Running Yourself into the Ground—Literally

Today I’m happy to welcome Shaye to Running at Disney to talk about how it is important to take care of yourself while training for your next race.  All too often we get caught up in the chaos of our lives and completely wear ourselves out.  Here are some great things to think about next time you find yourself in that situation.  


It’s not always easy being a single mom and staying fit. Sometimes the kids just want to laze and watch TV, want sweets, don’t feel like eating their veggies, and sometimes it’s hard to resist falling into that rut too. But I want to be around a long time for my kids, and want them to be for their kids, too, so the main thing is setting the example. Eat the broccoli, put away the cookie jar, and get up early to run. But when you’re injured, as I was just a year ago, it’s hard to do that. I literally ran myself into the ground—a bad knee injury had me sidelined for six months. Learning how to stay positive through that, though, can be just as important for you and your family as training.


1. Listen to the Doctors

It’s easy, when you’re first injured and bitter that you have to sit out for a while, to demonize the people who want to help you the most: doctors. When my doctor first told me that I had to stop running for at least six months, I couldn’t help but be upset. Six months? At least? After talking for a while, though, it makes sense. You have to listen to the professionals—they want what’s best for you. The difference between a six-month and twelve-month recovery is the therapy and adherence to doctors’ rules that come during that time. Recovering from a major injury is indeed a team effort, and it’s okay to get more than one opinion—as long as you stick to it! Don’t give up on physical therapy and pound the pavement again as soon as you notice improvement. If you want to get back to your old form, it’s crucial to stay with the doctor’s orders or your risk much worse damage.

2. Treat Yourself Well

It’s also easy during this time to lapse into laziness and bad habits, especially if you’re feeling sorry for yourself. Of course you’re allowed a little self-pity, but staying positive is really the best thing you can do. It sounds corny, but it works, especially if you’re setting an example to your kids how to get through tough times! Instead of participating, volunteer and cheer on other runners at local races. Rent that film you’ve been meaning to see. Pick up a hobby. Gardening was my personal salvation while I was sidelined and I learned a new skill.

3. Clean Eating

Now is not the time to enjoy that double burger or fried chicken that you have been dying to eat. With the removal of your physical exercise it is important to focus on what it is you are actually eating. Try to stick to a fresh vegetable heavy meal plan. Lean meat like chicken breast, or tuna, is a great source of protein and they are very versatile in terms of use in dishes. Fresh fruits are great a well, but try to limit them as some are high in sugar. It is okay to allow yourself a nibble of indulgence but be mindful of it. My dear close friend ordered me get-well cookie bouquet when she heard of my injury. Initially I didn’t want this temptation but I turned it into a sensible treat allowing myself half of a cookie per each day of clean and fresh eating.

4. Don’t Neglect Training

While you’re off your main sport, don’t forget that there are other ones out there that you can do! Search for other exercises to keep up your stamina and release those endorphins, which will also help you stay positive. Since running was put on hold I took up swimming and fell in love. It’s an excellent cross-training exercise and definitely keeps you in shape while being gentle to your joints. Weight-train other parts of your body, try yoga or Pilates, and when the doctor gives you the go-ahead, hit the elliptical to get yourself slowly back to where you were. When you’re recovered, don’t give those skills up! It’s important to keep cross training—you’ll be a better runner (and athlete) for it.

Just because you’re out doesn’t mean you have to be down. When you’re injured, there are loads of ways to keep positive and fit. Listen to the professionals, be kind to yourself, and keep training. And when you do get back to the sport, you’ll fall in love with it all over again and appreciate it all the more. Happy recoveries!


Shaye is a single mother who likes to stay fit. From healthy clean eating, to dynamic exercise she likes to stay as active as possible. Her end goal is to live as long as possible to enjoy time with her son and watch him grow.


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