A Runner’s Journey: Sidelined but Not Defeated

It's always the little things.

I typically do things in grand fashion, and hurting myself is one of them. When I began running less than two years ago, I figured if I ever got sidelined, it would be because I fell down a hill or broke my legs falling into the Ohio River. Nope, in these two years, I experienced a few aches and pains, but what did me in was something as simple as just running. What I do multiple times a week.

I pushed myself a little too hard trying to force my body to run faster (spoiler: it didn't go any faster) and now the half marathon I've been training for since July is out the window. All this training, all this planning, all so I could hear, "Yeah, take a few weeks off," just two weeks before everything I was working toward.

And it's not like I'm on crutches or anything, it's just enough pain to not be debilitating, but certainly annoying enough that trying to go 13.1 miles on a tweaked knee would be a really bad idea, and probably put the kibosh on my plans for my first full marathon next year. Wait … full marathon?! Who convinced me that was a good idea?!

So, I've taken a few weeks off from my journey and I can instantly see myself reverting to bad habits, but I'm determined to get off the couch and back on the road in time for the Thanksgiving Day Race. This time last year, the thought of running six miles felt impossible; this time six months ago, it was a light day of training; but having never been sidelined before, I'm a little anxious about the prep for a return.

I'm choosing to follow the rule of two in my training. I know mentally, I'm going to want to go out and run three miles on my first day back because that's a "light" day for me now, but my coaches have advised me against it and are almost putting me back on my Couch to 5k training, which is how I got started in the first place. Day one: 10 minutes of running, day two: 12 minutes, day three: 14, etc. It's going to feel like I'm not doing enough, but based on the two miles I tried to run last week when I know I shouldn't have (oops), I'm going to have to try a different approach.

I expected the big, scary injury to be the one to sideline me, just as I expected to be able to go with a big impressive comeback, but much like how I went out, it's the little things that will get me back in. 

Don't let the cooler weather keep you from staying active. Check out these tips. 

​If you listen to Mix 94.9, you've probably heard Ray Anderson on air from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. In 2016, Ray took up running and completed his first 5k with the help of the app Couch to 5k. Later that year he completed his first 10k. Ray is now busy training for his first 15k and half marathon. Ray is happy to partner with Healthspirations to share his running journey and what he's learned along the way.