(or a lesson in how NOT to come off a gym break)
Life has been quite busy lately. After pushing to get to a certain weight before Juls' wedding, I (well, we) took a several week break from running and focused on work and on our visitors. In retrospect, I wish I hadn't gone cold turkey.
About a month ago, I finally got the motivation to get back to the gym, and did too much too soon. On the one hand, I went hard because my level of athleticism hadn't fallen off as much as I had feared - I was so happy that I could still run at the times and distance I could three weeks earlier, that I did way too much and my legs were not ready. On Day 3, after doing 5 miles in two workouts on Day 2, I felt some unusual pain in my right quad. I knew it was bad but finished my workout, knowing that it would be my last for awhile. I put some ice on it and took some advil, hoping it would be ready to go again in a few days.
Well, it turns out, quad injuries are difficult to heal, because we use our quad so much when we walk. In the morning it would feel fine but at the end of the day it hurt (and I don't have a job at which I'm on my feet much), and running was out of the question - it was obviously strained. It reminded my of my (probable) stress fracture back in 2009 - where most activity was out of the question.
A week later, without any improvement, I decided that I would basically have to take a weekend and stay off my leg to the extent possible, wrap it and apply ice every few hours. I'm not sure if it helped, but by that next week, it was feeling much better. 2 weeks post-injury, I did 20 minutes on the elliptical and 10 minutes on the treadmill without pain. But I knew that I should probably go easy on it because the muscle felt weak.
So now here I am - trying to start up again and avoid another such injury. I did a mile on Saturday and 2 miles last night, and am hoping to get back to 3-4 days a week training until I feel like I can up the intensity again. I'm also brainstorming ways to get some weight training in, both to help prevent another like injury and to fix this hip problem I've been having for months when I run. But I'm happy to be past the injury, and happy that I didn't gain much (if any) weight in the interim.
Update: going to try these exercises tonight.