Couch to 5K
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Fell Down the Stairs... Again

This is not the next installment of my "Truth about Nutrition, Exercise and Weight loss" series. I haven't forgotten. In fact, because so many of you were so eager, and because I feel it is important to get it right, I am actually writing the next installment offline, and will post it when I feel it is ready. So, I apologize for the delay, but it will be coming. Promise.

Even so, I wanted to give a little update on how my running is going. It isn't. One week ago today, I fell down the stairs in my house. It is a recurring problem for me, that navigating steps is difficult. I trip up on sidewalk curbs too. I suspect it is a depth perception thing, but I don't know. Now I live in a split-level house, which isn't as good as a bungalow for not having stairs, but better than a normal 2-story, and the tallest staircase is only a half staircase. So I was lucky and got pretty bruised and banged up, and strained my shoulder and something in my mid-back, but nothing really bad. Nothing broken, no need for medical intervention.... Although I do have visions, 40 years hence, of falling on stairs and breaking my hip at 75, and the presumably horrible consequences of such a fall at that age. Maybe I will find a way to avoid stairs altogether before then, since I suspect I am unusually vulnerable.

I tried rock-climbing the next day, and found I couldn't raise my arm up very well, so it was a pretty unsuccessful attempt. And after that, even going for a walk of part of my running route has left me gasping with unpleasant twinges when I lean the wrong way.

So I have been having a kind-of crappy time of it. I feel all un-moored without the structure of my workouts and running. Days drift by with little meaning or accomplishment. I tried to get right back on the horse, by going out climbing the next day, and going for a hike, but my body seemed to think that was much too soon. So now I am trying to be gentle and patient, and wondering if I am just lazy and unmotivated, and if I will ever run again. It all sounds so tragic and ridiculous, but that is my fear. That I will lose whatever determination I had that kept me running when it hurt, or had bad weather, or whatever. That I may even lace up and go out again today, or tomorrow, but that, having sat on my bum, "healing", this week, I will just taper off and quit before I get back into the swing and routine of it.

It's amazing how much I need the running now, after only 3 months. I got by for decades without it, and now a single week leaves me unable to sleep, riddled with guilt, and feeling like I am missing out on the blooming flowers and pride I got from running. I guess that bodes well for getting back into it. I hope so anyways.

7 Replies

OK - GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!! Be a little kinder to yourself. Falling down a flight of stairs is a big deal. It shakes everything up, you feel sore and a little vunerable.

You will run as soon as your body tells you that you are ready - don't panic you won't lose the amazing health gains you have made in the time your body takes to heal.

May be go and get your depth perception and sight tested? I have astigmatism and can't safely go down stairs without glasses either.

This is a small blip - you are a highly motivated person and a runner.


Thank you for the reality check. :) I do in fact have mild astigmatism, although I should think I could navigate stairs in my own home. More important, I needed to see this all a little more clearly. You are totally right - I am healing and will be back on my game soon.


Ooh dear ! I understand your eagerness to get back to running but please don't try and push on through the pain. I read an article recently about runners being more likely to try to ignore pain and not listen to their bodies telling them to rest. If you are tempted to push on when your body is telling you it needs a break, ask yourself what is more important. Do you want to still be enjoying running when you are 83 (randomly selected age!) and can you put up with the frustration of missing a few runs now, if it helps you to achieve that goal ? Spend your resting time compiling a training plan that will help you progress while minimising risk of injury.

Good luck !


Thank you. I need to keep it all in perspective. I am not yet really able to think about running for 50 years (or even 1 year, although I am working on it), but I take your point. I want to be able to do all these things a long, long time, and need to accept that there will be setbacks. I will be reasonable with my body.


Oh Alaiyo ! Poor you. What bad luck! Listen to everything Rhona says as she is right. Take it easy. Everything gets shaken up and stirred about when you fall, let alone down stairs. The last thing you should do is fret about not being able to run for a few days. It'll still be there when you are ready. Take care and be gentle with yourself. :-)


So true. The running will always be there for me. I just needed to get a better sense of perspective. Thank you.


Well said Rhona, you need to get your sight checked out Alaiyo apart from anything else it will give you peace of mind, there is nothing worse than wondering what may be wrong.

I hope your feeling better very soon, take it easy though, the paths and roads will be out there to return to when you are more able.


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