Ways to Cope With Not Being Able to Run

The Emotional Side of Running Injuries

When you're recovering from a running injury, you become very aware of how running is a huge part of your life. And dealing with the physical pain of the injury is often not as difficult as coping with the frustration of having to put your running plans on hold. If you're sidelined with a running injury, here are some tips for helping you cope with the psychological strain of not being able to run:


See it as an opportunity.

Front plank exercise
Cavan Images

An injury recovery period is a perfect time to work on your weaknesses since you're not going to spend as much time running. If your core can use strengthening, for example, now's a good opportunity to work on it.


Stay active.

Butterfly Yoga Pose
Photo by Peter Augustin

Talk to your doctor about recommendations for safe cross-training activities during your recovery. Some good choices are usually low-impact activities such as yoga, pilates, swimming, or deep water running. The physical activity will help prevent feelings of sadness and anger. Keeping up the habit of regular exercise will also make your return to running a lot easier and smoother. And you'll feel better knowing that you're still burning lots of calories and maintaining some of your fitness.


Seek out other stress relievers.

Woman reading
Cavan Images

Whether you realize it or not, running is most likely a source of stress relief for you. Now's the time to find other relaxing activities that may help manage your stress (including the stress of dealing with an injury!). Catch a movie, binge-watch a show, or pick up some magazines, books, or a crossword puzzle –- anything that will keep your mind occupied and not thinking about sources of stress in your life. Make sure that you get plenty of rest, too, since you're more likely to feel stressed and down if you're tired.


Don't abandon running altogether.

Race spectators cheering
Dream Pictures/Ostrow

Although not being able to run may make you want to forget about running, staying away may actually make you feel even worse. Keep in touch with your running buddies and stay up-to-date on their training. Use your recovery period as a time to get involved with running in other ways, such as volunteering at a race or cheering on your friends.


But find other outlets, too.

Now's also a great time to focus on non-running aspects of your life. You have more time to do the things you say you'll do when you're not busy training for a race. Get together with some non-running friends for coffee or dinner, or catch a movie or a play. Doing something that isn't part of your regular routine will help you appreciate the time off from running.


Think positive!

Try not to adopt a "woe-is-me" attitude. An optimistic outlook will help speed up your recovery. Remind yourself that this is a temporary setback and you'll be back to running soon.

It helps to surround yourself with positive people. If someone has negative energy and often brings you down, now might be a good time to take a break from that person.


Look toward the future.

Runner smiling
Matthew Leete

Remind yourself that the silver lining of any injury is that you'll appreciate being healthy and running comfortably much more when you come back. You won't take running for granted!

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