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7 Ways to Cope With Not Being Able to Run

The Emotional Side of Running Injuries


Updated March 08, 2014

When you're recovering from a running injury, you become very aware of how running is a huge part of your life. And dealing with the physical pain of the injury is often not as difficult as coping with the frustration of having to put your running plans on hold. If you're sidelined with a running injury, here are some tips for helping you cope with the psychological strain of not being able to run:

See it as an opportunity.

Abdominal Crunch on Fitness Ball
Photo by Paul Burns
An injury recovery period is a perfect time to work on your weaknesses, since you're not going to spend as much time running. If your core can use strengthening, for example, now's a good opportunity to work on it.
More: Ab Workouts for Running
Strengthening Workouts for Runners

Stay active.

Butterfly Yoga Pose
Photo by Peter Augustin
Talk to your doctor about recommendations for safe cross-training activities during your recovery. Some good choices are usually low-impact activities such as yoga, pilates, swimming, or deep water running. The physical activity will help prevent feelings of sadness and anger.

More: Cross-Training for Runners

Seek out other stress relievers.

Woman reading
Cavan Images
Whether you realize it or not, running is most likely a source of stress relief for you. Now's the time to find other relaxing activities that may help manage your stress (including the stress of dealing with an injury!). Pick up some magazines, books, or a crossword puzzle –- anything that will keep your mind occupied and not thinking about sources of stress in your life.

More: Top 10 Stress Relievers

Don't abandon running altogether.

Race spectators cheering
Dream Pictures/Ostrow
Although not being able to run may make you want to forget about running, staying away may actually make you feel even worse. Keep in touch with your running buddies and stay up-to-date on their training. Use your recovery period as a time to get involved with running in other ways, such as volunteering at a race or cheering on your friends.

But find other outlets, too.

Now's also a great time to focus on non-running aspects of your life. Get together with some non-running friends for coffee or dinner, or catch a movie or a play. Doing something that isn't part of your regular routine will help you appreciate the time off from running.

Think positive!

Try not to adopt a "woe-is-me" attitude. An optimistic outlook will help speed up your recovery.

Look toward the future.

Runner smiling
Matthew Leete

Remind yourself that the silver lining of any injury is that you'll appreciate being healthy and running comfortably much more when you come back. You won't take running for granted!

Also see: 7 Lessons Runners Learn the Hard Way

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