Preventing Mental Overuse Injuries

In the nearly five years (whoa) that I’ve been running, through 25+ half marathons, 4 full marathons and bunch of shorter races, I’ve been relatively injury-free.

I’ve had some runner’s knee issues a few times, but I’ve never (KNOCK ON SERIOUS WOOD) had an injury that’s sidelined me for more than a week or so, and I consider myself very lucky for that. I’m also really careful to not push myself to the point of an overuse injury. At even the slightest hint of knee pain/injury, I back things way off. Please see: four boring loops of the park on a bike instead of a lovely run.

I know that long-term running is more important to me than short-term running, and I’m willing to make sacrifices for the long-term.

Well, I think my brain is kinda like my knee. It needs some rest sometime so that it doesn’t develop its own overuse injuries and so that it can recover and regenerate so I can be fresh and creative at work and in life.

Last week, I had something to do every night after work: some work-related, some Junior League obligations and a few fun things. A few weekends ago, I was walking home from work with a coworker on a Friday evening. We were discussing weekend plans, and I basically had my weekend planned out every minute. I hadn’t intended to do so, but beyond a few obligations, a bunch of things came up that sounded too fun to say no to. However, talking about my weekend, all I really wanted to do was go get into bed and rub Bailey’s belly.

I love being busy and social, but everyone needs to rest and recharge, so this weekend, I did a whole lot of that.

Well, after the juicepress run club, the best part of any weekend. I MEAN, YOU RUN FOR FREE SMOOTHIES.

And then Emily and I went to Lori A.’s SoulCycle class, since Emily had been preaching the Lori gospel for a while. GOOD LORD THE 77TH STREET LOCATION IS STRESSFUL. But Lori’s energy was amazing, and did not disappoint.

After that, it was time for some solid me time in my apartment. Just me, my stuff and a bunch of trash bags. I’ve long thought that cleaning is a key part to mental health, too, and I needed a big dose of unwinding via cleaning yesterday.

I’ll be going home for Thanksgiving on Wednesday, but my parents needed some TLC as much as I needed some downtime, so I hopped on a train yesterday and headed out to NJ for some quality time with them, for no good reason. No holiday, no obligation, just some good ole’ QT with them.

I stayed in my pajamas until 1pm today, and IT WAS GLORIOUS. I took a bath in my parents’ big Jacuzzi tub and soaked my sore muscles.


Gratuitous leaf shot.

I went to see a friend and her baby, and then came back into the city and some more great me time.

We have some awesome recipes at work that I spend a lot of time reading/social mediaing, and there have been two that I’ve been dying to try. Butternut Squash Soup and Spaghetti Squash. I made them and love my life now.

While the squashes were roasting, I had 20 minutes or so. I hadn’t worked out today and wanted to get a little movement and some stretching in, so I did one of our yoga videos.



I got a quick mani, and now I’m writing this post and am going to sleep feeling happy and calm, rather than stressed that I felt like I didn’t fit everything in over the weekend and didn’t have enough time to myself.

Monday, bring it on.

15 comments on “Preventing Mental Overuse Injuries

  1. George Godin

    Great post here. I totally agree with you. Long-term running is more important than short-term running. I also love doing yoga. Not just it keeps me fit and healthy but also I feel so relax every time I do yoga.

  2. Niki

    I am also one of those people who needs some mental down time, but I need it daily. I should work on incorporating some type of meditation in my life – I think that would help. It sounds like you had a wonderful weekend!

  3. Katie

    Nice work! I have to make each weekend a little different, this weekend I was busy and saw different groups of friends, next weekend will be family, its good to mix it up.

  4. Mom

    Great weekend, seeing my daughter for some real Mom and daughter talks, (Dad too) going out to dinner, and oh those Minmosas at Breakfast just made my day Thanks I’m so lucky and thankful everyday for you!

  5. Liz

    I soooo hear you on the mental “brain” break – I took a little running time out to focus on some other activities and I’m loving it! I have a 10 miler in Jan that I need to start training for but really, I’m happy running little bits here and there…I spent so much time training between the spring half marathons, then NYC…its fun to just zone out and not follow a set plan sometimes.

  6. Vicky

    Ahhh, sounds like a great weekend. On an airplane they tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first for a reason. We’re no good to anyone else if we haven’t nourished ourselves first.

  7. Nicole

    Totally on board with me time…I always need to recharge after working with an interacting with so many people during the week! I also made butternut squash soup this weekend. My packed lunches this week will be wonderful!
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  8. Annie

    Our brains definitely need relaxation; glad you got some! I didn’t get a chance to say hi on Saturday at the Juice Press run (I’m obsessed)! I usually tack on another 5-6 miles so let me know if you ever want to run some more before/after!

  9. Kristine

    Oh I completely agree – I’m a big fan of relaxing, no-plan weekends. Movie/wine nights, runs, SoulCycle classes, baking/cooking, reading, catching up on DVR – good for the mind AND body. I live ~45 minutes from my family and I love going to home to catch up too!

  10. Shannon @ Mon Amour

    I completely agree. I often find that if I get mentally burned out I will physically soon after. I love taking the end of the year to enjoy the holidays and being with friends and family and not worry about training or fitting in so.much.stuff. Finals don’t help though

  11. Charice

    Great post! I agree you should always consider running for the long term and not just a seasonal thing. It’s very important to understand what pains you get and try to cure it before doing more running.

  12. Laura Yamin

    I agree with you re: rest/me time.

    Personally, I am such a do-er always on the go, busy, busy. I have run myself to the point of quite a few burnouts. I do struggle with the idea of doing less and just be present to my life. I know it makes a world of a difference in the long term.

    I am glad that you are treating yourself to some me time!


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