View Full Version : ADHD and Running, How do you keep from overdoing it?


APSJ
07-20-09, 04:44 PM
After a particularly awful day yesterday, I decided to go for a run for the first time in four months.

About a year and a half ago I started trying to make a habit of running to help cope with stress and anxiety. Pretty quickly, I developed a stress fracture in my foot, which I eventually figured out was due to my not having good running shoes, and the fact that I increased my mileage too quickly.

I read that a stress fracture can take up to 6 weeks to heal. I gave it four, and it felt OK, so I tried running again, and it came back. Then I gave it another month, and it came back again. Then I gave it about two months and tried running again, and it came back again, etc. That was where I left off four months ago.

I've had a feeling for a while that the reason this keeps happening is that I've just been picking up where I left off with the distance I'm running instead of building back up to it. The problem is, my motivation for running is to work out stress and anxiety, and head off the crash I experience when my medication wears off(it is, incidentally, the only fix for this problem that has worked consistently for me). The more I run, and the more stressed I feel physically, the less stressed I feel mentally. Its very difficult for me, when I'm already feeling stressed and anxious, to get myself motivated for a short run that I don't think will do much to relieve these feelings. I really overdid it yesterday, and I sort of knew it at the time, but it felt worth it. Today I'm walking with a limp, and once again it will probably be at least a few weeks before I can run again.

I just wondered if anyone else has had this problem, and if anyone has any suggestions for dealing with keeping motivated when you have to build up to a level of exercise you've already built up to once before?

Zoom
07-20-09, 05:31 PM
I've found that I just can't run on concrete for long stretches of time. I get shin splints very easily that way (thank you, jr. high track), even when having good running shoes. So I compensate by finding a big field or dirt path and running around with my dog on that.

GreyStreet
07-20-09, 07:05 PM
Like Zoom said, fields and dirt paths are much better for feet and legs than any sort of pavement or soft/loose gravel/sand. What we did on easy days with my high school team was run the trails to the river and work off our energy splashing around there. We'd also do "foliage runs", which are shorter and slower but still feel tough, because we'd run through the woods, off the trails.

Something that might help you a lot is crosstraining. Go for shorter runs, but don't worry about not working out all your anxiety. Before or after your run, you could go for a bike ride, or swim, or try yoga, or whatever else you want that won't stress your foot.

I can tell you firsthand that you don't want to keep overdoing and end up with a permanent problem. I sprained my ankle pretty badly right before a cross country season and only took a week off before continuing to train and race all season, and it's still messed up 5 years later.

But yeah... try a variety of things besides running, and keep your runs short and on dirt or grass. I hope that helps!

Fierwing
07-20-09, 08:21 PM
It's easy!

When the temperature first starts to drop below 50 consistently, I simply give in to my pathological abhorrence of cold weather, and refuse to leave the house for anything that's not unequivocally mandatory (such as working enough hours to keep a roof over my head so that I don't have to be out in the cold). Then, when summer comes again, I'm so out of shape that my lungs give out and I have to stop long before there's any chance of damage to anything else. Can usually work my way back up to overconfidence just in time for another six-month long break. :D

Is there any way that you could alternate with something else which would require the same level of physical exertion but spread the stress out to some different muscle groups? Maybe swimming or biking like GreyStreet suggested?

The only thing of this nature which I've found really seems to help me when I can't get away for a fairly strenuous cardio exercise of some sort (in the middle of a work day, usually, or if it's blazing hot outside) is to combine something that will give me a little bit of muscle fatigue (like several sets of push ups and crunches-whatever I can do with nothing on hand but a floor) with an easier walk or light jog. It's not quite as good, but does still seem to hit a few of the major benefits that I get from a really hard run. (And I'm using the term hard extremely loosely... 'hard' in comparison to my base level of fitness.)

APSJ
07-20-09, 10:16 PM
Something that might help you a lot is crosstraining. Go for shorter runs, but don't worry about not working out all your anxiety. Before or after your run, you could go for a bike ride, or swim, or try yoga, or whatever else you want that won't stress your foot.

I can tell you firsthand that you don't want to keep overdoing and end up with a permanent problem. I sprained my ankle pretty badly right before a cross country season and only took a week off before continuing to train and race all season, and it's still messed up 5 years later.

But yeah... try a variety of things besides running, and keep your runs short and on dirt or grass. I hope that helps!


Is there any way that you could alternate with something else which would require the same level of physical exertion but spread the stress out to some different muscle groups? Maybe swimming or biking like GreyStreet suggested?

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I live in a park with paved walkways where people, including me, usually run and it hadn't occurred to me to try running on the grass. I will give it a try(when I recover, hopefully, I really don't want to give myself a permanent injury)

I think my core problem may be that I don't have the best motivation for maintaining an exercise regimen. I just want to be able to take advantage of the psychological benefits when and as I need them, improving physical health, as long as it doesn't become a problem for me, is a fairly low priority at the moment.

Running or biking for at least an hour are the only two things that seem to help really significantly in that regard. I live on a second floor walk-up with a really narrow staircase(and a ground floor, so there's actually 3 flights of stairs), and getting my bike down the stairs without scratching up the wall is too challenging a task to contemplate when I'm really stressed out. Swimming might be something to look into in the future, but I don't have access to a pool at the moment.

The only thing of this nature which I've found really seems to help me when I can't get away for a fairly strenuous cardio exercise of some sort (in the middle of a work day, usually, or if it's blazing hot outside) is to combine something that will give me a little bit of muscle fatigue (like several sets of push ups and crunches-whatever I can do with nothing on hand but a floor) with an easier walk or light jog. It's not quite as good, but does still seem to hit a few of the major benefits that I get from a really hard run. (And I'm using the term hard extremely loosely... 'hard' in comparison to my base level of fitness.)

Earlier this year I had actually gotten myself to do sit-ups and pull ups, etc. a couple of times a week, and kept it up for nearly two months.(a record for me) It was never particularly helpful in dealing with immediate stress or anxiety, but I feel like it did help my mood somewhat. It never occurred to me to combine it with a short run for some reason. I'll give it a try(again, assuming recovery).

peripatetic
07-20-09, 10:33 PM
that's a tough one...i totally understand why you'd want to run and why it sucks to build up...

are there running/jogging groups in your area? i personally hate running with others, but if you can stand it, you could start in the 'beginner' group, or go with the folks running 12 minute miles or something. if you slow down and keep their pace for a couple of miles, then you won't overtax yourself. i agree with the other poster who said cross-training is good. if you build up some of the muscles in your ankles, etc, then you should be less prone to stress fractures.

good luck!

-peri

ginniebean
07-21-09, 01:49 AM
I just wondered if anyone else has had this problem, and if anyone has any suggestions for dealing with keeping motivated when you have to build up to a level of exercise you've already built up to once before?

Having dealt with a lot of sports injuries in the past as a massage therapist, I can say it's sure is common to re-injure due to getting out too soon. What you need to consider is that you've now reinjured your foot several times This is always going to be weaker than had you never injured yourself. You may have to consider a low impact alternatives like cycling or a low impact machine that gives you the intensity you desire without causing yourself more injury.

doiadhd
07-21-09, 02:00 AM
I used to play soccer very often and used to always get injuries in my foot ankle groin regions,then have to go to work the next day....up and down ladders-very physical work.....

What I found myself doing was slightly changing the way I walked or used my feet....sort of a limp.but not.Lets say the injury was on the outside of my foot,instead of walking/running with the pressure constantly on that side,I'd try to use it the opposite way,of how I walked...(hard to explain here)....Heel,outside of foot,to toe-instead-heel to big toe.....

What I had to watch out for was running instead of jogging-I'd get a bit carried away.
Found out that I was better off running(not jog) in the end,with lots of breaks and stretches....!!
With music-If I was to go out again I'd choose something with a calmer tempo,I'd be running to the beat lol(sound stupid i know)
Running trainers a must.....
Warm up-warm down!
Think it would have been better for me to have a snack before....and stuff my face after.(that food would be gone before it hit my stomach;))

Bit woffled but...hope there is something there.

Doi-needs to start running again!

APSJ
07-21-09, 09:52 AM
are there running/jogging groups in your area? i personally hate running with others, but if you can stand it, you could start in the 'beginner' group, or go with the folks running 12 minute miles or something.

I can see how this would be helpful for many, but unfortunately, people are my primary stressors. I'm going to resist quoting No Exit here....

Having dealt with a lot of sports injuries in the past as a massage therapist, I can say it's sure is common to re-injure due to getting out too soon. What you need to consider is that you've now reinjured your foot several times This is always going to be weaker than had you never injured yourself. You may have to consider a low impact alternatives like cycling or a low impact machine that gives you the intensity you desire without causing yourself more injury.

i agree with the other poster who said cross-training is good. if you build up some of the muscles in your ankles, etc, then you should be less prone to stress fractures.

Found out that I was better off running(not jog) in the end,with lots of breaks and stretches....!!
With music-If I was to go out again I'd choose something with a calmer tempo,I'd be running to the beat lol(sound stupid i know)
Running trainers a must.....
Warm up-warm down!


Thanks, this is all good advice. I think I'm going to have to acknowledge that I need to choose between doing cross-training, stretching etc. or just not being able to run on a regular basis.


What I found myself doing was slightly changing the way I walked or used my feet....sort of a limp.but not.Lets say the injury was on the outside of my foot,instead of walking/running with the pressure constantly on that side,I'd try to use it the opposite way,of how I walked...(hard to explain here)....Heel,outside of foot,to toe-instead-heel to big toe.....

I've been doing that all today and yesterday. The inner arches in my feet are what hurts today, so I'm walking on the outer sides of my feet. This is actually quite encouraging though, as my stress fracture seemed to be on my second metatarsal, and the pain was always on the top of my foot.

Maybe I didn't refracture it!

doiadhd
07-21-09, 11:58 AM
I've been doing that all today and yesterday. The inner arches in my feet are what hurts today, so I'm walking on the outer sides of my feet. This is actually quite encouraging though, as my stress fracture seemed to be on my second metatarsal, and the pain was always on the top of my foot.

Maybe I didn't refracture it!

I know I can handle pain,i'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing yet.
Is this quite new to you,the exercising i mean?
If so,it'll take a long time to adjust.Maybe do what,i think firewing?said,and try another form of exercise like swimming....then maybe back on to jogging when you have woken the body up.

APSJ
07-21-09, 12:08 PM
I know I can handle pain,i'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing yet.
Is this quite new to you,the exercising i mean?
If so,it'll take a long time to adjust.Maybe do what,i think firewing?said,and try another form of exercise like swimming....then maybe back on to jogging when you have woken the body up.

I was really averse to exercise for its own sake until about a year and a half ago(although I liked hiking, and biking when I had a destination, and being in the city without a car, I walk everywhere.).

My significant other has been running for a few years, and finally got me to go with her, and after a few times, I started to like it, but only if I increased the distance every time(I don't pay any attention to speed). This was probably not a good approach, but its now really hard for me to go out and just run for a mile or two, even if I tell myself I'm going to when I set out. I am going to try to combine a shorter run with some other kinds of exercise and see if it gives me a similar benefit though. The challenge will be making myself actually stop running when I should after the endorphins kick in.

doiadhd
07-26-09, 04:10 PM
I was really averse to exercise for its own sake until about a year and a half ago(although I liked hiking, and biking when I had a destination, and being in the city without a car, I walk everywhere.).

My significant other has been running for a few years, and finally got me to go with her, and after a few times, I started to like it, but only if I increased the distance every time(I don't pay any attention to speed). This was probably not a good approach, but its now really hard for me to go out and just run for a mile or two, even if I tell myself I'm going to when I set out. I am going to try to combine a shorter run with some other kinds of exercise and see if it gives me a similar benefit though. The challenge will be making myself actually stop running when I should after the endorphins kick in.

I know what you mean,I only started to jog about a year and a half ago,but had played football/soccer often,before I started I told a flatmate I was worried incase I started doing it too ofetn....I was going out twice a day,somedays....the main thing that stops me now are the hills,my back tightens around the base of my spin,like a form of cramp.....well that and I can't find my headphones.