Little Runner Gal

Running, eating, sleeping and all the bits in between

Inactive legs lead to overactive brains!

on August 20, 2014

When I’m running, or rather when I am able to run, I know where I’m going. Not literally (well yes literally too, although I have been lost on a handful of occasions) but I know what my goal is, what I’m aiming to achieve and theoretically what I need to do to get there. Therefore my brain has its main topic of focus nicely covered and spends the rest of its time wondering what to eat next. When my ability to run, albeit for a short period of time, was compromised, my brain found itself a little lost. Even thoughts of food went out the window (momentarily) and that’s when I really had to question things!


This blog post started as a summary of my thoughts and musing during my injury, but as I started writing I realised what had happened….I had actually been through some sort of grieving process. Now this is not to say that my injury is akin to grieving for something lost, not at all, but just helped me to draw parallels with a process that was understood, and make sense of why I was feeling as I was and how I could get myself through it in the best way possible.

The recovery process is a mental one as well as a physical one, so whilst this post will still address my musings during injury, it might hopefully help me makes sense of why my brain behaved as it did.


Denial – running for a week pretending there was nothing wrong with me and it was actually down to poor fuelling, when my calf muscle (and, so it now turns out, most of the other muscles in my legs…yes both) was gradually getting more and more painful until the moment I woke up and couldn’t even walk. But I’d be OK tomorrow right?!

Anger – in my case this came coupled with upset. I was inexplicably upset and annoyed at my leg, my boyfriend who was trying to calm me down, the local leisure centre for having aqua aerobics on in the pool when I wanted to swim, my car just because, the stairs to my flat and the ice pack for my leg which wasn’t making it any better and definitely had it in for me. And I cried, lots.

Bargaining – this was mostly with my coach, about what I could, or rather should, do (or shouldn’t) and with myself about what the marathon really meant to me, could I shift my goals. Also looking for anything to help speed up recovery, which was a good thing; sports massage, acupuncture, foam rolling, stretching, applying heat, wearing compression sleeves, I’d have probably bathed in capers (my one and only food hate in the whole world!) if I’d have thought it would speed up my recovery!

Acceptance – I am injured. And I need to take time off to recover. And the world will go on turning. And I will run again.

During this whole process my overactive brain, and body, found new interests in cycling and swimming, which has obviously led to thoughts of swimming lessons, duathlon and triathlons. I’ve had a chance to read some amazing articles including this one from Dr Nick’s Running Blog about listening to your body and not being a slave to the GPS (guilty as charged!) and properly invest my time in the advice of the professionals, including this gem from Gary at Primal Movement Solutions 

I guess what I’m trying to say is it’s alright to get crabby and sad and angry and emotional and do things which make no sense to anyone but you, cos it’s all part of the process. You’ll come out the other side and you’ll probably have learnt a bit about yourself along the way.


I’m off to see where I can bulk buy enough capers to fill a bath…


2 responses to “Inactive legs lead to overactive brains!

  1. Charlotte Smith says:

    This is brilliant, totally went through (and still going through) all of those processes and I still completed the London Marathon, so my best wishes are for you and your future marathon!! 🙂

  2. Great post. It’s like you’re inside my head! I’ve been down a similar path lately with injury, discovering swimming and cycling then the inevitable thoughts of triathlon. It’s nice to know that others experience the same feelings and process.
    All the best for your recovery. Hope you’re running again soon.

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