After injuring my IT band over the summer, taking over a month off of running, and training for the Baltimore Half-Marathon in three weeks, I promised myself no spring runs. I promised myself I would take a long off-season. I ran the Across the Bay 10k two weeks after the half, ran a turkey trot a few weeks later, and have been enjoying casual exercise ever since Thanksgiving. I’ve been swimming laps, lifting weights, using the elliptical and letting exercise just be a hobby. But last week, I got the itch.

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Runners, you know that itch. That desire to train. That desire to push. That desire to be out on the road with sweat dripping down your face and with the vision of a finish line in your head. So here I am about to register for the DC Rock and Roll Half-Marathon. I plan to start training Christmas week, and I think it’s the gift I’m most excited about receiving!

I’m ready to brave the cold again. I’m ready to train again. But this time, I’m going to do it right. I’m going to follow a plan instead of winging it. I’m going to stretch, foam roll and strength train before things become an issue. I’m going to listen to my body before I’m forced to take time off and go through a painful bout of physical therapy.

My injury taught me a lot about running correctly, and it taught me a lot about myself. I learned that being a runner is part of my identity, and I learned how to listen to my body. I’m ready to keep pursuing my goals and put my new knowledge to the test. Finish line here I come!

For more on my injury and recovery period, read my personal experience article “More Than Miles.”

What has going through a sports injury taught you? What fitness goals are you currently working toward?

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