The positive side of injury timeout

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There is nothing worse than a tapering or injured runner: cat on a hot tin roof doesn’t even come close to describing it. It is a wonder too, that their nearest and dearest don’t actually kill them.

Recently I have found myself in the unenviable position of having to take total time out due to injury; not even able to cross train. This was fine for the first few days during the working week. I was in pain which takes up quite a bit of your focus and energy and I was in work. As the weekend approached I found myself wondering what on earth I was going to do.

It has been some considerable time since I have been so injured that I have been unable to do anything. It has been particularly galling and somewhat ironic that the injury came after a race that re-energised my mojo and left me raring to go mentally.

What did I do that first weekend and what am I doing whilst I recover and my training is limited? Simple, I picked up old hobbies and interests and something new.

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I have always had artistic leanings and they tend to be expressed in making. Embroidery is something I have done since an early age, and something that I have always loved, something that I am skilled in and good at. I dug out my embroidery and found a project that had laid unfinished for some considerable time (an embarrassing amount of time). It is now finished. I have started stitching two new projects and have a third in the design stage. It has been an absolute joy reigniting this interest and I had forgotten how much I love stitching.

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Colouring, something which has become popular in recent years is something else that I have indulged in, so I have picked that up again too. In a similar vein and a new activity suggested by a friend is Zentangles which, simply put, involves creating patterns within a square of paper.

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There is a common theme to all of these. They are all activities that are absorbing and require my complete attention and focus. Whilst doing them I relax and simply do not think of the frustration of not being able to go and a run. It diminishes and goes. They are creative, calming and soothing.

Rediscovering my love of embroidery in particular set me thinking. It has been a victim of passion, my passion for running and the fact that I am time constrained. It is a loss and one that I was not aware of until circumstances changed.

Passions so easily become obsessions. I am passionate about my running and it is attention seeking and greedy for time. Has it become all-consuming to the detriment of other things? Is there an imbalance? Do I need, or do I want to redress that? An interesting question to which at this point I do not have answer. I love my running and in order to participate in the events and run the distances that I want I inevitably have to spend a considerable amount of my free time focusing on it. However, I am enjoying rediscovering old interests and new.

The answer as always lies in balance and prioritisation. Perhaps rather than thinking in terms of less focus on the running I should be considering less time wasted letting TV programmes wash over me, less time wandering around the internet and less time on social media. Less time vegging out and more time being creative.

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Whatever the answer, the time I have spent on old and new activities has filled the gap left by not being able to run, has been creative and productive, given me a sense of calm and achievement, killing frustration and restoring a degree of balance in my life.

We should all be mindful that a passion for something can be a double edged sword. It is capable of enlarging our lives but also diminishing them. Like so much in life it is all about the balance and moderation.