“What if I can’t do it!!!”
Today was about getting back to running for the first
time since May last year. My runs in May last year were
the first since a hip injury flare up in August of the
So all in all it’s been 16 months since I went running
any reasonable distance, due to injury.
This blog will look at
– getting back to running after an injury
– who running is suitable for…and not
– fears and anxieties around fitness and your body
– what is progress
– when to seek others’ help
– what You can do
I built myself up to today – not just with the physical
rehabilitation and strengthening of my body but in my
mindset too. I made myself accountable to the ladies in
the OptiMum Health ladies Facebook group to make sure I
stuck to my plans.
^^^ I’m really glad I did that because this morning,
when it was cold and icy the random excuse generator in
my head was coming up with all sorts of reasons not to
go out and do it.
What if I slip on ice?
What if it pulls my hip out again?
What if it strains my hamstring again?
What if I just physically can’t do it – can’t run?
What if, what if, what if….
Having told the ladies in the group I was doing it
though (and knowing some of them at least will check up
on me), I got on with it. Layered myself up for the
weather, stuck my tunes in my ears, made sure I warmed
up thoroughly, switched Strava on and set off…
To start with it was quite hard – but I realised it was
through being tense with all those what-ifs. The sun
was out (hoorah) and I found my stride (shorter than
I’d like it to be but it’s a start) and before I knew
it, I reached the point in my planned run where I
needed to turn off to head back…..
I kept going though and Gary Moore in my ears lured me
“Out in the Fields” and I ran on through the woods,
down country lanes, out in the open – it was freedom!
At one point I did have to stop and walk, partly to
give my legs a break and just lengthen my stride back
out, partly to figure out where the hell I was!
I followed my nose and found my way back to our village
having put 3.5 miles in my legs.
Not a huge distance – but further than I’d thought I
Not a fast run – but a start at least, and a very
pleasurable one at that.
But this post is not all about me blowing my own
trumpet – it’s to highlight a few things.
Running’s not for everyone, all the time
I totally understand the lure of running. You can do it
from your own front door. You don’t need much in the
way of equipment. You can escape your day-to-day life
and just run. You’re out in the fresh air. You’re
It’s not for everyone though.
Some may not even enjoy it – if not, why subject
yourself to something you don’t enjoy? There are plenty
of other ways to move, get stronger, fitter and have
For some, it’s not the right activity at this time.
This could be due to health reasons, an injury (like
me), if you’ve recently had a baby* or have any form of
pelvic floor weakness/issue.
It doesn’t mean you can’t find another approach that
you still enjoy.
I’m stronger, fitter and healthier now than I was back
in August 2014 when my injury really flared up because
I’ve worked around it. Rested when appropriate (for the
latter part of 2014 even sitting down was painful!),
tested it, worked it some more….and had fun.
* make sure you like & follow us on Facebook for more
articles on this – including a forthcoming one on when
to return to running after childbirth.
We all worry about ‘what ifs’
^^^ we probably wouldn’t be human if we didn’t!
Even coaches, athletes and other fitness professionals
go through this – you are no different. It doesn’t make
you weaker, or inferior – it makes you, You.
We all have battles.
We all have demons.
We all have fears.
I love the line in “The Second Best Most Exotic
Marigold Hotel” that Dame Judi Dench’s character
“Sometimes I think the difference between what we want
and what we’re afraid of is about the width of an
We each need to find our own way to bridge that
difference – whether it’s gritting your teeth and
getting on with it, enlisting the help and support of
others, or any other means.
If for you, the getting to your run/class/gym/activity
is a real trudge but you feel amazing once you’ve been
– at that point, when you feel really ALIVE, switch on
the video camera on your phone and tell it how you
Store it away and when you need that motivation to go
do it, watch it back.
“what if I make a fool of yourself”
“what if I look ridiculous”
“what if everyone else” is much better than me?”
This little video gives you the answer to those “what
There will always be negative ‘what ifs’.
Why not flip those around?
“What if you do nothing – what will happen”
“What if you actually really enjoy it”
^^^ Try and answer every negative what if, with a
Not all progress is forwards
As I said above, I first restarted running back in May
2015 but other issues flared up, my hip and hamstrings
just weren’t really ready, so I stopped again…running
at least – went back to the drawing board/gym and
rehabbed further, in between more strength work,
stability work and movement drills.
Did it feel like going backwards?
Actually, not really.
I made my gym sessions work for me – I’m in the
fortunate position where I can write and direct my own
rehabilitation and programmes (though that’s not to say
there’s no benefit in asking for help and input which
I’ve also done)….so I made sure I enjoyed them – or at
least most of them.
^^^ this is important for my clients too. We all have
to do some stuff we’re not hugely keen on, or maybe
just don’t like – but if we can pepper that in amongst
activities we love
understand that doing the less fun stuff helps move
towards being able to do what we love – it’s not so
In my mind, two steps forward and one step back is
still one net step forwards!
Sometimes we need help from others
A fresh perspective from drawing on a professional’s
particular expertise can make all the difference.
This will sound like an Oscar roll call but along the
way I’ve had a huge amount of help from:
- Jav at Liberty Physio – who really got my hips working
- Hannah of Hannah Booker Sports Massage – to help
release muscles and tissues in between workouts
- Lisa & Amy at Hykeham Chiropractic – helping me stay aligned
- Ruth – my female health physio, who keeps an eye on my
pelvic floor health
- The amazing space that is Custom Fitness and Dave for
keeping an eye on me generally
- Lincolnshire Runner for kitting me out in running shoes
– thanks to Georgia for your timeless patience and help
in getting the right shoe
“but I can’t afford to see that many people”
I didn’t see them all at once.
I phase it in.
I make sure that each one knows the work I’m doing on
my own, and with other therapists, to join up the dots.
I see it as an investment in my long-term mobility and
health. Being able to run round after my boys.
Again, with my own clients, if they’re seeing any other
therapists, I make sure that I talk to them too.
There’s no point me re-inventing the wheel or using up
a client’s time to work out what someone else has
Plus, generally speaking, other therapists tend to see
clients in a static position, whereas I see them
moving. Putting those two scenarios together gives a
more “Real-D” perspective on a client’s movement and
Aftercare is important too
Just as warming up is important – so is what you do
after your workout to ensure you cool down steadily and
release any muscles that you’ve worked and/or feel
I went through my own stretch routine specifically
designed for hip and hamstring issues.
Have already liberally applied my Muscle Melt from
Suncloud Therapy too to ease what I know will ache
…and made sure I refuelled adequately with nutrient
dense lunch and plenty of fluids.
How you manage your health away from your activity can
play a huge part in your wellness and injury
Am very glad it’s an upper body workout in the plan for
What can you do?
- Decide what you want to do.
- Establish where you are now.
- Understand what scares you….and why
- Imagine what difference achieving your aim will make to your life.
- Work out what help and support you need to get you started.
- Is it peer support – would our FB group help?
- Would a coach help kickstart your journey, support you physically and help maintain your motivation
- Do you need to see a physio, female health physio, your GP or any other therapist to get checked out?
- Let those close to you know what you want to do and why – make yourself accountable to someone.
- Get cracking!
- Most importantly of all…..HAVE FUN!
Remember to stay tuned for that article on when to return to running after pregnancy and childbirth.
And do get in touch if you’d like to chat about your specific health and fitness goals and how to achieve them.