Reinvention: how I'm occupying myself while injured

can't take running too seriously you know. Even if I look like a 'proper' runner.....

can't take running too seriously you know. Even if I look like a 'proper' runner.....

So, I'm injured. Like my once-every-four-or-five-year proper injured. And as is always my genetic trait, it's a ligament or tendon: twice knee patellar tendon, left rotator, left ankle ligaments, and now this time, right shoulder labrum tear. That's over 25 years by the way so not too bad (but not too great either). Like I said though, I seem to have genetics that lead to these sorts of issues along with probably an active streak that doesn't help the genetics!


So, what to do? For many it's a time to mope around. But well, I can't help it with activity as it's good for the mind and soul so I'm out running. And it helps keep the weight off - those little things you have to keep in mind when you enter your thirties! 

I'm trail running, because wow, road running is boring (for me at least). So, it's an opportunity to make the most of the hills near my current home, near Three Rock hill in Dublin. And what do you know it's a great way to occupy yourself with lots of zen time up in the hills! Nothing too serious but also big enough objectives that I'm having to push myself a bit also. And carry a pack with water and food. Which also leads to little learnings on running. Just like when climbing - you don't want to be too heavy with gear or too much equipment or you'll just tire yourself out - I blew up on a run just last weekend with an excessively large pack. But it's fine, fun, and there's time to laugh as exploring another random trail on the edge of Wicklow.

Observations on trail running south of Dublin? Why isn't there more circular loops? The Wicklow Way leads out on a beautiful circuit from Marley Park but there's no real option but to come back the way you came. An opportunity seems to be there to extend some trails west. Perhaps the Government will get around to it in time.....

Lessons learned:

  • Good trail shoes
  • A solid, easy-going mindset as you could be out for at least a few hours
  • If you're out on the hills, you'll be stopping more and also slower than a road run. Enjoy the experience as you'll most likely be in a pretty amazing location.
  • Lots of light gear


As for the shoulder injury? Well, it's looking like a surgery job. At least I'm in good company though with the likes of Hazel Findlay, Shauna Coxsey, Ethan Pringle and many more who have had the same injury. But also key is that most of them have also recovered as good as completely from the injury. So, optimistic attitude is there for the future. Like always, it's not blind optimism as that only leads to danger - I'm expecting to have to put lots of work in to the recuperation (both in physical therapy, but also in healthy eating and mindset). Roll on late September and the next climbing trip. See you in Spain somewhere?


What about you? How do you handle injury?


Looking for more info on advice during injury? Here's a good podcast (I've linked to this from the mailing list also).

Bill Knowles is a world-renowned expert in reconditioning, having worked with athletes and teams from across the globe at the Olympic and professional levels. He joins us on this weeks podcast to discuss injuries, coming back from injury, and athletic development. Podcast link.

I should probably link to all my old blog posts relevant to returning from injury also:

Neal McQuaid