How to Cope Mentally with an Injury

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How to Cope Mentally with an Injury


As runners there are three words we never want to hear: “No more running.” It’s tough news to digest and especially if you are just starting to find your stride or you have a race coming up. Unfortunately, injuries are a part of the sport and they happen to many of us but as you go through your own abbreviated version of the Kübler-Ross stages of grief - denial, anger and acceptance - here are a few things you can keep in mind to help you cope mentally with being injured.

You are listening to your body. If you typically give your body what it wants & needs while you’re training (the proper nutrition, hydration, etc.) then why wouldn’t you allow it to recover from an injury? This is also something else it needs and it's found a very effective way to show it. It’s a tough thing to do, but by listening to your body you are doing yourself A LOT of good.

Even good runners get injured. It’s true! Running injuries don’t discriminate; they can happen to anyone regardless of ability or experience level. This is not to suggest that we should find comfort in other people’s misery but it does help to know that you are not somehow exceptionally prone to getting injured. There are others just like you!

This is a learning opportunity. Every runner that I have ever worked with has benefitted from something he/she learned while recovering from an injury. Whether it’s a new recovery tool or technique, or a better understanding of how your body responds to training, there is always something that being injured can teach you and that is a very big silver lining. Start to think about when the injury began to manifest itself (because it’s often something that starts off relatively small, then gets progressively worse) and what your training was like around that time. Did you run longer and harder than you have in a while then follow it up with a very intense workout without much recovery time? Did you build your mileage up too fast? Did you wear the right shoes for the activity? Were you getting enough sleep? Were you diligent with your recovery (stretching, rolling your muscles, icing any sore or irritated joints)? Take mental notes and commit to incorporating this knowledge into your training next time.

The running will still be there. Whenever you get back to good running health, the running will greet you at the door and show you a good ol’ time! Most of us are not elite athletes who are on performance-based sponsorship contracts or on a strict timeline and worried about the longevity of their career. The majority of us can take our time while recovering from an injury, and the key to doing this is getting out of our own heads about how fast we think it should take. It’s always in our heads!

You can run while you recover. All hope is not lost. When I was recovering from a hairline fracture in my lower leg I would routinely test it to see if I was able to run again. Then the time came when I could indeed put some running weight on it while it was still healing. This required a proper warm-up, the right shoes (the more cushioned the better) and a very gradual return to running (10-15 minutes at a time). I was less concerned about the miles than I was about the total time spent on my feet and I continued to run like this for weeks WHILE I was healing.

Stay involved. Running has a natural way of keeping you connected to others and motivated through the collective spirit of the running community, but the opposite is also true. When you’re not running it can be easy to become withdrawn because you’ve suddenly lost this connection. It doesn’t have to be this way. Finding ways to stay involved with something that is running-related can improve your mood and help you cope with your time off. This can be a great time to volunteer at a local race, help with a youth running program, assist with a running or fitness clinic or just drop by your local running store and chat it up with the staff or your running buddies. You may be surprised by what you learn or the perspective that it gives you.

Lean on your friends. Another way to avoid being withdrawn is to share the nature of your injury with your fellow running buddies. Runners are exceptionally supportive people and being able to talk about your experience can have a therapeutic and reassuring effect.

The fact is that running injuries are all too common but I’ve discovered that the trick is to be able to mentally cope with them and keep your head in the game so that you can come back to the sport stronger and better prepared to train again.

Stay mentally tough! You'll get through this.

Coach Mwangi

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Running is a sport that gives back exactly what you put into it, and that’s what makes it so fair. The more you run, the better you become, it’s that equitable. Every step that you take is a step toward building you into a stronger and more resilient runner, but progress doesn’t stop there. . A lot of your running strength can also be developed in the gym or by engaging in various forms of strength training designed to improve your running mechanics and the muscles and joints that support you.

You may think that strength or resistance training is just for certain types of runners, such as elite runners, sprinters or trail runners, but this simply isn’t true. Studies have shown that anyone can benefit from running-specific strength training and some of the many benefits include:

  • Better power & explosiveness - this isn’t just for sprinters, it benefits all runners and it can have a direct impact on your speed

  • Better balance - achieved by strengthening those intrinsic muscles in the lower legs used for stability & distributing weight evenly

  • Better coordination - achieved by improving muscle recruitment and proprioceptors

  • Better running economy - improved running posture and muscle endurance

  • Injury prevention - achieved by reinforcing muscles around the joints and improving shock absorption (after all, running is a contact sport!)

So what kinds of strength training should you do? That’s a great question! There are all kinds of exercise options (and fads) out there, and sifting through them to develop a meaningful training program can be daunting. The best solution is to work with a running coach or professional who believes in the benefits of strength training. We are not all created equal, and as runners we have individual imbalances and areas of weakness. The key to progress is creating a strength training program that addresses these individual needs and is tailored to you! 

However, generally speaking, there are proven “tools of the trade” you can use to build your running-specific strength:


These are the best at isolating muscle groups so that each group works independently of others and therefore realizes the MAXIMUM benefit of that exercise. Free weights can also be a great way to add resistance to running-specific movements such as squats & lunges.

Examples: dumbbells, kettlebells (in photo below) & medicine balls


These may not be as isolating, but they can assist you through an exercise movement, which can be very helpful especially for those new to strength training (ie. safer to use). Some of the more modern weight machines do actually have independently-moving parts and can closely mimic the effect of free weight training.


This is achieved by incorporating other sports which benefit a runner’s strength, speed, fitness, flexibility and coordination. Here are some examples of cross-training alternatives and their associated benefits:

No matter which exercise alternatives you choose to improve your running strength, there are some fundamental running-specific muscles that you should target:

  • Shoulders (deltoids)

  • Upper back (trapezius)

  • Quadriceps

  • Hip flexors

  • Hamstrings (upper & lower)

  • Gluteals

  • Calf muscles (soleus & gastrocnemius)

  • Core (both rectus & transversus abdominis)

As  you can see, running is a total body exercise, and while you don’t need to sculpt every single muscle fiber in your body, there are quite a few very important muscles involved, and focusing on these will turn you into a better and healthier runner.

Run better. Run smarter. Run for life.

Coach Mwangi


2016 Holiday Gift Guide


2016 Holiday Gift Guide

Its that time of year again the Holiday season is upon us and if you're in need of a few gift ideas look no further than Rhode Runner. We put together a little guide to help you along. 


The Garmin Forerunner 35 is the latest and greatest running watch from Garmin. We love this watch because while it gives you all you need (wrist-based heart rate, distance, pace, calories, steps, smart phone notifications, music control and much more) its also simple to use. Simple. We like that.


Like running in a blanket the Nike Therma Sphere 1/2 zip features Nike's Dri-Fit Technology. The inside of this awesome top features a brushed fleece polyester fabric is designed to keep you dry and warm this winter.  With 360 Degrees of reflectivity you'll be safe out there on those early morning or late evening runs. Our favorite part...built in Mittens. Yup Mittens.  



Mizuno is by far one of our favorite brands when it comes to Winter Running. Without a doubt it is the number one brand of Rhode Runner Staff. The reason? It heats up with moisture, yeah as you sweat and the garment pulls moisture from your skin it is heating up. It sounds like magic but we assure you it is just the Breath Thermo fabric doing its thing. This base layer fits a little snug but is an awesome peice to put under any running jacket or 1/2 zip. 


Reflective? Check. Warm? Check. Moisture Wicking? Yup. Cook ya breakfast? Well no...but they are a fantastic running tight at a great price. Does it get better? No. Do you want us to stop asking questions? Yeah....Alright. Anyway we absolutely loved these tights when they came in and there are a few staff members running around town in them for sure! 


Designed for the those who'd rather hit the treadmill this time of year, or sip a cup of coffee at the Coffee Exchange this cotton/poly blend is the perfect shirt for working out or hanging out. Plus bonus, you can rep the Rhode when you're out on the town. It comes in four great colors with mens and womens specific sizes so its perfect for anyone in the fam. 



Waterproof where it needs to be and breathable everywhere else this jacket is our go to shell for the winter months. When it starts to rain and get sloppy out there, you won't worry, you'll be dry and warm. Isn't that awesome? It also features 360 degrees of reflectivity and fits great. Does it get better than that? We don't think so. 




You ever hear that during the winter months all the heat escapes through your head? Not with this thing on! It'll keep that head nice and toasty. Cover up those ears in style look cool, stay warm and have yourself a great run! 



The perfect glove. Simple as that. Its warm enough without being to bulky. Its a polyester blend so it'll keep your hands dry. Its reflective. Its bright. You can use the phone with them on. You can hold onto things. My favorite part...its got a nose wiper on the thumb! So yeah. The perfect glove. 




The latest and greatest from Saucony! Featuring their brand new EVERRUN midsole its got cushioning for days. Lightweight, breathable, super cushy and yet super responsive it doesn't get much better than that. With their awesome Iso Fit Upper you won't even think you've got a shoe on. No seriously, its that good. 


Remember the days when you'd be grumpy your grandma gave you socks for Christmas? Well clearly your Grandma was not a runner. If she was she may have given you a set of these puppies. The Balega Mohair Sock is a bit warmer than other socks and does an awesome job of moving moisture to keep your feet dry and dry feet are happy feet. Mohair is great. Elton John had a whole suit of it. 

So thats it for Holiday Gift Guide this year! But there are plenty more awesome gift ideas at the rhode that you can check out this season.  Just ask your friendly Rhode Runner Associate when you stop in. We hope to see you soon!






When the weather gets colder its important to dress appropriately. Layering is key and be sure to always dress for 20 degrees warmer than it is outside. Read on to see what to wear when the chill arrives.


The base-layer sits right up against your skin. You want a base-layer designed to move moisture and keep you dry. The Nike DriFit knit above keeps you dry and is seamless to avoid chafing and irritation. Thumbholes keep your hands warm when the weather gets cold. 

2. Midlayer

The most versatile piece in your wardrobe is typically a mid-layer piece. The mid-layer will go over the long sleeve base-layer when the temps dip down into the low 40s and 30s. The versatility of the mid-layer allows you to wear it over a tank/short/long sleeves or under a shell depending on the temps. If you need one and only have money to buy one piece this season this is the one.

3. Shell

Last but not least. The shell is key on those windy cold nights. Made of a wind proof and water resistant material the shell will go over the top of the base-layer and mid-layer when the temps dips below 20 degrees. The shell is awesome on warmer rainy days as well when paired with a long or short sleeve t-shirt.

We hope this gives you an idea of what to wear throughout the winter months. If you have any questions do not hesitate to reach out to the friendly Rhode Runner Staff!  


How To Stay Safe and Visible This Fall


How To Stay Safe and Visible This Fall

With the weather getting cooler and the nights getting darker sooner we need to make sure to stay safe and visable this fall.  So here are some tips for staying safe! 

Stacia's out crushing' it with Matt in her VIZIpro jacket! 

Stacia's out crushing' it with Matt in her VIZIpro jacket! 

Hope that everyone enjoyed this as much as I did!  From everyone at Rhode Runner, we hope that you remember to stay safe and have a Happy Halloween!