At some point during fall semester my knee started to hurt after runs. I would switch to the elliptical for the next few days, then try running again. I continued this pattern all semester and my knee never healed. In fact, it got increasingly worse. But I couldn’t bear the idea of not working out, I’d rather work through the pain. I was being stubborn, and I was also being a perfectionist. I didn’t want to be injured, I wanted to become a runner. I wanted to be like the girls on some of the blogs I read (i.e. Healthy Tipping Point’s Caitlin) who can run 5 Ks, half marathons, marathons. But there’s only so much persistent pain you can go through before enough is enough. The last time I did cardio was the day my dad passed away. I went to the gym to blow off some steam. I stayed out of the gym for the rest of the week because I was so busy with family stuff. Then my gym membership ran out. But since coming back on campus last week, I can use the campus gym.
Last year, if I was still my obsessive, self-destructive self I would have jumped right back onto the elliptical the second I got back to school and continued to do damage to my knee. I would have said to myself that I had to do cardio or else I’d gain weight unless I was always eating minimally. This year, with my new outlook, I am giving myself a break. I am taking at least two months off from cardio. So I will not start cardio again until March 12th. It feels like such a long time, but it’s what I have to do. I’ve been working out on an injured knee for at least three months.. it needs a few months to heal. I’m buckling down and doing what’s ultimately best for my body.
I also don’t plan on jumping right back into my old cardio routine on March 12th. I pride myself on being pretty kick-butt in the gym, but with an injury, it doesn’t matter how awesome you were.. you have to pull yourself back a bit to avoid further problems. I don’t plan on running right away. Instead I plan on starting on the elliptical for only 20 min, then going up to 30 min after a week or two, then 40 minutes. After that I’ll try running, starting at only 2 miles, then 3, then 4. I’ve never been a fan of taking baby steps to achieve my goals, I’m more take-charge than that, but I wanna do this right.
Here’s how I’m trying to stay positive about my two month cardio break:
- I’m still going to the gym, but putting my focus on strength training and yoga instead of cardio. I’m learning to absolutely love strength training (makes me feel so sexy!) and I’m working towards seeing more muscle definition in my body. I’m really looking forward to the results I’ll get from weight training four times a week.
- I remind myself that I get a lot of low-intensity cardio outside of the gym. I look at my waitressing shifts as work outs. I walk everywhere at school, probably miles each day. I still have a relatively active lifestyle being a college student, with or without daily cardio sessions.
- I focus on how great my work outs will be after my knee heals. Maybe I’ll be able to increase my average running mileage. If running never works out for me, maybe I’ll use this as an opportunity to try new cardio, like making spin class a regular part of my routine.
- I smile because taking this break (which is 100% self-prescribed) is yet another example of how far I’ve come.
Have you faced an injury before? Did it upset you? Did you take it as a challenge? Do you think that negative food thoughts and exercise thoughts are related? If so, when you improve one do you improve the other?
Let me know.
See ya later, ladies.