6 weeks ago I suffered my first real, completely-on-the-bench running injury. I suffered a grade 2 sprained ankle during my first of 2 legs of the North Country Trail Relay. After the sprain I still managed to run another 9.9 miles to finish my portion of the race...had I stopped our team of 6 would have been disqualified. I figured "eh, the damage is done. Might as well press-on."
Perhaps that was unwise, but my recovery went about expected for the severity of my sprain. And I wasn't good about elevating or icing as much as I should have. I also drank alcohol (Oberon...sweet sweet Oberon) in the first 24 hours of the injury. I pretty much did everything wrong in the first 48 hours.
But I have been pretty good about doing the simple range-of-motion exercises and biking, rather than trying to get back on my feet too soon. I think it's very easy for those who only run to rush back into running after such an injury. Cross-training with my bike really helped keep me from feeling desperate at the loss of fitness. Even though I could not run for nearly 6 weeks, I think my running fitness loss is probably comparable to 3-4 weeks for one who doesn't do something in the interim to stay aerobically active.
The bike time also helped me to maintain my sanity. The thought of 5.5 weeks of no activity kinda makes me twitch. Those 5.5 weeks of fairly intensive biking have served to make me a stronger cyclist. My first century ride felt great--had it been cooler and less humid it would have likely been an even stronger ride. And I have the bonus of new muscles. My quads are less squishy. The # on the scale is still stuck, but my clothes are looser.
Speaking of new muscles...no one told me my adductors (inner thighs) would be the muscles to complain when I returned to running. During my first 2 short jogs since re-incorporating running I have only really had discomfort in those muscles. Weird. I don't even recall adductor pain when I first started to run. Today I have DOMS in my crotch after yesterday's measly 3-miler. *snort*