What Does it Feel Like to Not Run?



I am sure there are many ways to describe what it feels like to not run, but to a runner not many of the explanations are positive.  As runners we are always looking forward to the next run, sometimes even while we are running.  To our non-running friends we are talking as if we are from another planet we we stress about missing a run or when we long to run when something is keeping us from it.

The year that just closed it’s doors is one that I will not miss when I think about running.  2011 was littered with pain, disappointment, and frustration when I discuss my year in running.  The year started off with disappointment, and never let up.


When looking at my 2011 year in review on Daily Mile it tells the grim story.  In comparing it to my 2010 year in review on Daily Mile I noticed a few things.  My mileage wasn’t even half of what it was in 2010, and my higher mileage months were right around where my lowest mileage month was in 2010.

2011 Year In ReviewThe 12 month timeline tells a story, my story.  The story starts in March when things started to fall apart.  My mileage was looking good for the most part as I was training for my third marathon, the 2010 Publix Georgia Marathon.  I won’t revisit all the details, but an injury late in the marathon training forced me to take a couple weeks off leading up to race day, and ultimately dropping to the half marathon which was even run with some pain.

I had an extremely hard time coming back from this thigh injury and the mileage never came back with consistent nagging from my thigh.  When I was finally getting past the injury I had trouble building the mileage back to where it needed to be because of fear of injury and just plain laziness.

Summer was drawing to a close and the mornings were starting to cool off a bit, but August brought with it some extremely long hours at work which would prove to be one of the final blows to 2011 as a runner.  The long hours made it difficult to run, but one morning when I did make it out the door I was greeted with another even more crippling injury, my calf.  As the mileage shows I was lucky to run at all during the last quarter of the year, and in some cases went weeks without lacing up the running shoes.

This year has taken it’s toll on my body and my spirit.  I have had a hard time writing about running when I wasn’t doing it, and felt like a hypocrite when I was eating unhealthy and putting on weight that I had not seen since starting this journey in 2007. 

The clothes are tighter and the outlook is grim, but I am slowly trying to regain what I have lost, and lose what I have gained.  It has and will be a long road back, but I can only take one step and one day at a time.  It is amazing how hard it is to eat right when you are not being active.

The latest on the running and injury is that I am slowly starting to run again.  Each time I tried to run before my calf would end up complaining and putting me on the sideline once again, but this time I am taking it much slower and using compression all along the way.  So far so good, but I am keeping conservative with my optimism.

How do you describe your feelings when you cannot run?

13 comments:

  1. Two words describe my feelings when I can't run: depression and anxiety.

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  2. I am still injured from a fall I took the Saturday before Thanksgiving, so I share with your frustration.
    By nature I am impatient, so I find myself revving to get moving. I do not want to rest any longer. I do not want to take it easy. I JUST want to run. I feel impatient with healthy people who tell me to slow down or to not run. I have not been to the doctor because I know what he will tell me ("stop running"). As a result, I have been choosing to deal with pain rather than the frustration. I finally got a little relief ten days ago, and in my excitement got on a stationary bike and wrecked myself again. I was winged up for a race, and I am still foolishly holding on to a dream that I can do it when all indicators point to the reality that I can make it about two hours but the consequence is I struggle to go up or down the stairs for a couple days after

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  3. I feel jealous of those running. I know how great it feels and want to be right there with them! If I'm walking for a purpose (as I overcome illness or injury), it's hard to even watch runners because it tempts me to start up before I'm ready.

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  4. I know how frustrating injury can be and I feel for you. The only advice I can offer is to not set aside other cross-training options that may be available to you (like cycling, swimming, or elliptical work). I know these aren't running, but they will assist in getting you back in shape and rebuilding your aerobic base. And as non-fun as core strengthening and stretching can be, that will probably help as well. Good luck my friend !

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  5. I missed running for two 3 week blocks last year and both times I felt like crap and ate way too much.

    I'm a running junkie so I really feel your pain.  My advice is check the ego and just go really slow until you have your base again.  Good luck!

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  6. TheunexpectedrunnerJan 15, 2012, 6:31:00 PM

    I don't even want to imagine how difficult I'd be to live with if I had to stop running....it is my link to keeping sane and de-stressed in a high stress job! But even a short run helps....and in a pinch, there is always the bike. Hope you are steadily back on the road soon:)

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  7. When I had foot surgery about a year and a half ago, I had wicked anxiety about not running. But I've bounced back well, and am now a better runner than I was before. Start off slow, you'll make it ok!

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  8. Feelings when I cannot do like I used to: 1. Frustration; 2. Disappointment; Helplessness; Depression, and even a sense of Despair . . . until I look at the One who ran his race all alone alone, and got murdered in the end, but was raised him again. He now runs with me, and promises to stay with me in each new, redefined, patient, enduring endeavor until the end.

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  9. Thank you for writing this. I can SO relate to you right now - I am right there with you. 2011 was just NOT a good year and now I am struggling to get back what I lost and lose what I gained too.

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  10. I've been sick the past few days and havent been running 'much' and I'm still about to crawl out of my skin!!!!  One of my biggest fears is getting injured and not being able to run - I just couldn't imagine :(  Just think how motivating your story will be when you DO come back :)  Hang in there!!!  I still plan to challenge you at some GA race one day ;)

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  11. Ahhh...about to embark on that journey. But hopefully not for too long. Tore my meniscus somehow (running- thought i had warmed up enough). I hear the recovery period is quick but i put my bike inside to keep in shape. We'll see...

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  12. JoeyandersonsterFeb 7, 2012, 5:49:00 PM

    Just to encourage you. I recently spent an afternoon reading through your old blog posts and it helped to encourage me to take on the marathon challenge, to build my miles. 
    Remember where you started and what you have gained along the way. It goes well beyond the physical change. 

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  13. Thank you everyone for the kind word and encouragement.  Sorry I have not responded until now, but I have just been feeling sorry for myself and talking about it doesn't seem to help :)

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