From Setback to Comeback: How to Get Started Running After a Stress Fracture

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Injuries have caused many of us to begrudgingly engage in a running hiatus.  This week our series “From Setback to Comeback” covers one of our shoe buyers and how she overcame one of the higher hurdles that a runner can face, a stress fracture.

To those of you suffering through a setback, you are not alone and we feel your pain…literally.


Meet Becky. Injury free, she runs 40-50 miles per week. She enjoys running on rolling hills over flat surfaces, and while she normally runs on the road, she prefers trails when time permits. Convenience wins for her though, so getting out the door and not having to drive somewhere is preferable. For her road runs, Becky likes to run out by the vineyards or near the ocean to the pier. Her racing credits include mostly half marathons, two full marathons, and a 25k Trail race last winter that was her favorite race thus far.


What caused you to take a break from running? Approximately how much time did you have to take off?

Becky: I had a stress fracture in the lateral cuneiform bone of my left foot. The break lasted officially 8 weeks once I was properly diagnosed, but it slowed me down for an additional 8 weeks before that while I was waiting to see the Orthopedic doctor and get an MRI.


Were you able to do any other kinds of fitness activities? If so, what did you do?

Becky: I was able to swim, which I am not great at, but I got out there 5-6 days a week to try and keep moving.


How did this running break affect you emotionally?

Becky: It was quite difficult for me to get into a new routine and have extra free time. I struggled trying to find peace with the situation, especially because swimming did not fulfill me the same way running does. It happened a few months before my wedding, and it was tough to watch my body change. I had signed up for a marathon and gotten through a couple of 20 mile runs before I started having foot pain, so it was hard to accept that I had to drop out.


Can you briefly explain the progression of your comeback? How did you ease back into it?

Becky: I started with 2 miles once I got the okay, very slowly. And then I progressed back up over a period of weeks.


How long did this process take for you (from start of comeback until you felt fully fit again)?

Becky: It took me a good year or more from when it happened to feel I was back in the shape I was before it happened. And it took me another 2+ years before I attempted to train for another marathon and complete one.


Any tips of advice or encouragement you can offer to other runners that are sidelined?

Becky: It is not easy to keep your chin up when you want to be out there doing what you enjoy, but the break can be a good thing for your body. Use some of the extra time to reconnect more often with friends and family. Get extra rest and try something new to engage your body and mind. Know that you can come back and be more fit than you were before, and be patient as you get back into it. Listen to your body and slow down or stop when you need to. Make sure to eat plenty of nutrient dense foods so you can help your body heal!


Thank you for sharing your struggle with us, Becky. Stress fractures are unfortunately common for runners, and we appreciate your insight on how you got through it.

*This is just our shared experience, please note that we are not doctors and encourage you to take the advice from a trained professional with expertise concerning your particular ailment.

Shop Becky’s Top Shoe Picks

Shop the Nike Pegasus

Shop the Skechers GOmeb Razor

Shop the Nike Zoom Wildhorse

Shop Becky’s Top Apparel Picks

Shop the Nike 3″ Rival Short

Shop the The North Face Better than Naked Split Short

Shop the Lucy Light Speed Tank

Shop the Oiselle Flyout Short Sleeve

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Jenny is a marathon mom in every sense of the word. Not only does she run marathons, but she is constantly running around with her two kids, helping to teach them the value of an active lifestyle.

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