Here's how to love running despite inevitable obstacles.
You’ve been training for a long time. Maybe it’s your first half-marathon. Maybe you’re attempting to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Maybe you just love running long distances.
But then the worst happens. It’s an injury. It could be a stress fracture, particularly rough Achilles tendonitis, or a completely unrelated injury. Either way, it can feel like your running world has come crashing down on you.
You might find yourself thinking, “Why me? I’ve been training so hard. I deserve to run my event.” But that’s the thing; running doesn’t care.
Running will break your heart.
Next, you’ll ask yourself…
How can you keep running when you can't run anymore?
Some people will push through the injury. Some people will fade away to lick their wounds. Some may even never run again.
But those aren’t the runners we know. The runners we know always get back up and try again. And that is how you keep loving running even when you can’t run *right now*.
It doesn’t matter if you’re someone like our beloved Canadian marathon record holder, Cam Levins, looking for sponsorship after leaving the brand that stood behind him for four years after finishing 72nd in the Olympics last year.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a semi-professional athlete looking to smash some local records or jump onto a team at the right moment. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a recreational runner trying to better yourself and beat your own goals.
Watching the World Athletic Championships in Oregon last week (even just clips here and there of Team Canada’s celebrations) has inspired countless runners facing adversity across the country.
It’s important to remember that you can still love running even when it doesn't love you back.
When you're on the outs with running, keep these things in mind:
- Remember that running will always be there waiting for you.
It might take going solo without a sponsor or starting from scratch after an injury, but it will be waiting whenever you’re ready (in body and mind) to get back to the sport.
Don’t worry if you have to start back at 2 minutes walking and 1 minute running; you’ll be smooth sailing your usual workouts (and maybe even better!) in no time.
Take time to re-learn the fundamentals and augment those skills with functional strength training to prevent further injuries and mentally prepare yourself for the long journey ahead.
- Be good to yourself.
There will be faster and stronger competitors than before you left, but the best is yet to come if you’re only competing with yourself. Do what works best for you, trust yourself, and trust the process.
You will always love running if you love the journey.
- Sometimes, the only person who believes in you is yourself.
After a great week at the World Championships, we can’t help but be inspired by the journey of Cam Levins.
Cam went from running 210 km weeks in the Nike Oregon Project to breaking the 43-year-old Canadian Marathon Record (Jerome Drayton, 1975, 2:10:09) in 2018 by almost a minute with 2:09:25. Squeaking by with a late Olympic qualifier in 2019, he placed 72nd at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. His sponsor HOKA did not re-sign him in 2022. When spectators were questioning whether this could end his career, he proved everyone wrong and beat his Canadian record by two minutes in Oregon (2:07:09)!
There's no better way to show the ups and downs of running than this path we're all privy to as spectators. We're incredibly grateful to Cam for demonstrating this excellent example.
- Revisit your reasons for movement.
While we will all need to take a hiatus from running at some point in our lives, it’s important to remember the reasons you enjoy running in the first place.
We may run for health, peace of mind, as a mode of transportation, to set a positive example, for accolades or scholarships, or any reason. But whatever your motivation and wherever the sport takes you, remember that the sport will always be there for you.
If movement is important to you, finding ways to stay moving will make your return to running that much easier. But it will still be hard work.
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice, support, or coaching on your journey.
Depending on your training needs and race goals, our expert coaches tailor an individual training plan for you. You can implement their recommendations. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting from scratch. Let your new running buddies help you!
Joining a running club is a great way to get back to running without pressure. Taking part in a run group for social reasons is good for everyone, especially if you have plateaued in your performance or aren't as motivated as you once were.
Don’t worry; you’ll be loving running again in no time.