Fall Guest Post Series: Heather (with a Side of Sneakers)

Hope everyone is having a fabulous Friday so far.

I really don’t know how to thank you for all of your supportive comments, tweets, and e-mails.Yesterday, Jeff and I started a major cleaning of our apartment. It’s therapeutic for me, and it is taking my mind off of the whole situation. I’ll be back tomorrow with a recap of the past few days. I really don’t know what I’d do without you guys.

Today begins my fall guest post series. Every week from now until the end of December, I will feature a different guest poster on my blog. The posts will be about everything from exercise to food to well being. I’ve selected a wonderful group of bloggers to help me out for the next couple months, so I hope you enjoy their posts!! 

Since the doctor JUST gave me the OK to run after two months of not being able to, I thought the following post would be great to start out with.

So, without further ado, I give you Heather from with a Side of Sneakers:

Running Away From Injury

In high school I thought I was invincible. I ran a half marathon without training. I made the state 4×800 track team by accident. I finished practice runs in hockey long before the rest of the team. I never gave a second thought to injury or the idea that I wouldn’t always be able to run.

But then, a year and a half ago, my world was flipped upside down. I’d been suffering from severe chronic foot & hand pain, and my doctors finally came to a consensus: I wouldn’t run again.

At first I listened, but it got old. Last spring I decided I would run, whatever it took. I thought it’d be easy- I was a runner after all. I’d just grit my teeth & bear down through the pain. Only it wasn’t easy. It was downright hard. Being sedentary for so long had kicked my endurance to
the curb. My muscles had completely forgotten how to work, let alone run. I was starting from zero.

But eventually, I did it. I ran 2 half marathons this spring.


Unfortunately, the pain in my feet unknowingly caused me to change my natural stride, and I’ve come across a few other injuries along the way.


Whether you’re starting to run for the first time, or picking it up again after a hiatus or injury, I promise you can run too.

[If you’re starting again after injury, make sure you have recovered first- running on an injury just makes it worse & can cause chronic problems. Baby your body- you only get one. ;)]

  • Start small. Trying to run 3 miles on your first attempt will get you nowhere but frustrated & possibly injured. Choose a small distance: a lap or two around the track or a short loop in your neighborhood.
  • Start slow. If you can’t walk it, you can’t run it. Start by walking. When you can walk it, add in short bursts of running or jogging. Alternate running & walking, then slowly increase the time you spend running and decrease the time you walk.
  • Forget about speed. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to cover any given distance. Build your endurance first, then you can move on to speed.
  • Progress slowly. Too much too fast leads to burnout & injury. A general rule- increase by no more than 10% each week.
  • Cross train. You don’t have to run to build endurance. Alternate cycling, swimming, rowing, or the elliptical, etc. (This is my saving grace for keeping injuries at bay.)


  • Prevent injury. Warm up, cool down, stretch, and listen to your body. If something hurts, stop, rest, & ice. Pay extra attention to areas if you’ve injured them in the past.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others. It doesn’t matter how far your sister, friend, or cousin can run. Ignore it.
  • Drop preconceived notions. Just because you used to be able to do something, doesn’t mean you can do it now. Focus on the present.

If I can do it, you can do it. Happy running!!


To read more about my adventures in injury & training, visit me at with a Side of Sneakers. Feel free to email me: rungirlrunn [at] gmail [dot] com. Thanks Rebecca for the chance to share my adventures with your readers!

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  1. First, Rebecca I’m glad you and Jeff are working through it. You are surrounded with love and support.

    Second, Heather this post comes at a great time for me. I’m cleared to go back to fitness but am getting so frustrated with my lack of endurance. But I will keep pushing through because I know I can and will get back to running even if it takes many bike rides and swims and redoing Couch to 5K. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. What was the diagnosis on the foot? The pictures look awful! 🙁

    I’m currently dealing with a knee injury. Waiting to see the doc for a real diagnosis. I stopped running. It sucks. It’s hard. I’m miserable. But I’m trying to heal.

  3. I love the tips for running! I’ve always been a horrible runner and I enjoy reading knowledgeable posts from runners.

    Becca, I’m glad you talked with your doctor! We’ll catch up irl soon, probably at UG over bagels which you claim to be taking a break from… I’ll believe it when I see it 😉 hahaha

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