Back to Square One


by Simon Ong

For many runners, a new year means setting new goals, whether it involves starting a new running program or aiming for a new distance. Ever since I laced up my running shoes at the Country Hills Running Room, I have continued to set goals and worked very hard to make them a reality. The road to success is never easy, and there are many setbacks along the way. Setbacks include taking a break from running due to health reasons, losing motivation or becoming injured.

During my seven years of running, I can list all my running injuries, including runner’s knee, Achilles tendinitis, shin splints, and ankle sprains. This is not to scare new runners away from the sport. Running may bring some aches and pains when you are first starting out because your body is not used to the repetitive motion. Injuries may also occur when the body does not have time to adapt to the workout. You may be training too hard, running too fast or not getting enough rest between runs. If you are following a smart training program, such as the ones available at your nearest Running Room location, then running injuries should be minimized.

I am currently facing my worst injury so far. I had set a goal to break the 80-minute barrier at the half marathon distance. During the winter, I do most of my training indoors; however, I occasionally run outside when it is not freezing cold. One weekend in January, I decided to do my long run outdoors, but I slipped on ice and hit my head. I suffered a blackout for a short period of time.

Fortunately, someone called for help and I was brought to the hospital via ambulance. The bad news is that I have to stop running temporarily because I sustained a concussion. The good news is that I have no broken bones, and my legs are free of any injuries.

If you are injured and reading this article, I understand the pain of not being able to run and prepare for the goal race you have signed up for. You may be wondering: “Will I ever be able to run again?” That might sound overly dramatic, but if you have worked very hard every day, having that taken away from you can be heartbreaking. It can be difficult to see your hard-earned fitness levels declining. I am going through this myself right now, as I have not able to train or run consistently like before. The post-concussion headache and dizziness have kept me from lacing up my shoes. After two weeks of no training, I noticed a gain in weight and a loss of fitness.

Setbacks like these are meant to make us stronger. Take your time to accept the disappointment, but never give up hope. I came up with a mantra that I say to myself every morning: “I am strong, and I am on my road back to running faster than ever.” It is said that a positive mindset can do wonders for an injured runner’s recovery. All injuries require a certain amount of recovery time, so use that time to do things that make you smile. I will go cheer on my running friends and enjoy a post-workout meal with them, or maybe volunteer at a local race. If you, like me, are facing an injury, I wish you a speedy recovery.



Simon runs out of the Country Hills Running Room in Calgary. In a dream event, he would be paced by World Marathon Record holder, Eliud Kipchoge, on a course dotted with live gospel music and pizza stations every 10K. Besides running, he enjoys dragon boat racing, hiking, badminton, and floor hockey. He is a nurse by profession and is currently working towards his Master’s Degree in Public Health, greatly anticipating being able to help others on their wellness journeys. 

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