Why I Quit Cross-Training
In general, I don’t like to talk about injuries. Because (cynical font):
Running injuries…blah, blah, blah. There is nothing new or interesting to say about injuries and the injury cycle…the first time someone gets injured they have a new perspective and feel like they are the first person to ever go through it. Just points to the lack of true empathy around. Runners start talking and eyes glaze over.
But, on reflection I'm going to refute cynical me. I know how much I’ve gained from Lauren’s writing on injury (search her entire Ask Lauren Fleshman site, but you can start with this piece here). I've got lots o' personal material. I’ve spent more time injured than healthy in my running life. (The 17 years from age 22 to 39 definitely account for a good chunk. That’s a reallllly long boring story involving a barium enema, exploratory laparoscopic surgery, 3 babies, and diaphragmatic ART).
And since returning to running in 2009, I’m probably at about 50% health-time. Why? I don’t know. I don’t over-train. I’m way more conservative about rest and recovery than most of my peers. I’ve had numerous excellent PT evals. I get body work (thanks Richelle!). I eat tendon jello. My athlete blood tests are fine. I lift and do core/ ancillary strengthening very religiously. No doubt my injury propensity involves some bio-mechanical factors, liking to sprint too much, age and something genetic with my soft tissue structure (always tendon/fascia issues…that come on silently and then take 6-9 months to heal, post-PRP).
So, I’m not here to talk about the boring specifics of my current injury, but something I’ve come to accept: I have a new attitude about cross-training. I'm not going to do it!
My definition of cross training is: doing a non-running activity with the sole purpose of maintaining cardiovascular fitness for when I can start back running. Cross training activities for me are: indoor elliptical, pool running, swimming (I am a terrible swimmer, have taken lessons but still feel like controlled drowning and I hate it), stationary biking.
Non-running activities I enjoy intrinsically and will do if I physically can: aggressive hiking, Elliptigo (if easily accessible and can get to uphill-only route), yoga (only if the right class aka Jasyoga), dancing, snowboarding, lifting. And I’m open to more! Maybe I should try rowing? Yep, I’m picky. But I’m almost 50 so I’m giving myself permission. And you know what? I’d rather be out of shape coming back to running than spend precious time and mental energy doing something I don’t enjoy.
Ahhhh! So liberating!
And actually, it’s probably a better idea for me that my CV fitness limits my return to activity, rather than always waiting around for my soft tissue to catch up to fitness (and risk more injury).
After my PRP injection a few days ago (hi, old friend!), I'm boot constrained and feeling a little sad. I haven't run since mid-July and probably won't until late January. Historically I'd become decently good at being injured: flipping the switch to “support person” for my run squad (extreme cowbelling/ schlepping), or when it got too intense just tuning out and focusing on other areas of my life (medicine, kids, living life). But that gets tricky now that I'm working at Oiselle. There’s no way to escape it! So instead I'm going to drag my punctured tendon and boot across the country for a love infusion from my team.
Then: progression with the goal of hitting the snowboard in early January. I'm going to fight to keep running, because I love it. I LOVE IT!!! Sally, I’ll be back for you some day, but you’re gonna have to go easy on me. I’m going to be really out of shape. And that's ok!