Minor injuries and staying on track

It was inevitable, I suppose.

  1. Recommit myself to a fitness and nutrition routine, to lose weight and feel better about myself.
  2. Double down on this commitment by starting a fitness blog.
  3. Wake up a week after this decision and find myself randomly limping from an injury I don't remember occurring but holy shit my leg hurts.

Oh, and advance warning: if you came here for advice on how to treat an injury, uh, sorry, you're in the wrong place - I'm terrible at that. All I have to offer is, I dunno, foam roll more, I guess? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Actually, the one piece of (potentially useful) advice I can give is actually stolen from my good friend Craig, who told told me the simple phrase "movement is magic". Note: I am not a doctor, and am perhaps as far from a doctor as one can be, so the following is not actual medical advice, just a note of what I've found works for me. Your mileage may very, please don't hurt yourself, as I have a guilty conscience, and also I guess it's probably bad for you, too. It should go without saying that this is specifically for people with relatively minor issues - if you have anything more serious, you should probably be talking to an actual doctor, not reading some jackass' blog.

So, disclaimers aside, to elaborate on that advice - one of the best things I've found to do for an injury is to stay active, though obviously not in whatever way caused the injury. Getting my blood flowing, and using the injured muscles in a non-harmful way, seems to work wonders for me. 

Fortunately, this advice goes hand-in-hand with with my desire to stay on track and not use the injury as an excuse to get lazy. Inevitably, I injure myself at least once a year, and I know that I have to stick to some sort of schedule, or risk falling out of the habit entirely. Usually, as in this case, it primarily impacts my running, so my running days have to be replaced with something else. Options include:

  • Option 1: Walking uphill on the treadmill. Since I am fortunate enough to own a treadmill, this is my preferred option, as it works some of the same muscles, and is fairly low-impact. Extra bonus: this keeps my step count up on Playground - not quite as much as running, but still, it's something. If I owned an elliptical, I'd likely use that instead, but I do not.
  • Option 2: Power walk outside. This might work better than Option 1, depending on the extent of the injury, though I struggle to get my heart rate up while doing so, so it isn't ideal.
  • Option 3: More biking. , Again, depending on the injury, this can definitely be an option, though I prefer to vary up my routine, so it's not ideal. Still, it's good to have this to fall back on, if nothing else.
  • Option 4: Strength training instead of cardio. I prefer to do both, but if nothing else I can just do the strength training. In this case, I suspect my new strength training routine - or a specific piece of it - might have been the cause of these issues, so I don't think this is the best option.
  • Option 5: Various video games. I used to mix up bike riding with playing Wii Sports or Kinect games, and sometimes I still do that for variety, but it's tough to get my heart rate up without moving a lot, and the risk of further aggravating the injury is greater, due to the randomness of the movement. This is definitely a last resort.

I am fortunate to have lots of options, especially since the one thing I can't do is nothing, as that will negatively impact my mood, my sanity, and my chances at actually keeping up my routine.

Since today is typically a running day, I decided to see take stock of my options and see what would work best. Fortunately, uphill walking on the treadmill, combined with some light strength training, seems to have done the trick.  My injury was already feeling a bit better when I woke up this morning, and today's workout definitely made a noticeable difference. 

Hopefully I can get back to running by the end of the week or next week, but at least now I'm confident I can fill the gap until then, and won't potentially exacerbate the injury by forcing myself to run before my body is ready for it.

TL;DR - getting old sucks, 0/10, would not age again, but when a minor injury inevitably happens, just try to keep moving, in whatever ways you (safely) can.