How I Turned A Fitness Setback Into A Comeback

AD | The sportswear featured in this post is kindly gifted by Adidas. Full outfit details are provided below.

How I Turned A Fitness Setback Into A Comeback | Laura has her hair up in a sporty pony tail. She's wearing an Adidas green sports bra and Stella McCartney embellished black cycling shorts. She is smiling and looking down at a Polar heart rate monitor which she is holding.

This time last year I wrote a post called ‘15 Things I’ve Learned From Running Every Day‘. I was feeling on top of the world. Then a mere month later disaster struck. An injury forced me to stop running for nearly six months.

I learned a lot during that period so I’ve written this post to explain what happened and how I recovered from my injury. I talk about maintaining a healthy mindset during an injury and how I turned a setback into a comeback!

My Running Injury – How It Happened and the Diagnosis

On Christmas Day I completed my first ever 10k run on the treadmill, but a few days later I started to feel a weird sensation in my hip. It was like a taut string being pulled every time I took a stride. At first I ignored it and tried to ‘run it off’. In hindsight that was incredibly stupid. At the time though I put it down to just feeling a bit more sore from the longer runs I’d been doing.

When ‘powering through’ didn’t work I took a couple of rest days. That didn’t work either! When I attempted to run again the ‘pull’ turned into a pain that became impossible to ignore. It felt like nerve endings were shooting sparks from my hip to my knee, all down one side.

I ended up visiting a local sports physio. He diagnosed that my hip flexor muscles had become so tight over time that it had affected my gait. My left hip was not moving as it should and this in turn meant that I was over exerting my left knee, causing it to inflame. Whilst it didn’t look like I had any permanent damage, if I continued to run I’d certainly do more harm.

I was prescribed stretching exercises to work through each day, plus weekly deep tissue massages to help relax the tight muscles. If you’ve never had a physio massage, believe me when I say that they are NOT pleasant. I was trying not to howl or kick out by reflex whenever he touched certain sensitive muscle groups. After each session I had tender and sore areas and felt pretty beaten up!

Not Giving Up

As part of my rehabilitation I was also advised to rest up completely from running. The hard part was that there was no clear timescale for when I’d be able to start up again. This was an incredibly low period for me! Being fit and active had become part of my life and had given me such amazing benefits physically and mentally. The sudden stop completely floored me.

How I Turned A Fitness Setback Into A Comeback | Laura has her back to the camera, she is wearing a red racer back sports bra and cycling shorts with the Adidas logo and Stella McCartney embossed onto the back. She is putting up her hair.

Whenever there had been reasons to stop running in the past, I’d given up on exercise completely and lost all of the fitness and stamina I’d worked so hard for. This time I was determined not to let that happen. I asked my physiotherapist for advice and he told me that I could continue being active, I just had to avoid anything that would cause stress to my hip and knee.

Discovering Something New

My boyfriend Oliver had recently taken up indoor cycling so I decided to give that a go. I figured it would be fairly low impact but still give me the high intensity cardio workout that I love. I bought a cheap spin bike, a phone mount for the handlebars and just like that my new fitness journey began!

The first few sessions were the hardest. I pedaled for half an hour the first day but on the second the saddle soreness was excruciating. It meant that I spent the whole time wanting to get off. I couldn’t imagine it ever getting better. I also missed running terribly. In desperation I bought a gel seat on next day delivery on Amazon (this one) and it brought almost immediate relief.

That’s when I started to get the cycling bug! I’ve always been data driven, so I started analysing the workout data from my Garmin watch. I learned about heart rate and cadence. Before I knew it, I was setting myself new goals and looking forward to my next ride.

Lessons Learned From My Running Injury

Eventually, I took some tentative steps back onto the treadmill, applying some valuable lessons learned to reduce the risk of further injury:

  • ALWAYS warm up.
  • Stretching is very important, no matter how boring or time consuming it can be.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Build up speed and distance very gradually.
  • Supplement running with other forms of exercise.


So what am I doing now? A mixture! On a typical day I warm up with a steady cycle ride. I keep my heart rate up and my cadence steady. Then I switch over to the treadmill and run my heart out!

Running is and will always be my first love. However now that I’ve discovered other forms of exercise that I enjoy, I like to switch things up every now and then. This allows the parts of my body used for running time to recover and strengthens other parts in a complimentary way.

How I Turned A Fitness Setback Into A Comeback | Laura is wearing an adidas red racerback sports bra and stella mccartney cycling shorts. She is mid way through a kettlebell rep

It’s worth mentioning that you don’t need a fancy electronic bike with integrated apps and screens to get in a good workout! I just use a manual indoor spin bike with my phone attached to the handlebars. I’ve found some great free guided workouts on Youtube. These can help improve areas of your cycling such as endurance or speed stamina. This HIIT Workout is my favourite for a quick but challenging blast on the bike!

Turning A Setback Into A Comeback


The point of this post is that for the first time I didn’t let a setback become a full stop. Instead, I turned that setback into a comeback! I pivoted to something new and surprised myself by enjoying the fresh challenges that it brought. Then, when I did eventually regain my running fitness, I’ve gone on to hit new goals. I’ve now run a 15k, but the next day reverted to a shorter recovery run. I don’t intend to repeat the same mistakes again.

Outfit Details

Red Sports Bra:

Green Sports Bra: earth)

Stella McCartney High Waist Bike Shorts:

Stan Smith Shoes:

All of the sportswear pictured is kindly gifted by Adidas from their gym training range.

How I Turned A Fitness Setback Into A Comeback | Laura is wearing an adidas red racerback sports bra and Stella McCartney cycling shorts. She has her back to the camera

The Stella McCartney bike shorts are my first dip into ‘sports luxe’. I was really impressed at the quality and functionality which have come in handy on my lengthy bike rides and runs. The sweat wicking material keeps me in cool comfort and the material is buttery soft without any awkward seams.

Please note that the sizing is snug on these shorts and the sports bras. I like this, but you might want to go up a size if you like a bit of ‘give’ in your gear.

I was also thrilled to discover that Stan Smith now offer a huge range of vegan trainers in their signature styles. They’re made with Primegreen, their series of high-performance recycled materials and Better Rubber, an innovative sustainable compound rubber.

Note that these are not running trainers, I bought these for general activities like walking to the playground to lark about with the little ones. They’re the perfect way to smarten up jeans or provide a more relaxed and casual feel to a dress. Basically they work magic with almost any outfit – lush!

I really hope this post on how I turned a setback into a comeback helps anyone out there feeing dejected at the moment. Injuries do happen, but so does recovery. In the meantime, in the immortal words of Ross Gellar: “PIVOT!”


Lifestyle & vegan food blogger
Peterborough | UK
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