fb pixle

From ACL to 5K: How to Make the Injury Recovery Process Fun

by | Jan 4, 2013 | Fitness Info, Healthy Living, Sports Medicine

OHW Teammate Amanda Field is one of the most fun, upbeat and bubbly people you’ll meet. But when she tore her ACL while snow skiing in 2012 she was majorly down about the surgery, the long recovery process and being out of commission for awhile.

But she wasn’t down for long and decided to set a goal to look forward to and to keep her motivated during rehab and recovery training. And she picked a fun one!

The Color Run! It is a 5K but it isn’t just any ordinary 3 mile run. You start at the start line with a pristine white t-shirt but by the end, you look like you fell into a “Willy Wonka, tie dyed, vat of colored goodness” because you are blitz with a downpour of color during the run.

Amanda’s Recovery Tip Number 1: Pick something fun and low-pressure for your first event after surgery. You can work hard and push yourself but the focus is having fun and finishing the race. A great accomplishment after a touch surgery and hard rehab.

Here is How Amanda’s Experience with Her First Race After Being Cleared to Run Again:

How Did You Prepare for the Race?

1. Made a tutu. Most important 😉

2. I started with an every-other-day Physical Therapy running program. I had surgery in May but wasn’t able to run until mid August. I was basically starting at Ground Zero. For a while I felt like I was learning to ride my bike again for the first time. I was able to run the Color Run but slowly and surely my endurance and pace is getting back to where it was.

3. I harassed my friends to do it with me so it would be more fun and I had accountability when the training was painful or slow.

4. I made sure I had a headband and eye shadow to match my tutu. It was all about making it fun the first time back!

5. We hiked up to Capital Hill Des Moines, IA to get a prime spot in the

start line!!! I went all in for this first race back.

Amanda and her friends are ready to go!

How Did You Feel Race Day?

It was a bit chilly and I was a bit nervous. Even though it was just a 5K, it was my first race since my ACL surgery and there is a mental barrier to get over. It is part of the recovery process and getting back out there. But overall I was relaxed and excited as I had been looking forward to the color run all summer!

Amanda’s Recovery Tip Number 2: Trust your doctors, trust your surgery, and trust your rehab. You will get back out there and you can get back to your peak performance. Just give it time.

What Did You Enjoy Most About Your First Race Back?

1. The fun atmosphere.

2. Getting colored.

3. Not keeping time. I always timed myself in past races (it is a GREAT way to push yourself and beat personal goals), but this race was perfect for me to ease back into after my surgery. It was so care free and that was good for me.

4. My running group!!!  I ran with my husband and a group of 5 other


At the finish line. Looks like fun!

How Did You Feel After Crossing the Finish Line?

At the end of the race I felt EXCELLENT, it was a great way to get my

Work-out in for the day, while getting “colored” at the same time! It was good to get the first race post-op out of the way.

Amanda’s Recovery Tip Number 3: PT, PT, PT. Do what they say and don’t skip a single step. PT is what will make or break you!

Now that you’ve heard Amanda’s story, we want to hear yours! What was your recovery process like? How did you overcome physical or mental roadblocks? What was your first event like after the recovery process?

You can share your advice and hard-learned lessons with the OHW Community on our Facebook page or by emailing us. Why not help someone else out that might be going through a similar experience?