The 5 Stages Of Running Injury Recovery

Like the 5 Stages Of Grief, there’s 5 Stages Of Running Injury Recovery.

Note: foul language throughout.  This is not well researched, either, so if you’re a runner and skipped any of these stages, I sincerely hope it was the first one.  If not that, then the 3rd one is a good stage to skip too, since it didn’t work for me and doesn’t work in the 5 Stages of Grief either.

1. Pain

Let’s face it, if you have time to go through 5 stages and remember them, the injury fucking hurt. If it was like my injury, you were limping and the pain got worse.

2. Despair

Runners run. Injured runners do not. And it sucks ass.  During this stage, my wife complained about me being in a stupor.  Really, it was just that I wasn’t getting that occasional runner’s high.  Worse, I get Runner’s World, so I was unable to run but getting a magazine centered around (guess what?) running.  And of course the cover pic: a runner running.  And if not running, they’re at least dressed in the proper attire.

3. Bargaining

Many runners, myself included, shy away from races that require you to raise money (via sponsorships, as opposed to just paying an entry fee and being done with it) .  I have a family, a full time job, I ran ~34 miles a week when not injured, I brew beer, and I run multiple web sites.  I don’t need to be a whore for some organization that can’t make it’s own money.

Dear Lord,

If I can run pain free by the middle of next week, I’ll do one of those sponsorship runs, and I’ll even try to raise a metric shit ton of money.


No, it didn’t work. I’m lucky. The jury’s still out on whether God gives two shits about sponsorship runs. I think they feel dirty unless it’s like the Boston Marathon, where there is still an option to pay… If you’re fast enough.  And that’s not a complaint – Boston is one of many runners’ ulimate goals, including mine (and preferably before I’m so old the race director says “at your age, if you can run a marathon, you’re in!”).

4. Relapse

Physical therapy only goes so far, and it doesn’t replace the runner’s high. When the physical therapist says “maybe you can start working in some running, but WE HAVE TO TALK WITH YOUR DOCTOR”, you conveniently ignore the part they yelled at you.  And you run.  A 5k is like a joint to a jittery pot smoker that hasn’t had a smoke in a month or more (I’m not sure if that makes sense, I’ve never smoked pot, but that’s what I THINK it is like).

But at PT, that elliptical (something I’ve only seen, never used) becomes a way to go fast… well, treadmill fast, which still feels like a hamster in a wheel. But I’d rather be healthy running in a hamster wheel than injured.

5. Reloading

Treatment plans have an end, which is one treatment after the insurance deductible is met (for me, anyway). In the past week, I’ve been reading more: You (Only Faster) (affiliate link) and thinking more about post-injury training and nutrition. I’ve viewed more YouTube videos on training topics as well.  And I’ve lost 0.6 lbs last week!  Next up is Racing Weight (another affiliate link) , and then Born To Run (yeah, that one’s an affiliate link too).

Next Race: The Hudepohl 14k. Depending on the outcome of what I hope is the last part of my treatment plan, I hope to run the 14k and not drop to the 7k.  This is going to the blog a day after a shot that now has my back all achy.  SUPPOSEDLY, I’ll be able to run full time (none of this run/walk shit) Monday.