This Is What Happens When You Haven’t Run for 5 Days

Or done anything physically active like cross-train. You get snarly, sarcastic, and scornful

I wanted to post an update on my knee today (well, the severe reaction I got from the Orthovisc injection I received on Monday). Since I last mentioned it, my knee has gone from bad to worse. Despite my icing, anti-inflammatories, and compression, the swelling has increased and I’ve also had a lovely rash develop that has spread from my knee to my shin. Suffice to say I haven’t been able to run. Well I haven’t been able to barely walk much less run. What gets me the most is that this isn’t even a running injury and it’s sidelined me (well, it didn’t stop me from going out last night, but that probably wasn’t the best idea)

P.S. How awesome is this Wildfox Couture t-shirt? I love how it's a riff off the Nirvana tee

This week has been sort of a blur. I just CAN NOT believe that the treatment that was supposed to help me run farther, faster instead sidelined me for an unknown amount of time. I think I am in shock. Instead of doing the 6 mile tempo and 12 mile long run I had planned, I’ve been sitting on my ass.

I feel fat and lazy. Seriously! Soon I’m going to have to walk around wearing a MuMu (is that how you spell it?)


Oh, and don’t get me started on my anxiety over how much endurance I will lose because of this. I was on an upswing. A PR of 1:40 in my last half marathon, I’ve been getting stronger by training on hills, and have been looking forward to three races in the next two months, including the Charlottesville 10 miler a week from tomorrow.

Research shows that there is little reduction in fitness (well, V02 max, the volume of oxygen you can consume while exercising at your maximum capacity) the first 10 days of inactivity. After 2 weeks, V02 max decreases slightly more and after 3 weeks it dramatically drops off. The bottom line? You shouldn’t be too worried about losing significant fitness if your break from running is less than two weeks.   Especially if you have been cross-training during that time. I found this nifty chart here that outlines the progressive decrease in fitness over time when not running.

So if you’re laid up for less than 2 weeks, you shouldn’t be worried…but that doesn’t mean you won’t, right?

It’s been about 5 days since what I’m going to call “the incident” (the injection) and my swelling hasn’t gone done. In fact, it is getting worse! I really can’t see how I will be anywhere close to running–or doing ANYTHING active–this time next week. That’s cutting it really close to 2 weeks. NOT ok. So I went back to the doctor’s office yesterday.

I’m back on Prednisone, the devil drug. To be honest, I’ve actually never had any problems with it before even though a lot of people gain weight while taking it (yea, and that is supposed to help me feel better about not exercising?? Right….) Problem is, I’ve already tapered off the highest dose and my knee is just as swollen and painful. I’m going back in to the doctor on Monday and demanding a cortisone shot (well, isn’t that ironic? We did the Orthovisc so that I wouldn’t need a cortisone shot, which can hurt the joint over time). The other option is having my knee aspirated, a fancy word for drained. I know what you’re thinking. Ew. But I’ll do anything to reduce this damn swelling so I can at least get up and walk around! There’s no saying what kind of underlying damage has been done once the swelling goes down (when your joint swells it has fluid with enzymes that can hurt the cartilage. Great).

Of course most of my family and friends are not a great comfort because all they say is “you should take time off running anyways, it is bad for you”. A total misconception, but runners and non-runners will never truly understand each other.

So if you need me, I’ll just be here at home. Not running. Not exercising. Probably eating. And big, fat, and puffy like a balloon.  Going crazy.

Do you have family or friends who don’t understand your running? How often does someone tell you that you should stop or that it’s bad for you? (Me? too often…)


*Have you entered to win a Golden Ticket to be able to register for the sold out Marine Corps Marathon on October 28th? (the fee to enter is $95, the golden ticket gives you guaranteed ability to register) You can do so for only a few more days here

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13 Responses to This Is What Happens When You Haven’t Run for 5 Days

  1. Great info about the VO2 Max stuff. I’ve been sidelined with a running injury for almost 6 weeks so now I’m defniitely worried!! Do you think 5-6 days of cross training is any help?

    Sorry to hear about your knee issues. Not running is always the hardest part!

    • Oh no!!! I’m so sorry to hear about your injury! It’s great that you have been able to cross train so it probably won’t be too bad when you get back to running. When I initially hurt my knee last summer I took 8 weeks off and was able to get back into running within a month. I hope you get better soon! 🙂

  2. Sandee says:

    So sorry about your knee. Ugh. It does suck when people don’t understand. Last week the doc said I have tendinitis/bursitis in the hip and to not run. Basically she’s anti running in general. She wasn’t to sympathetic when I discussed my bigger goal of running my first marathon this fall. But I’m following her orders for now and still cross training. Can’t wait to run again though. Good luck to you!

    • Oh that must have been really hard to hear Sandee! I developed bursitis in my hip when I first moved to Charlottesville and was training on all of the hills. I got a cortisone shot and just rested up (also it helped to stretch my hip flexors a lot). It did eventually get better and I haven’t had the problem since so I’m sure it won’t be long until you are back to running. On a separate note, I’ve found that most doctors, unless they are runners themselves or are in a running-specific sports medicine department, aren’t that supportive, which really stinks (you’d think they would know how the benefits or running far outweigh any costs). Good luck with the injury!!

  3. jeffreygaudette says:

    Thanks for linking to my article, Claire. I am glad it could help put some of your fears about taking some time off to rest. Regardless, taking time off from running is never easy, but I hope your knee heals quickly and you’re able to get to the bottom why things are flaring up. Good luck!

  4. lightpaw says:

    soooooo true! get well soon#!

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