There is Life After Running……Seriously!
“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” -- Helen Keller
This is my profound thought for today. We often, as runners, feel like our world is coming to an end when we can’t run due to an injury; or even worse, a permanent disability. This often happens in older runners due to knee issues or chronic back pain. Foot and ankle arthritis or a torn tendon can also cause a premature end to a running career.
Instead of looking at what we can’t do, we often need to rejoice in what we can. When I turned 40, I realized that I needed to start cross training so I wasn't beating the heck out of myself every day. I reinvented myself as a triathlete. I hadn't done any swimming seriously in over 20 years and couldn't remember the last time I was on a bike. I had always just run!
I had a goal: a sprint triathlon in 3 months! I made a list and borrowed a triathlete friend for a shopping trip to the cycling shop. A cute pink road bike later, I was on my way. A bathing suit, cap and goggles were procured and I jumped into the pool at the gym. Surprisingly, my swim form and bike balance were not all that bad. A conservative training program and lots of encouragement got me to my first triathlon. That was 2008. I have done many sprint and Olympic triathlons; 6 Half-Ironman and 2 full Ironman triathlons since then. I’m a stronger, but a slower runner now, but honestly my body feels way better.
Many of my patients have had the same type of result with cross training. Some have given up running for cycling due to an old injury or two. Yoga, pilates, cycling, circuit weight training, elliptical, swimming, and even Zumba can be fun diversions from a chronic ache.
The world does not end if we can’t run. Often its not a can’t run, but perhaps should run less often scenario for most people. Take it from me, find something fun that will get your heart rate up and sprinkle it into your running. Your body will thank you. Cross training, also known as relative rest, is not a death sentence but can be a door into a whole new you! Who knows, you may find yourself owning a pink bike!