Forgetting How to Run | Eclectic Cake: Forgetting How to Run

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Forgetting How to Run

The first time I ran, my lungs almost burst and my face was on fire. I'd only travelled 800 metres.

But each run after that got a bit easier – they lasted longer and I actually quite enjoyed them. The progress continued until I felt like I could run and run forever (before I got hungry and had to stop for cake). Given time, imagine how far and fast I could run!

Two and a half years later, though, I find myself struggling to finish one kilometre again. My mind still wants to keep running but the pain from shin splints has held me back. I've rested, followed my physio exercises and taken it slow. So with the go-ahead to run, I expected to be able to start building up distance and speed again. But learning to run a second time around is hard.

When I first started, I just moved my legs faster and called it running. Now, I'm conscious of making my injuries worse or over-compensating for my sore shins and injuring something else. To confuse my body further, whilst I abstained from running, I kept my itchy feet happy by reading about running. This has only helped to fill my mind with doubt about the way I've been running – after all, the way I run eventually caused my injury. Whilst I run, I notice myself constantly adjusting the way I move – do I run on my toes? Should I worry about heel-striking? How far forward do I lean? Should I be squeezing muscles as I travel?

My limbs feel uncomfortable and my mind is confused. I've completely forgotten how to run! It's certainly far from the natural pursuit it should be.

After that first ever outing, running eventually felt amazing. I really miss that. Hopefully this is just adjustment time before my legs remember how to move, my body knows where to position itself and I remember how to run again.


  1. Sounds tough to get going again Jen - and there's a lot of confusing (and wrong stuff) posted online about running position and injury etc.

    Maybe time to just keep it simple - make sure you warm up before you set off for a proper run (some movement to get the blood flowing first + some dynamic stretches) and use something to distract you from thinking about form too much, favourite podcast / playlist, running partner, whatever sort of distraction works for you.

    1. I'm certainly confused. Simple sounds good, a running partner even better! Thanks for the advice.

  2. Ahh Jen I think you just need to listen to your own physio and own body and just take it slow getting back into it, don't get sucked into all the advice online and on Twitter from people who haven't met you and know your body/injury.

    I'm in the same position - have so much to work on/think about now (cadence, not running on 'central line', not over striding, running quieter to reduce impact, doing physio exercises and drills), but this is all what my physio has told me and I know it's gonna help and can already feel it making a difference to my recovery time and knee pain.

    Warm up properly before your runs - I can't believe I've only just started to do this and it's so crucial! x

    1. Warming up is SO important, yet I'm sure so many (myself included) choose to forego.

      There is so much to think about with injuries, I miss when I used to just run naturally. But I guess, for both of us, once we've followed recovery instructions and retrained ourselves running will eventually feel natural again.

      Good luck with your recovery!