What Should I Focus on When I Return to Running?



Dumb Runner,
I’ve been running for several years but had to stop for a while due to injury. I’m not fast enough to qualify for Boston, I wear a fuel belt for 5Ks, I hate weight training but love treadmills, and I have
a raging case of plantar fasciitis. Is there hope for me? What should I focus on when I return to running?—Julie, Chesterfield, Missouri

Hi Julie,

Of course there is hope for you, and I'll use your own words to make my case...

  • You say you've been running for several years, which tells me you (a.) have a good, solid base of fitness and (b.) obviously love to run, both of which will work in your favor as you make your comeback.

  • You say, bluntly, that you're not fast enough to qualify for Boston, which tells me you're honest with yourself and a pragmatist in your approach to training, both good things.

  • You say you wear a fuel belt for 5Ks. The fact that you mention this at all suggests that you know some folks might look askance at that—and you do it anyway, which means you don't give a fig what other people think, which is a tremendously healthy attitude.

  • You say you hate weight training, which tells me you're a normal human being, but love the treadmill, which tells me you're also a little crazy. In my experience, the most successful runners are normal but also a little crazy.

  • Finally, the fact that you're already thinking about your return to running—pending your recovery—is a positive sign. Thinking ahead is good!

This all might sound tongue in cheek, but I'm absolutely serious.

When you're sure your injury is healed, my only advice would be to ease back into things very gradually (and ease back off at the first sign of a flare-up) and to focus on things like fun and gratitude. Really. Injuries suck, but if they have a silver lining it's the way they can make us appreciate just how fun running can be, and how lucky we are to be able to do it.

Thanks for your note, and best wishes for a full recovery!

Yours Truly,

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