The life and times of an injured runner – part 2: HIIT and physio

Me with Martin, my physio after he told me I can start running again

If you follow me on Instagram, you will see that almost every other photo I post is of me doing some sort of HIIT training at home. If you don’t follow me on Instagram then let me tell you that while running has been out I have been HIIT training my heart out. Partly to build strength in my body and partly to do something – anything – while healing. I am used to running almost every single day and when that stopped I was at a loose end.

And not just in terms of physically, but I mean mentally too. I felt lazy, inadequate, and as if I had lost some of my self-appointed purpose. I spent less time outside in my own company and found myself hating my body (especially my legs) as they were more or less useless to me.  And then time passed. I felt as if I was mentally recovering. I stopped hating my legs for what they couldn’t do any more and started loving them for what they could – I could do mountain climbers and squats and burpees.

So what’s what I did and I threw myself into HIIT. HIIT classes are always more expensive that run clubs (which are generally free) so instead of finding myself leaking money, I used the NTC app which I have spoken about here and here. The app has a whole selection of workouts of different lengths and with different equipment. Every day I would do at least half an hour of HIIT. Sometimes this was cardio based and sometimes strength based or balance based.

It wasn’t the same as running but after a while I started to miss running less and less. I knew I could still do a good workout and sweat loads without injuring myself more. And the wonderful thing about doing this at home was –and still is – that I can tailor the workouts to suit me. I can stop when I need to and rest my knee if I need to. I had all the control and I loved that. The legs I hated I started to love again. I noticed muscles and definition in my thighs whereas before I saw pathetic twigs that couldn’t survive runs.

I still missed running, but as time went on my longing decreased. Because as with consistent running, consistently doing HIIT training meant there were results and those results were so gratifying. My push ups are now so much better and my elbows are always really close to my body, I can bear crawl for a minute (with good form), and mountain climbers are so much easier for me. I remembered that ‘being fit’ doesn’t just mean ‘running’.

While all this was happening my physio appointments were still going on. I was referred via my GP which meant that it was all through the NHS. Did any of you know that you can only get four appointments when referred via the NHS before you have to be discharged? No, me neither. But that means that this morning, it was my last physio appointment.

He was thrilled with my progress and was hugely complimentary with everything I had done to build strength. And, he even told me that I can start running again. But, and here’s the massive but, I am now scared of putting on my running training and heading outside. I don’t have him as a crutch any more to make things better. I don’t have him massaging my IT Band or increasing my hip mobility. What if I go running and it hurts so much I can’t continue?

What if I go running and damage myself so much that I can’t ever run again?

Of all the things, I never thought I would be scared. Running has now taken on the quality of a delightful memory, something I used to do in the past. I know I was in pain, but I don’t remember what it felt like any more. What if I don’t run? What if it stays as a memory and I just HIIT my way through life?

And now that physio is over there is so much I wish I had asked – do I still wear my knee support? Do I need to change my trainers? Should I run in this cold or wait? What if I only run on treadmills from now on?

What if I don’t ever run again?

I will run again – I want to. I felt so much joy I felt when Martin told me I can start running! But not today because I am scared. Scared of so many things and I really wish I wasn’t.

But I will start running again soon. 15 minutes or maybe just 10. Something to make it stop being a past dreamy adventure and more real.


  1. LycraLover 30th December 2016 / 6:42 am

    Wow. Look after youself rosh. What damage did you do? Was it a knee?

    • Rosh 31st December 2016 / 8:04 pm

      It is my knee and it’s from over using but it’s getting better, much better.

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