Heightened senses returning to running

Returning from injury is always done tentatively. Do you risk it? Stepping out the door my senses were sharp, feeling everything. My toes, my metatarsals, my knees, everything. Every ache, muscle contraction and landing with my foot analysed to the n’th degree.

Autumn has arrived since being off, those 4 weeks of not running were different from other injured times. I’d not longed for running, I’ve been too busy for that, but by the time I’d run across the road into the nature reserve I knew I’d missed it.

I started slow, really slow. Every step thoughtfully executed and analysed for feedback on the injury. It was going good. The grass was long under foot, I’d missed the feeling of the coolness of the water seeping through my shoes. I’d missed the sound of my own feet striking the ground in a rhythm that only I can make. I missed the sound of my breath as I ran up the hill. I’d missed being outside in the woods.

With heightened senses I began to notice a lot more than just if my foot was sore or not. The rain pita pattering under the canopy from water falling from leaves long after the rain had stopped. The mist on the cool side of the hill hanging around in the still afternoon. The mouse that ran across the path into the undergrowth and the squirrel running away and up the tree.

I thought twice about changing my gait, about any unnecessary jumps and avoiding steep slopes so as not to aggravate the injury. I could feel the ache and I could feel where I was sore but it didn’t hold me back. I took in the view in the clearing above the city and stopped whilst I took a mental check of the body. My glutes were achy, my hamstrings tight, my belly less bouncy*.

I turned to head back home, and my mind forgot for a while that I was just getting back from injury. My muscle memory of running took over and I thought about other stuff for a while. Until running down steps brought my thinking right back to the foot. The ache was a sharp spike. My foot didn’t like that. I walked the rest of the steps, took stock and started to run again once I realised I was ok.

12hours after the run my foot is no worse and I’m pain free walking around. So I’ll take that as a win.

* less bouncy as I’ve lost weight. Not running let me focus on getting rid of some belly. I’ve concluded I over eat when I run. Over compensate for the calories burned and consume more calories than I need.

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