I had to stop at 7, and she continued on, finishing it.
My follow-up appointment with the PT this week was similar to the first. With a little less patience after I admitted I hadn’t been particularly religious about my exercises, she adjusted my prescribed routines and told me that my body can do a half marathon. She provided a few suggestions to handle mental stamina for long training runs. In particular, she recommended trying two shorter runs in one day, tricking my mind into that energizing feeling of being almost done twice instead of attempting 10 miles all at once!
More than the physical pain, this experience is getting into my head, affecting my morale, mental commitment, confidence that I can do this. Luckily, I still have an accountability plan and only about 3 more weeks until the half marathon!
Wish me luck on my remaining long runs!
Have you experienced an injury as a running mom? What were your red flags? What was your solution? How did it affect your morale?