Sprained ankle injury (almost) over

Almost 5 weeks ago I sprained my ankle pretty badly while doing a trail run at Tianmashan. I originally thought that I would not be able to run for 1-2 weeks, but it turned out the injury was a bit worse than I had  expected. It took 3 weeks just to get rid of most of the pain, so then I tried running again for the first time. But that was a bad idea: after running for just 10-15 minutes the foot and ankle were suddenly a lot more painful. I managed to wait another 2 weeks before this weekend I finally allowed myself back on the treadmill. I say ‘managed to wait’ because it was very difficult not to run for me. When you are training for a half marathon and suddenly cut out all training you literally feel a bit depressed. I need to run in order to relax after work and of course to stay in shape (I gained several kilo’s over the past 5 weeks, just because of burning a lot less calories).

Last night I ran a very slow 15 minutes on the treadmill (about 2 km) and everything felt fine afterward. I was very relieved, but did not want to cheer to quickly. I know from experience that only the next day you really know if you are going to be fine, so I was a bit nervous when I got up this morning. But everything felt fine, even during (and after) the yoga class that my wife and I take every Sunday morning. I was so happy that I went for another 3 km run right after yoga, and my foot still feels fine! There is still a bit of minor pain when I try to run outside, so that I won’t do yet, but on the treadmill I am doing fine.

So now the question is how I am going to prepare myself for the Shanghai half marathon that I plan to run in less than 3 weeks. First of all I am glad I opted for the half marathon instead of the full one, going for a full one without real training would be virtual suicide. I should be able to finish the half marathon without much training, but I won’t be able to get in shape on time. I think I am going to try to run 4-5 times a week from now on, beginning with short runs (5 km or so) and going up to 10-15 km by next week. I won’t go for speed during training, because I cannot run a personal best time anyway, but at least I want to be able to finish the race without too much pain.

I am also thinking about doing a mini detox during the next 2 weeks. I did one last year in preparation for the Hong Kong Trailwalker and felt a lot healthier while doing it. I won’t overdo it, however, especially not because I also need to practice a lot, so my body needs the calories. I probably should just avoid alcohol & coffee for a while, but still eat relatively normal (more veggies, less meat). And for sure the fast food chains in Shanghai won’t see me until after the half marathon!

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  1. I SO know that feeling of wanting to come back earlier than one should and I totally second your feeling about being completely in the pits because you're not able to get that needed daily adrenaline boost, especially when your body's tuned like a sleek missile, but there's a method behind the madness. I'm going through something similar myself right now and it's maddening. I still exercise daily (provided I'm not on the road), but I've had to modify my style. Instead of long endurance-demanding runs, I've had to put out short, sharp, lightning-quick shocks of energy which achieve maximum impact and accord with the change in my body's capacity. Something like what George Foreman had to do when he returned to the ring post-preaching career…he had to bulk up to land body-shuddering blows instead of the long slugfests he was used to as an Olympian and a newcomer on the heavyweight block.

    Believe me, it's been an adjustment for me as well, but we get through it…the key is to always keep moving and hammering.

    The fun is in asking the utmost from our bodies and revelling when it responds to our brain's bidding…and as far as I'm concerned, there's no other glory.

  2. In Turkish, there is a saying "yalama olmak" which may be converted to English as "to get worn".. I don't think its the best translation but I couldn't find any better one..

    Anyway, as an amateur basketball player, I have witnessed my numeruos friends to sprain their ankles.. It's a common injury at basketball also. As far as I have seen, the point is not to force the ankle before its fully recovered.

    If it is sprained againg before recovery then it "gets worn" and can easily be sprained in the future even during a harmless move..

    In your case, though, you seem to have your ankle rest enought, so probably your ankle would be as healty as it was 5 weeks ago..

    So, as a sports guy, I am happy to read that you are also back to sports 🙂