Injured runner: how to mentally cope with injury

Injuries. Gosh they are tough to cope with aren’t they. We are glad you’ve found our guide on how to mentally cope with injury and we hope it helps you today. Whether you’re reading because you are facing a running injury or another sporting injury the mental challenge is tough and we all want to know how to cope with injury depression. We know it can grate away at your well-being and also tempt you to return to running (or sport) before your body is actually ready. So we have pulled together a list of tips to help you cope with this period on how to mentally cope with injury.

remember injuries are for a short time but your body is forever. 

We have been there too. We know how tricky it is when you can’t do the thing you love, enjoy, that keeps you fit and well. You are desperate to know how do you overcome injuries. But it’s important you learn how to be patient with an injury. When you are feeling low, and tempted to push it stop resting, not wait until you’re pain free – just keep bringing your thoughts back to the fact that it will pass and for the sake of one or two or even 6 more weeks – you really could give yourself a permanent injury. 

And then imagine how frustrated and upset you will be. We know this isn’t a huge consolation but it should be a cautionary reminder to go easy on yourself and body. 

What is your why? 

Why do you run? Is it for fitness, for competition, for headspace for fresh air? Whatever the reason is for you, you can try and find another activity that will give you that fix. Can’t run but you are able to walk as it’s lower impact? Do that. Use running to keep fit, is there a bike you could use if your injury will allow? Or another kind of crosstraining? Could you swim, could you run in the pool? 

Remember fitness doesn’t vanish overnight 

We know how hard you’ve worked to get your fitness up and your mind starts persuading you that it’s dropping off every single day you’re injured. The psychology of injury is a tricky one!

Now of course with time it does drop – but probably not as quickly as you think it does and there is exercise you can do whilst injuries. A bike on a turbo trainer, light weights repeated as a cardio workout, swimming. 

Talk about it – how to mentally cope with injury

If you’ve been a runner for more than a few years you have likely had some injury or other. So please know that aren’t alone. So do reach out to your sporting community or running friends and share your frustrations. It won’t make the injury heal any quicker but it will help those mental demons getting you down. Also they can share how they recovered and came back from injury and it will act as encouragement to you. 

Make future running plans 

Your mind can start you thinking that this temporary injury situation is forever. So you can change this by planning for the future. Several months down the line the frustration you feel now will be a memory. What do you enjoy about running? Races? The social side of things? Make plans that reflect these positives. Book onto an exciting race for next year. Contact your running club for social activities if the social side is what motivates you. Get some new running kit on order for your recover journey. Take actions that show your brain you know that this is going to pass. 

Believe in your body

The very good news is that your body has an amazing ability to repair itself. Everyone heals at their own rate – and it really depends person to person – but patience is key.