What I Learned from NOT Running

My Physical Therapist gave me clearance to try and run this weekend. The rules were:

1. Stop if it hurts at all

2. Make it a short run (preferably run/walk)

3. Pay attention to how it responds after

Well, this morning I was so excited for my first run in over a month! Last night I laid out my running gear and I was ready to do this.IMG_6219

But – once again the MD weather flipped me the bird. It is pouring outside :(IMG_6221

I was not going to be stopped from running today though.

So, I hit up the treadmill for 3 slow miles.

The good news: It didn’t hurt!!!

The bad news: It was hard. I feel like I lost a lot of fitness on my time off and it was a lot harder then I remember.

I am excited to build back up and get better. One of my main goals for this year is to get faster. Since I need to come back slowly from my injury AND I’ve lost stamina in my time off – that will be a very long road, but I’m glad to be back on it.

When I got back I was HUNGRY. I had some of this and then did my hip exercises.IMG_6229

Then, it was real breakfast time. I made my first successful omelet! Normally, my omelets just end up being egg scrambles because I’m not handy with a spatula.IMG_6223

Inside I stuffed it with mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes and Laughing Cow cheese.  I also put some cheese on the top – which made me realize I’ve been eating too much cheese. This is a result of living with a cheese lover (Ben). I’m going to evaluate this later.IMG_6225 After a long shower and some relaxing I ate an apple and am almost ready for lunch. What have I been doing with my day? I better be productive for a while so I can be lazy later :)IMG_6227

Running forward: Now that I can run again, doesn’t mean I can run like I used to. I am going to start back very slowly and pay attention to my knee.

I need to continue to do the hip exercises and incorporate more cross training into my plan. I think I am going to run 3 days a week for a month before I increase it to 4. But, I don’t think I’ll run more than 4 days a week for a very long time.

With my next half marathon and full I plan to train 3 to 4 days a week and either Spin or Swim or do Kickboxing for additional cardio. I also really have to incorporate more stretching and yoga!

But – training for a race is a little far off. Right now my runs will be 3 to 5 miles max. as I build back up.

I realize the importance of cross training and stretching more than ever. And this layoff introduced me to kickboxing, which is my obsession right now! I love it and don’t want to stop ever!! In that respect, this time off of running has been a blessing in disguise.

What I’ve learned from NOT running:

– I haven’t gained any weight while not running.  I still think losing a few pounds will help me run better and faster, but losing weight is about how much I eat NOT how much I run.

– I realize I love kickboxing and spinning can be fun too <3

– My hips are super tight and weak, so I really have to focus on this.

– I need to rest and fuel my body better.

– If I feel any type of injury coming on I will STOP and not push through it.

– Not running for six weeks isn’t the end of the world, it just sucks really really bad.

– I miss running more in pretty, cool weather; less in cold, windy weather. It killed me not to run in CA, but I didn’t mind dodging snowy sidewalks in MD.

– I am proud to be a runner, it’s part of what defines me. I felt very left out and lonely by not running even though I don’t run with anyone.


Question: Have you ever been “benched” due to an injury or illness? Did you learn anything positive from that experience??

(I really wanted to name this post: “I’m Back Bitches!”,  but decided against it reluctantly in the interest of SEO and readers who are offended by cussing. I want an extra point for today.)


  1. says

    I’m currently sidelined from both running and cycling because of my knee/IT band. I’m learning a lot more about my yoga practice, and really getting into strength training!

    Congrats on getting to run again :)

  2. says

    I was sidelined for 5 weeks for ITBS after my 1st half. I thought it was the end of the world! I cross trained like an animal and I actually came back FASTER and STRONGER then before I got hurt. Being injured taught me the importance of cross training and proper stretching.

  3. says

    I’m so glad you were able to run without pain this morning; you must be very relieved.
    I’ve been sidelined for a few weeks at a time for various issues and it’s hard to be still. I confess I’m not very good at taking off enough time, I usually get back to exercising too quickly. Sometimes I’m not very bright.

    I understand your weather woes. My daughter’s school is hosting a modified couch to 5k program for beginning runners who want to run in the school’s 5k in May. My daughter wanted to participate and they run rain or shine. So, this morning we were out in the rain. Can’t say I’m fond of cold, wet feet and shoes.

  4. says

    Mmmm girl that omlette looks sooo bueno! Want to come over and cook me one? 😉

    Love what you learned from not running- it’s great perspective we all need to keep in mind!

  5. says

    I have been having IT band issues for about 3 weeks now.. It all started when I finished my 7 mile training run 2 weeks before my 1/2 marathon. I ran with my IT problem last weekend at the Disney Princess Half Marathon.. I walked a lot of it and my time was horrible. I felt so frustrated because there was so much motivation at that race and I wasn’t tired but I physically could not run and it is hard not to run when people are cheering you on to run and you have to walk with all the slow people.. I don’t have health insurance so I cannot go to physical therapy so I think I just won’t be running for awhile.

    • says

      Mandi – I really think the rest from running helped more than the PT. I haven’t been able to do the hip strengthening video because my camera is tragic, but I’ll try to email you a description.

  6. says

    Glad your run went pain free!! That’s fantastic news.

    Oh boy have I learned a book-load from not running. Some highlights:

    – Skipping a day (or 300+ days) of running is not the end of the world. Now I know, when I get back into it that I don’t have to pound out miles day in and day out
    – A 3 mile run is worth it. I don’t have to run 6+ miles to make it count.
    – Appreciate every mile you can get
    – If you have pain, REST!!! I pushed through pain at first, and then when I finally “rested” from running, I still exerted myself through other exercise. I know this didn’t help my situation at all
    – It’s kind of nice to sleep in and not have to wake up at 5:30 to go on a run 😉

  7. Julia says

    Just wanted to recommend a training program that I’m planning to use to train for my first marathon in October. It’s apparently gotten people great results in terms of increasing their speed, and the main thing is that you don’t run more than three days a week EVER. And on your days off, you do either swimming or biking as non weight bearing cardio. It’s an amazing resource — I highly recommend it!


  8. says

    Hey! I’m a lurker, but not anymore!

    I’ve been ‘benched’ a few times but I’ve learned to follow that rule you stated: If it hurts, stop!!!

    When I feel ‘bad pain,’ I immediately turn to foam-rolling, icing, and cross training. If I catch things early and take a few days on the bike/elliptical/arc trainer/pool, I am back to speed (literally) within a few days. You can replicate all kinds of workouts on SOME type of machine.

    For example, the bike is great for intervals if you do them right and the elliptical/arc trainer are good for distance with a magazine.

    Watch out for the hips…weak hips –> ITBS and/or Runner’s Knee if you aren’t careful!!!

  9. Nicole says


    I just wanted to say I have read your blog for quite a few months and I never post but when i saw that omelette….hello 😛

    I have just hit my 5th week of no running due to a stress fracture in my fibula. Every time you said you wanted to run but would refrain due to making your injury worse, i knew i had to as well.

    Thanks for the support

  10. says

    bahah consider you one extra point richer :)

    glad your back. even though youve lost fitness i’m sure youll be back in full swing in no time!

  11. says

    I injured my achilles tendon and took time off, then started running again, felt awesome, planned to start marathon training with TNT, then started have troubles again. During my time off I failed to stay in shape with other forms of exercise and basically felt out of control and unhealthy. In retrospect, being benched by an injury definitely made me appreciate running more and I realized the importance of diversified exercise both because it helps strengthen other parts of your body and because it prevents you from a total melt down when you are injured and can’t focus all your energy on one thing!

    I had some physical therapy sessions but was frustrated because its expensive and didn’t really offer any ways to improve without continued treatment- I have the same problem of a weak hip that has undoubtedly contributed to extra stress on my achilles, but I was told unless I do treatment with the therapist I might end up strengthening the muscles that overcompensate for this problem.

    What has been your experience? What do you do to work on hip strength?

    • says

      Grace, I really need to put together a video of the hip exercises my PT gave me. They are all really simple and anyone can do them on their own without a PT. Let me work on this :)

  12. says

    I am so excited for you! As a fellow runner I know how hard its been for you. When I was at the peak of my running a few years back I had to go through a major foot surgery (which ended up surgery from hell and there was a 2nd surgery a year later). It was so hard.

    You sound like you’re taking a very smart approach easing into it.

    SO glad it didn’t bother you at all!!!!


  13. Krista says

    that’s awesome that you didn’t have any pain! congratulations, i bet that was a great feeling! :)

    I’ve never really been sidelined for an injury, but i’m about to face what i think will be even more tough….being physically able to run, but not being able to. this summer i’m going to be a volunteer in africa for 2 months and more than likely, won’t be able to run like i do now. it’s just tough because my life has revolved around running and i’m at the peak of my fitness right now. i know it will be mentally challenging, but i’m going to africa hoping that i can focus solely on the reason why i’m there in the first place, rather than focus on the fact that i’m not running!

    • says

      Krista, It’s amazing that you’re going to Africa! I have considered postponing travels and life because it would interfere with running – but living life fully should be the first priority :)

  14. Dynamics says

    I lost my hiking partner and really miss trying to get the better of that one mountain we have been working on. I feel lazy and out of shape now. I really think walking the mountains is a great workout for me. It is a shame society makes it unsafe to venture into the wilderness alone.

  15. says

    It’s great to hear that you ran pain free today!
    I took a 3 week break from running (started up again last week) as a preventative measure. My knees were hurting pretty bad so I decided I needed a break. So I’ve started up again only running on the read mill, not more than 4 miles (run/walk combo).

  16. says

    I feel your pain! Not being able to exercise is the most brutal thing ever. I had to have surgery 2 years ago and my doctor said I couldn’t swim for at least a week, maybe longer. It was pretty depressing. Now, I realize that a week or two is not the end of the world.

  17. Lauren says

    Congrats on your run! The first day back is always the hardest. Weather here in PA was similar to yours, I think–43 degrees, raining, windy… I went out and “ran” 8 miles in that (horrific, epic mistake). Next time it’s like this I’m hitting the treadmill. Congrats again!

  18. says

    Good job on taking care of yourself! I love your alternative title–I’m pro-cursing myself but curb it with the kids and other social situations. I have been side-lined over the years with ITB and recently my arthritic joint. I’ve noticed that I almost always have come back stronger.
    This rain here in DC is bumming me out–supposed to do a 10 or 11 miler tomorrow and hope it’s not a torrential downpour!
    What I’ve learned from having to take a running break? That I absolutely love having it in my life and rest breaks won’t kill me–it will make me a better runner!

  19. says

    I had to take all of January off after fracturing my ankle on Christmas Eve. It wasn’t any fun, but I did learn to just be PATIENT and not try to test the injury. I made myself sit out perhaps a little longer than absolutely necessary, but I’ve had zero pain since I started up again, so it was worth it.

  20. says

    “I’m back bitches!” would have been fantastic. You get a handful of points from me. I would have LOLed at that title.

    I’m glad you were able to run again. It sucks that it was raining! Figures huh?

    I have a feeling I am going to have to take a break from running soon (even though I just started!) because my knee is giving me hell. It really sucks. But reading your post gives me hope.

  21. Jonathan says

    I have not been able to run in about two months because i developed a rare blood clot disorder that has affected my toes. This sucks and that is putting it nicely. I hope you recover and become a speed demon from hell!!!

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