The Injury Commandments

While it’s not something I’m exactly proud of, if there’s one thing I’ve become well-versed in this past year and a half, it’s been dealing with injury. And not because I’m the master of recovering and returning to sport in record time, but because I failed hardcore at it. I screwed up injury recovery in pretty much every way possible, and I paid for that. I’ve spent a lot of time this past year writing about the mental side of injury, yet haven’t touched much on the nitty-gritty of rehab and rebuilding, for two main reasons:

(1) I made a lot of really foolish mistakes
(2) I’ve been afraid of jinxing myself (seriously, I’m superstitious like that)

Yet, like with all the writing I do, I always hope that my blunders, screw-ups and errors can hopefully help someone else, so I figured it was time to nut up and admit all the things I did wrong, the (few) things I did right, and the things I wish I had done differently (#nojinxnojinxjnojinx).

DISCLAIMER BECAUSE I’M AN ATTORNEY AND REALIZE THAT THESE DISCLAIMERS DON’T WORK ANYWAY: Please realize that this list is personal to me and based on my experience. I’mnot a doctor, nor do I play one on a 30-minute sitcom (though I always liked to think that Elliot from “Scrubs” was my soulmate). These are simply things that worked for me: take what you want, and leave the rest.

(1) Be careful with cross-training

The minute an athlete receives a diagnosis from their doctor or physical therapist, the next question is always “ok, but what CAN I do?” (Bike? Swim? Aquajog? Errr…“deep water run”). It’s natural. We are endorphin junkies, and we are afraid of losing our fitness.

Built in crutch-holders…safe Amelia, real safe

I did it. I fractured my femur, and the next day, I was in the pool, swimming with a pull buoy between my legs for as long as my bored mind could take staring at the line on the pool floor through my tears. I started Assault-biking with one-leg and arms only and ski-erging sitting down (which I did for sometimes an hour-plus, every day). I did sets of pull-ups until failure and push-ups on one leg. I clung to fitness in every way possible. And it worked. When I came off of crutches from the femur, I was rearing to go: my fitness was there, but my muscles, tendons, and bones were not ready for the impact yet. And within 3 weeks, I was down again with a second stress fracture – this time in the sacrum.

With the sacral stress fracture, I tried a different approach on the advice of Mario Fraioli, who was kind enough to speak to me about his experiences with multiple sacral stress fractures.  Guess what he recommended?

My unpopular opinion: aqua jogging is BS.

No cross-training. Rest. Completely.

I instantly balked, but I saw the rationale: while cross-training may help your mind, when done to an extreme like we obsessive compulsive athletes are prone to do, it can actually create more issues and imbalances in your body.

It’s for this reason that I see more and more doctors (and more and more professional athletes) following a progression similar to this after an injury (specifically, a bone injury):

For a month after the initial injury, nothing. Complete rest. From there, start light cross-training (swimming, biking, etc., depending on injury). But that first few weeks of complete rest at the outset of the injury is SO crucial to jumpstart the healing process. I wish I done that the first go-round, and it’s a model I’m seeing more and more professional athletes follow. Sure, you may lose a few points off your aerobic fitness in those few weeks, but it will come back, I promise.

Two things, however, that I wish I had done but didn’t. First, keep up with your mobility (within safe boundaries). When you have a major injury, your body is going to learn new compensatory behaviors, and those are hard to break. For me, I spent 4 months on crutches hopping on one leg with the femoral stress fracture, yet I never considered the ill-effects that could have on me. Second, keep up with all the body care/soft tissue work. I told myself that I didn’t need body work because I wasn’t training, whereas the opposite was true. That down period was my time to take care of long-standing issues and soft tissue adhesions that were causing problems. Further, when your body is protecting an injury, your other muscles clamp down and compensate to protect it, leading to even more imbalances and restrictions. Yet because I felt like I wasn’t training, I didn’t feel “deserving” of massages or other work. Bullshit. Injury is the time to take care of all of those full-body imbalances. Use that time.

(2) Eat. More.

This one is counterinituitive. When you go from 100 mile weeks to…nothing, the temptation as an athlete is to cut way back on intake because you are no longer putting in long training days. We all fear weight gain with injury. What I wish I had known, and what I wish I had realized, is that it’s greatly beneficial to actually gain a bit of fat and weight during injury. My coach, David Roche, uses the term “get squishy” – not only can the extra food and weight help with healing, but it also helps reset adrenalines and hormones that are probably beaten down from months and years of hard training. Use injury as a reset.

Stuff your face like you are mid-100k race

I did not do this. In fact, I actually lost weight during injury because of my inability to use my legs (and later, my upper body). I’ve always built muscle really quickly in my legs, and it came off just as quickly. With the sacral stress fracture, I had to stop lifting anything heavier than a box of Pop-Tarts, so my upper body atrophied as well. I should have welcomed some extra fat, but instead, I just…withered.

Therefore, in rebuilding, I also had to be conscious to gain weight while starting training again. And I’vesuccessfully put back on the weight, but it’s a difficult balance where I have to be limited in miles and training because of my history of bone injuries and track my weight to make sure I’m eating enough to gain while increasing training and mileage. Had I adhered to Operation Get Squishy, this would not have been an issue. Even before injury, I had hovered close to single digits in body fat, but I now realize that, especially for a female athlete, staying that lean, while socially applauded (insert eye roll and a whole different can of worms I’ll open some other time) only increases my propensity for bone injuries. With a bit of extra “trail padding,” injury risks substantially decreased.

So…embrace the squish during injury: it’s necessary for healing and durability.

(3) Placebo can be a wonderful thing…for your mind

There’s a feeling of helplessness that’s associated with injury. Your body will heal on its own timeframe, and, as much as you will it to heal faster, in reality, there’s probably very little you can do that will actually move the needle.

That, however, did not stop me from trying. I tend to throw everything at my injuries: you name it, I’ve tried it (lasers, bone stimulators, e-stim, acupuncture, dry needling, magnets, herbs, poultices, the list goes on). Did any of them actually help speed the physiological process of healing? Probably not. Did any of them help the psychological process of healing? You betcha. With a long-term injury, it’s easy to lose hope. Treatments, whether they be placebo or not,can give you that sense of hope. And in a situation where you can start to feel very stagnant and helpless, being proactive can do wonders for you mentally.

(4) Start up slow. No, even slower than that.

I finally got the a-ok to run after a clean MRI in December, and I plotted carefully the return (after failing miserably at “return to running” after the femur) with my coach, David Roche. After being off from running and any type of impact for 9+ months, we had to treat me like a new runner.

Holy shit, it sucked. The first glorious run back? 1 mile. Run 400m around a track at a 10 minute pace or slower. Walk 200. Repeat til I hit a mile.

And then, a rest day…you’re kidding right?

No, no I’m not. For the first few weeks, runs were 1-2 miles, every 3rd day, then every other day. Paces were no faster than a 9:30min/mile. As coach reminded me, we are not “running,” we are getting the body used to impact again. Getting used to pounding. Getting the muscles and tendons and bones to strengthen and respond.

Mid pre-dawn 3 miler

These runs weren’t glamorous. There were no epic scenery shots, no mountain summits. Most were done pre-sunrises, around a 1/3mile dirt track, barely breaking a sweat. But I had to trust the process.

It was maddeningly slow. And still, 7 months out, rebuilding still feels like a slow and never-ending process. But whenever I start to doubt progress, I take a look back through my training logs, and remember that it’s always about baby steps. The end of January, I was running 10-15 miles a week at a 9-10 minute/mile pace. Mid-April, I was hovering around 30mpw. And just the other week in August, I hit 60 miles for a week for the first time, including 10,000 feet of climbing. Building a base takes time, and the temptation to rush right in is overwhelming, especially if you are feeling good. But for me, that’s the beauty of a coach. I don’t need a coach to push me harder – I need a coach to rein me in.

(Side note: if you are interested in seeing my training logs in how I came back to running, let me know. Happy to share. UPDATE: I’ve received a lot of requests, and I realized I should have probably actually compiled them first…whoops! I will work on that and then find a way to share – thanks for your patience!))

(5) Compensation is a Bitch

The great thing about bones and muscles and tendons is that they heal. The bad thing about the healing process is that you (mostly unconsciously) learn new movement patterns during convalescence to protect that injury.

Example 1: Being an Idiot. When sentenced to crutches for the femur, I didn’t exactly take it easy. I crutched up and down a mountain. I crutched all over Western States (8 miles that day!), and I crutched everywhere I could “for exercise.” So no wonder, after being on crutches for 4+ months, I dealt with some serious imbalances (hello left calf twice the size of the right!). When I flung the crutches aside, I didn’t account for how the left side of my body had been bearing the brunt of forces for the last 4 months, hopping on one leg. And worse, I did nothing to try and unravel that. Needless to say, within 3 weeks of being back on two feet, I was hit with the sacral stress fracture. Guess where? The left side. Funny how that works.

Example 2: Protective Mechanisms from Fear. With the sacral stress fracture, I was pretty much scared to twist/turn/lift – pretty much do anything that involved my back. If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of a breaking your back, or a ruptured disc, or ANY type of back injury, you know how debilitating they can be, because EVERY movement involves your back. In an unconscious effort to protect that bone, everything else clamped down around it. Tight muscles impinged on nerve roots, causing radiculopathy down my sciatic nerve and my entire leg. When I finally started to move again, I had developed unconscious patterns of protecting my back, and the sciatica and nerve issues continued well past the healing of the sacrum itself. Cognizant of not doing what I did with Example 1, I spent months in physical therapy, focusing on unwinding those protective mechanisms.

So how do you combat compensation? Once again, with two dreaded four-letter words: “rest” and “time.” Rest during the injury healing period to prevent yourself from developing new compensatory patterns (no crutching marathons!). And time to rebuild the trust in your body, and to break the habits.

(6) Focus on strength first

This one is mainly directed towards runners: what’s the first thing you are itching to do when you get the all-clear from the doc?

Run. Obviously.

It’s exactly what I did, for two reasons: (1) I love running for the sake of running, and I hadn’t been able to do it for 9+ months; and (2) honestly, I was scared of strength work. It’s rather embarrassing to admit this, especially coming from a girl whose main training for obstacle racing for many years was CrossFit. But for whatever reason, the thought of squats/deadlifts, or hell – ANY type of weighted movement – was terrifying to me, while running (the thing that arguably injured me in the first place) was not.

So I started running, and soon realized that simultaneously starting a (1) return to running program and (2) a strength-building weight training program was, well, a bit difficult.

What would have been smarter? Start with strength. When I was cleared for impact, ideally I should have started with squats, deadlifts, and plyometrics – the basics of a strength program. (Side note: I ALWAYS did my PT exercises, but those have been mainly unweighted and, well…PT movements…). And after getting comfortable with those and rebuilding that strength, then focused on running and impact.

PT is great, but I needed weight (both on my body and lifting)

6+ months out from the final negative MRI, I’m still struggling to find a balance between it all – I’m still well-aware that both my upper and lower body strength has not returned to pre-injury levels. Would it have come back quicker had I not jumped immediately into running? I can’t say for sure, but I think it would have been wiser.

(7) Things aren’t going to feel right: Expect phantom pains and freak-outs that you’ve reinjured yourself

This is a tough one. When you first start back to training (and especially running), after many months off, you are bound to be hyperaware of every ache and pain. This is especially true if you are coming off of stress fractures. For me, ANY pain that I would get near either my sacrum or my femur instantaneously flung me back into a fear of another stress fracture.

The mind-body pain connection endlessly fascinates me, and it’s been increasingly evident to me in rebuilding from injury. I joke that the quickest way to get over an injury is to make something else hurt worse, but I firmly believe it’s true. You can really only feel pain in one place, and if your mind is hyperaware of a previous injury, you are going to channel ANY pain remotely close to the area into that one spot. It’s beyond frustrating, because all anyone ever tells you to do is “listen to your body,” but when you go from being a person who feels NO pain at all to all of a sudden feeling EVERY pain possible, it’s difficult to know what to trust.

In these past 6 months, I’ve spent MANY of days in tears and frustration that I’ve reinjured myself (something more than just a minor niggle requiring a few days off). People had warned me about phantom pains and I pushed them aside, thinking I’m smarter than that.

Real talk: nope, that shit is real.

I will sometimes be running and have a sudden flash of what I think is pain through the sacrum, and then it will disappear. Or through the femur as I’m going down a steep descent. Is it in my head, or is it real? Honestly, I don’t know. But if it’s momentary and then settles, then I feel ok going on. The fact that they both seem to flare up before races also indicates a lot is in the brain.

Err on the side of rest


So how have I worked through this? Honestly, not well, but the number one thing I’ve found that helps is to log EVERY niggle and ache and pain during training. And if a niggle continues on for more than a few runs, I adjust and address it (often in the form of taking an extra prophylactic rest day or two). You won’t lose fitness from a few extra days of rest or cross-training, but you can nip niggles before they become nags before they become “break yo’ effin’ bones.”

(8) There’s no such thing as a straight line

Rebuilding is going to be a maddeningly frustrating process of two steps forward, one step back (hell, sometimes it’s one step forward, three steps back). And there’s going to be a bunch of stop and starts. Since I was cleared to return to running ~8months ago, I’ve had at least 5 stints where I had to take anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks off from running to address little injuries (fondly referred to as “niggles”) that popped up along the way. Each time, I would be thrown back into a pit of despair that I was once again broken for the long-term, that I was going to perpetually be THAT “injured girl,” and that what little fitness I had built was now wasting away.

Some starts and stops with various foot freak outs and niggles

And it’s even tougher to look around at social media and at other athletes and think “hell, they NEVER get injured” or “they never seem to miss a day” (aside from a planned rest day!)…ergo “WTF IS WRONG WITH ME.” Whether or not it’s true, I’ve chosen to tell myself that hey – EVERY athlete has to take a few days off here and there to “get things right.” And in rebuilding, it’s probably going to be even more than normal. There is no straight line – just a messy, twisted, muddled path that we are all trying to figure out. Just remember that unplanned rest days and short breaks are part of the plan, after all.

(9) Patience, young grasshopper

I’ve been running and training consistently, with some hiccups, for a good 6 months now. And I’m itching to get lost in the woods for hours every day and run ultras again, but I know that I still have to be cautious given my (now) history of bone stress injuries.  Honestly, sometimes it gets to the point where I feel like a caged animal, and I just want to be let loose.

I see so many folks around me ramping up mileage quicker than I did, or crushing ultras on just a few months training. And my mind will immediately go to comparison: “why do THEY get to do x, y, and z?” “Why am I still struggling feeling out of pace and dealing with niggles and the never-ending ups and downs?” “When can I run for hours (or days) at a time again?”

But I have to remember that it took years of consistent training (which I was fortunate to have!) to build a base, and it may take close to that long to do it again. And while I had grandiose plans for 2017 of world domination, I’ve come to a place where I’ve accepted that 2017 is still going to be a rebuilding year, and that the first thing that has to be set aside is the ego.

So I’ll bide my time. I’ll celebrate the little victories. I’ll avoid comparisons. And I’ll love the process.

(10) The only way to overcome your fears is to face them

At some point, you will get back to racing. And you will get back to doing the things you did that (potentially) caused the injury in the first place. Your first time facing that is going to be beyond nerve-wracking. I’ll give you two examples.

Because of the sacral stress fracture, I feared pulling any type of weights from the ground. I feared deadlifts. I feared holding weight over long distances. So here’s something I’d never thought I’d say, and I’m embarrassed to admit: I was scared of a tire. The thought of reaching down to the ground to flip a 200lb tire sent phantom pains flashing through my lower back, through my previously broken sacrum.

And it’s not just the tire. I was scared of a bucket carry – of 60lbs of rocks up a mountain. How ironic is that? My very favorite obstacle, the one that I have become known for, was the one that has prevented me, along with said tire, from returning to run a Spartan Race.

That bucket scared me. But each time, it gets easier.

Or, let’s take the case of the femurs: one of the many contributing factors to my femur fracture was the amount of steep descents I was doing (in preparation for Western States, I told myself). So my coach (#SWAP4LYFE) and I have been limited my descending in these past few months because of the toll it takes on your bones and the impact forces it puts through your femur.

But to return to obstacle racing, I had to face both of those fears. In Monterey, I learned that I could flip a tire without breaking my back. In Palmerton, I learned that I could go run down steep descents without fracturing my femur.

It’s a process of learning to trust your body again. You have to face that fear, to push that boundary, and realize – hey, I’m not broken. Hey, my body still knows what to do. And the only way to get there is through time and repetition.

I’m not there yet. I still have a long way to go to trust my body again. Rehab, recovery, and rebuilding is a fine dance of pushing the boundaries, of testing the limits, and then learning when to pull back. But I know now that sometimes you have to take that risk, and to face down that demon, to learn that you can come out the other side.

Finally, find what works for YOU, and ignore how others did it

Now that I’ve bored you for 3000 words plus, I’ll tell you to ignore all of it and do your own thing.

Kidding. Kind of.

Recovery from injury is a highly-individualized process. No two people are going to have the same exact injury or the same root cause of the injury, so no two rehab and recovery plans should be alike. I spent a year getting caught up the depths of Google, figuring out how other people rehabbed, and berating myself for not coming back as quickly as others or for not following their exact protocol. Time and time again, I had to force myself to step back and acknowledge that I am a different person, with a different set of injuries and contributing factors and root causes, so one person’s plan may not work for me. All you can hope to do is take helpful nuggets that you can use, and leave the ones that you can’t.

Here’s to health, happiness, and the ever-constant pursuit of a pain-free run 🙂


44 thoughts on “The Injury Commandments”

  1. Awesome read. I also have a current injury that I am going through which is preventing me from running. It only creeps up when i start running couple miles and obviously gets worse. I was wondering if you can share your training logs that you used to get back to running. Thanks! Kunal

    1. I’ll gather it all together (ha, probably should have done that first) and figure out a way to share with folks. Thanks for reading!

  2. Love the honesty in your story, it’s inspiring to know that even the very best suffer with the same insecurities and challenges as us ‘normo’s’ do.

    I would love to see your training logs for you return from injury if you are willing to share them. I’ve had 18 months of recurring injury and am really trying to come back to running the right way this time.

    1. I’ll gather it all together (ha, probably should have done that first) and figure out a way to share with folks. Thanks for reading!

  3. Love reading your posts. I’ve been injured for 1.5 years now with “back injury” that no one can diagnose yet, so no direction for PT etc. Everything you say is true – and so frustrating. Glad to know I’m not the only one in tears often thinking I’m going backwards. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  4. Thank you for sharing. This has been very motivating and also shed a few years because I am currently struggling with a foot injury after a 50K in April. It just sucks and I have been in the down low for weeks now. This was very refreshing to reaf and greatly appreciate every word. I would love to share this with my college XC athletes who also deal with injuries and pressures to get back to running as quickly as possible.

    Could you also share with me your training log from injury. I would love to see what you did because we havr a similar training plan at Pomona College for athletes returning from broken/fractured bones.

    Thank you again, and if at any time you are available for a chat with my team they would love it. They highly admire your work ethic and follow you closely. Again, I coach at Pomona College for both Pomona and Pitzer Colleges.

    Thank you again

    1. Thanks for reading! I’m getting a bunch of requests, so I’ll figure out the best way to consolidate and share with folks. And if I’m down in the LA area, I’d love to!!

  5. I fractured the talus bone in my left foot back in May and maybe took one week of rest. It’s such a relief to hear an elite athlete have the same thoughts and mindset as to recovery procedures. Mine isn’t as serious as your femur, but I’ve been doing everything at Crossfit one legged and pushed through the pain. It has only made my recover take that much longer. I still can’t run. If I would have rested as the doctors said, I would probably have been back to trail running by now. Thanks so much for sharing your experience recovering from injury!

  6. Well said! Good read. Sorta in the same boat with rotator cuff surgery I had on 1/6/17 and gaining weight, getting no sleep and trying to figure out what I can and can’t do. I am still struggling at the gym 7 months out and can’t seem to drop the 20 lbs. I want but I guess I suck at the eating part. Now my other shoulder is torn and I struggle what I can do for exercises at the gym to not re-injure the repaired one and further damage the other one. Trying to put off this hell of getting that one done for 1 to 2 years down the road (plus I need to build back up my sick time) for what it does to me and the wife (hate to put all the physical work around the house on her – she’s got her own ailments). Not looking forward to it again (8 weeks on the couch). I DO NOT sit well as I am very active and I am sorta hooked on these OCR’s. Even though I am not a spring chicken (58) I did 2 my first year, 3 my second year and 4 last year. I think I am well enough to know what I can and can’t do as I’ll be 80% healed by September I am running Rugged Maniac in MA with my grandson and I’m a bit scared (I will skip obstacles that I know could hurt me – no penalties). Haven’t dropped the weight I wanted and I know lighter is better. I have beat myself in the gym cardio wise as I can’t do much strength training and I really don’t know what I can do strength training to not make the damaged one worse faster. How’s that for a long winded reply? Lol Any help you could give would be great and I have faith in you!! Much love & respect, Mike

  7. Thank you so much for sharing! As someone who is currently in the first few weeks of returning to running after my own femoral stress fracture, I found your post incredibly interesting. You mentioned that you would be willing to share your training logs from your initial return to running – I would LOVE to see those if you could send them to me! (I’m assuming you can see my email from my post as an admin? If not, let me know and I’ll send it another way.)

    Thank you!

    1. Happy that you are back to running! I’ll gather it all together (ha, probably should have done that first) and figure out a way to share with folks. Thanks for reading!

  8. Thanks for sharing Amelia. My wife’s dealing with a stress fracture in her femur right now and feeling everything you’ve written about. I believe this will ease her feelings just a little😊 She’s still a caged lion like you were wanting to get back at it. She took her 1st podium last year in Masters and Boom 💥 this happened. She’s 53 so I’m sure there’s a ” feel like time is running out” feel to it. Thanks again for sharing your story Amelia and happy racing again.

  9. Ive followed Amelia Boone for awhile…but this seems directed AT me! Im 3 long months into healing a bad high hamstring tear and glute tear, and then I got MRI results 2 days ago,and find out I have a bad rotator cuff tear that needs surgery to repair.
    Yes…compensated for no running and being on crutches by doing more upper body, and just pushing myself every day.
    This blog may just help me over the next few hard months. Being 56, and a very active athlete makes “rest ” difficult. Here’s to more time in my hammock😊😓

  10. THIS! A million times THIS! I’m just getting over a knee injury and everything you said about re-balancing and overcompensation is spot-on true. I’m back to running again (a few miles a week) and every time I feel the littlest tweak in my knee it sends waves of fear through me. Slowly, but surely I’ll get back to base, but for right now I know that slow and steady is the key to recovery.

  11. I really appreciate hearing your experience. I’m starting a long recovery (I’m hoping it’s just a matter of months, but it could be anywhere up to 2 years) from blood clots in my lungs, so reading about what you went through and the lessons you learned is really helpful. Thanks, girl!

  12. This helped me loads to deal(mentally) with my own year out from injury . Thanks and best of luck to the remainder of your year 🙂 !!

  13. Thanks for sharing and continued luck to you on your road to 100% recovery. Great read. I would love a copy of your training logs.

    Thank you again.

  14. Thank you for writing this! I’m in week 10 of healing/re injuring/rehealing multiple tears from my hamstring all the way down to my Achilles in my left leg. I’ve gone from trying to get back to training where I left off before my injury (such a bad idea!), doing it waaay too soon, to re injury, to feeling like the “hopeless perpetually injured”. I was just saying today how I was shocked at the immense fear that a 4 foot wall was able to instill in me at the Hawaii Spartan Super just 8 weeks after my initial injury. Reading this has helped me come to terms with the fact that my new squish is okay, that it’s OK to take the time to heal, that going backwards in physical ability & training is OK & temporary & the fear is natural but doesn’t have to remain.

  15. This helps so much. Thanks for sharing. I am 8 weeks into a middle 1/3 stress fracture/femur. It’s awful, and scary as hell. I look forward to reviewing your training notes. After my 16 weeks in crutches and barely moving I’m more than ready to at least have an idea of where to begin again.

  16. Ugh, hated every word of this. Because I see myself and know it’s true. Broke 4 bones in spine 3 weeks ago at Asheville Super and loathing the rest and the crap that creeps into your brain while recovering. Even now I sit with my coffee at 4 am trying to plan a tolerable workout this morning. Thanks for sharing your experience. And the reality check.

    1. Holy crap! So sorry to hear about your injury, and speedy healing. I know it seems like a never-ending process, but you WILL heal, I promise.

  17. Glad to see you on the Right path of recovery.
    You are one of the 1st Spartans that I ever rooted for & been cheering for you ever since!
    Great article! It actually hit home for me. I’m quite a bit older than you & just started running Spartans last year. Needless to say, injury.. surgery… recovery/PT, back to training.. and having the “niggles” as you call them. Haha.. I’ll try some of your wisdom. In the mean time Safe running!

  18. JUST YES! You and I are on the same recovery path… we stress fractured the same weekend… and got re-injured almost the same time for the SAME reasons! The difference is.. you are amazing at putting it into words and I am not! Thank you for being my voice 😉

  19. I am an elite OCRer 5 weeks in to recovering from a fractured foot. So much of your article spoke to me including jumping back to training the day after the diagnosis and the fear of losing the fitness level I have worked so hard to build. Rest has been so hard for me to do even thought I know how beneficial it is during this stage. I anticipate to reread your article several times over the next few weeks as a reminder that is a process that needs to be embraced with compassion to our bodies.

  20. Amazing read Amelia & thank you so much for sharing. Incredible insight to what you have and still are going through.
    Stumbled across an interview with you and GR & have been a fan ever since.

  21. Thank you many times over; this really resonated with me. I got bit hard by the MUT bug this year and ran my first 50k in June after dealing with lots of minor injuries since February. Surprise- I effed up my knee and had to take two months off! Now I’ve injured my foot after just a few weeks back to running. Hearing about your mileage starting out was really useful, made me realize that starting with even 3 mile runs was probably too much. Best of luck with the rebuilding process, thank you again for sharing!

  22. Such a brilliant post!! Recently injured myself embarking on a 100km running challenge, which resulted in me facing rest from running on Doctor’s orders. The frustration is real, but if you get recovery right (by following your commandments ;)) it teaches valuable lessons. Would love to hear your feedback on a blog post I wrote on a similar topic – – thanks and hope you heal strong!

  23. I’m recovering from broken ribs, been a month out (so far) and readi g this has come just at the right time. Thank you.

    Would live to read the logs too if possible?


  24. I wish I’d read this before this past OCR season. I seemed to have followed your path from just a few months behind and I’m paying the price BIG time now!

  25. This was EXACTLY what I needed to read right now. I had big plans for 2017 as well, but I too had to chalk it up to a”rebuilding” year. For me, running equals life. I never had really any issues with injury, until I became an RN on a cardiothoracic step down unit. It’s intense and physically demanding…a marathon of a different sort! By my second year, maintaining my daily 8-10 mile runs on top of 13+ hour days on my unit, was becoming problematic. Like you, I don’t seem to register pain. I would go unless I literally could not. It started out as posterior tibialis tendinitis. I overpronate due to my bone structure, and all the standing for long hours killed me. I kept pushing. I managed to get 4th female in the Cleveland half marathon. I was at my peak as a runner. But I didn’t allow for rest. Ever. 4 months later my overused tendon landed me with a heel fracture. I went from being the best runner of my life, to not even being able to walk. My life was over!! Haha. I was literally you in this blog. Doing crazy cross training. Luckily, I found an amazing physical therapist. One all about returning to your sport as an even better athlete. Getting back to impact is no joke, like you said. The break was spring 2015. I’ve only been able to do one half marathon since, last fall 2016. Only 4 minutes slower than my PR before the break!! This year I had big plans, but it’s like you say…phantom pains right as a race approaches. But are they phantom? It’s so frustrating! I watched all my races pass this year…but now I’m really upset with myself. Then again, I know I’ve got to be more careful than the average person. I’m not my guy friend, who can run endless 6 minute miles…so jealous! You hit on a lot of mental barriers I’ve been dealing with. No one gets me. I’ve got no one who relates. My family thinks it’s easy…just don’t race. They don’t understand!! But I feel so much better now! Thank you! It’s a recovery year. I’ve built so much strength hitting the weights. I’m way more fit than before my injury. I’ve learned a lot these two years. Next year though, I’ll be race ready again. This was a good reminder of how far I’ve actually come. Stay the course, but stay smart! You are so inspirational for me. Thank you!!

    1. thank you for reading and thank you for sharing. It helps sometimes just to know that we aren’t alone. Best to you!

  26. Any update on sharing your training logs? Perhaps I missed it, but I didn’t see them published. I’ve been battling overuse injuries for the past year and have struggled tremendously with taking it slow (which, of course, has resulted in new injuries). I would love to see your progression as a positive example. Thanks for sharing!

  27. I wish I listened to this myself. Fractured my tibia on a bouldering fall. After four months on crutches, I immediately started climbing and having fun. I Immediately got plantar fasciitis on both feet. That should have been enough for me to listen. Nope, started doing house projects and lifted something heavy with my weak-side arm. I Immediately ripped the tendons in my elbow. That should have been enough for me to slow down. Nope, I started playing a few rounds of tennis and I competely ruptured my achilles tendon. I’m back on crutches for another four months. Now, my elbow tendons won’t heal because I keep aggrivating them when I’m on the crutches. Once I’m walking again, my Dr says that I will need a few months for my tendons to finally recover. I suck.

  28. I find it interesting that you “lost weight” while resting and eating more. I have been down 3 weeks with bicep tendonitis and I have gained 5 pounds even though I have been running, biking and using a kickboard for pool work. I never realized how much upper body work I was doing until I could not do pushups, pull ups, etc.

    You are amazing. I just watched the Blue Mountain Spartan Race and saw you mention your injury, which is the reason I found you blog.

    I wish the very best and hope you remain injury free.

  29. Amelia,

    Love all of this, thanks for sharing. I study sport psychology, and recently re-herniated my L5-S1 disc causing it to press on my nerve root. I work in a PT clinic and tried PT, pilates and other stuff, but I’m lucky that I trusted myself and stopped EVERYTHING. I do nothing, and my inflammation has gone down some to bring me out of such extreme pain. Our bodies are amazing, and do want to heal, but most of the healing really needs to occur in the mind. Best wishes on your recovery. 🙂

  30. I am so late to reading this, but after listening to your podcast (Marathon Training Academy), I immediately went to your blog and have read almost everything you have on injury.

    First, THANK YOU. Thank you for being raw and real and sharing the real side of injury. You have helped me understand that what I have gone through over the last 18 months is completely normal. I had two consecutive stress fractures as well- first in my right tibia, then in my left- and what should have been an “easy” recovery has been anything but. I’ve pushed too far, wound up in the comparison trap, kept pushing myself to be the athlete that I was instead of accepting the athlete that I am, berated myself for the weight I’ve gained during injury, felt weak when I had to take rest days or just couldn’t for the life of me get on the goddamn elliptical or bike again, and have dealt with countless niggles. Through all of it, I felt weak and broken as you described. And, I felt so much shame. Shame that I wasn’t healing “right” and shame that I wasn’t further along like everyone that I see on good old instagram.

    Reading this was like permission. Permission to accept where my body is at. Permission to take a few days off to allow this cranky hip flexor to settle down (one of those niggles you talk about). And permission to not be the athlete that I once was.

    Thank you- thank you- thank you. Seriously, have I said thank you?

    1. thank you SO much for the kind words. While I’m sorry you’ve had to struggle with injury too, happy that my experience could help!

  31. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences…and congratulations on your performance at the Barkley…I’ve also been plagued with injury and am now having to pull out of my first 50k 3 days from now due to back injury. Not sure what it is yet til tests come in, but my psycho self was going to try it anyway…I realize now that’s just plain senseless. Embrace the suck of disappointment and move on. Tomorrow is another day! If you can make it through all of that to Barkley I know I can come back too and hopefully this time with more patience and consistency. ❤

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