As I’m laying on the couch for the 7th day after my operation last Monday I’ve had some time to think and re-evaluate my goals for recovery. Before this operation my motivation was at an all time high for training hard and getting those PBs this year as I failed to get any last year.
When the surgery date was put in place the first thing I thought was “it’s gonna ruin all my pb attempts in the next few months”. Instead of thinking how the operation is going to make me better in the long run all I focused was the short-term and how it’s a nuisance in my training right now. Silly right? What’s even worse is that I started googleing the recovery times for my op and more importantly “When can I run after umbilical hernia repair”?
In case you wondered this is what the NHS says:
“Most people are able to do light activities after one or two weeks. Gentle exercise, such as walking, can help the healing process. Heavy lifting and strenuous activities should be avoided for about four to six weeks.”
First thought; Running isn’t strenuous though so probably less than the 4 weeks? Again, very silly to be focusing on that. I think one major thing that makes us want to speed the process up is the comparing game we do with others. I follow hundreds of runners on Instagram and see how their training is going and inevitably end up comparing myself with them. I’m not majorly competitive but I am to some extent and it kills me to see someone who is similar to me in running times progressing when I’m not. But why? Again, so stupid. What I do want to thank social media for is that it also opened my eyes to comparing other not so great circumstances. I follow a girl who had to take a year out from running because of overtraining. I follow another girl who had to take a year out because of a knee operation. All of these people are still alive, they survived their running break, and they can come back to running when they are ready. What about the elite athletes whose whole career is their sport? I’m sure the impact of taking time off is ten times worse for them. So why am I worrying over my potential one month break? It just sounds really silly when you put things into perspective. Instead of comparing myself to the ones who are training really well for their perfect race right now, I’m thinking about the ones who had to take a year or more out. One month or even 6 weeks off running really isn’t a long time in the grand scheme of things.
However, as I’m still me and you can’t change yourself that quickly, my first question to the surgeon was “When can I run after this”? To my surprise, she said 2 weeks. I was momentarily really happy over this but when I asked other nurses and googled some more the general advice tends to be longer than that. Now the old me would 100% take the advice with the shortest possible time – I would probably even run after 10 days (as that’s almost 2 weeks right!). After my broken ankle few years ago my physio gave me one clear instruction: “don’t run yet” and I came back to the next appointment embarrassed having to admit I had run. What was the result? I ended up with few years of various injuries because I never strengthened my ankle properly and rushed into running way too early. I would like to say that I’m going to be smarter this time, not as smart as taking 2 months off but smart enough that I will listen to my body, I won’t take the 2 week advice and I won’t sign up to any races that would tempt me to start running sooner than I should.
Recovery is SO important, especially after injuries and illness, and the recovery time really isn’t THAT long even though at the time it seems like it. Don’t compare yourself with anyone, just focus on healing yourself 🙂
Have a great week everyone!