The following guest post is from our Best Damn Runner, Molly Casey. You can follow her blog at There Goes Molly Rose.


Finding Motivation to Run After an Injury

Running was an absolute chore in high school. I had friends who were on the track team, so I did the high school thing and conformed. It kept me in shape, so I really couldn’t hate it.

Running in college was spontaneous – running around the stadium with a friend, running to the end zone during intramurals, and of course, running late to class.

By the time I graduated college I had two ACL repairs, and was recovering from the second during my first few weeks back home. And as soon as I was cleared to begin running again, it became something it had never been before: running was hard.

All of a sudden I cared about how slow I was, how it didn’t feel as natural as before, and my mind was focused on not loosening up a ligament. Where had the simplicity of lacing up my running shoes for a quick jog gone, and why had I not appreciated it so much before?

I think becoming injured opens up your eyes a bit. Pre-injuries, you think you’re invincible. Being on the sideline teaches you a lesson, and makes you realize how grateful you should be to even have the feet the knees the hips the pumping arms the determined mind (and everything in between!) that gets you through a run.

When it takes forever to finish what used to be an easy “jog around the block” and you find yourself nursing aches and pains by the time you get home at the old age of 22, you start to become discouraged and lose motivation. But those little setbacks are short-term and with both physical and mental training, you can enjoy the sport again.

Ways to Find Motivation:

  1. Get a new running outfit. Get fitted for shoes that make those lower limbs happy and comfortable. Buy a top and shorts that match {or don’t. It’s rare my workout outfit matches; a complete miracle if I’m not donning 8 different colors} I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about a new running outfit that gets me out the door!
  2. Create a killer playlist. A random compilation of rap, hip-hop, indie rock, and movie scores are always on my iPod. I put the faster songs towards the end so that they pick me up when I’m feeling worn down.
  3. Phone a friend. Sure there are times I want to hit the pavement solo and get lost with my thoughts, however I have found that running with a friend makes it so much easier. You have someone to chat/huff and puff with, and you can encourage each other along the way. Running dates are the new coffee shop meet-ups, don’t ya know. 😉
  4. Keep in mind what you ARE capable of. There are people out there who can’t do what you can do. Be grateful for what you have to work with, and improve upon it. Memorize a few motivating quotes/verses/mantras to repeat in your head as you’re chugging along. Running may not feel the same as it was before, but stay positive, stick with it and it’ll be your best friend again in no time.
  5. SIGN UP FOR A RACE. Once you’ve submitted your payment online and put a facebook status about it, there’s no going back. You’re committed. Putting it on your calendar, marking off days, and even writing down your daily training can help keep you in check and keep you excited for the big race! Whether you’re dabbling in a new distance, shooting for a PR (personal record), or doing it with a friend for a fun weekend event (yes, us runners are weird and we find that fun), signing up for a race is a huge motivator for me to keep running.

That last surgery was over 4 years ago now. I’m still very cautious to not participate in anything that could tweak it, but I also don’t let it hold me back from new experiences and new fitness endeavors. Have fun, look at the bright side of things, and just. keep. running.


Tell me…

Have you ever had an injury that kept you from your sport?

How did you find motivation to get back at it?

I ran the 5k in Orlando last year, you can read my recap here.