Hi, I'm new here, and recently my friend who I run with has had a few injuries here and there, mostly just typical pain but also a bad ankle that sidelined her for a few weeks. Now she's getting back into the swing of things, but she's running slower and feels inept. I know she'll be fine and will get back in gear soon, but it kinda breaks my heart to see and hear her be all pessimistic. I have stuff that I'll tell her to motivate her, but I just wanted to see if anyone else had any words of advice on what to say. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
It is frustrating and discouraging to be sidelined by injuries (or really anything else that disrupts the regular routine of running), but it is important to be reasurred that fitness level will not be lost and it is always a blessing to be moving, even if it is at a decreased pace.
I think many of us would understand how the negativity and disappointment can over-shawdow past improvements, especially because runners tend to place higher expectations on themselves, while also striving for future advancements. Motivation is very personal, individually defined and a challenge to easily categorize.
I believe I would (carefully) remind her that her base training has not disappeared and is only slightly off-target due to the recovery. If there are specific events that were (or are) important accomplishments for her, it would probably be okay to mention them as a reference for encouragement.
This sounds simple, but saying something like: "I am so proud of you for never giving up, because I know you have felt like it so many times, but you have more confidence and strength than most people." Sometimes it helps to just suggest that others have all the faith in themselves necessary to get through the obstacles.
The best thing a friend said to me when I was injured and discouraged went something like this "this injury is part of your training, your goal keeps you going, the injury makes it challenging." I'm still facing my injury somewhat... its reccuring.. and I just now try to invision the day I can say " I was able to finish (race) even though I had to overcome (injury)"
Come back slow and steady, do not push it or she will run the risk of re-injuring her ankle.
She might want to consider some cross training in the mean time until her ankle completely heals such as cycling or weight training.
Getting Fit at Fifty