Forest fires have been all over the news lately. As tragic as they are, they are (ideally) a completely natural process. Caused by excessively dry weather or lightning strikes, they can be caused without any assistance from us. But they are not all bad. The fires will kill off a large area of the forest, if not the whole thing. However, they leave the ground fertile, letting the forest regrow over time, perhaps even healthier than before.
Not completely unlike an injury.
We spend weeks, months, years building up our mileage. Over time, little aches and pains come and go. Some forcing us to take a few days off, others merely a discomfort we need to deal with. But eventually it happens: our bodies get pushed too far.
When this happens, we're forced to take time off. Forced to stop growing for a little while. Much of the progress we have made over the past few weeks or months slowly fades as we are sidelined. But not without a benefit.
After being unable to train for several weeks, our bodies recover. Most of the accumulating micro tears heal. The muscles rebuild completely and are ready to take on another round of training; completely fresh and ready to go.
These injuries don't just happen to us mortal runners. Even the top tier runner's suffer through injury after injury. Kara Goucher suffered through multiple injuries for nearly three years. Her husband, Adam, is the same way. To what result? Adam came back and ran the 3rd fastest American 2 mile ever, and Kara brought a bronze medal home from the World Outdoor Champs in the 10K at Helsinki.
Yes, the time we are forced to take off is unfortunate. In fact, it can be down right miserable. But in the end, the improvement that follows will make it all worth while. And its right around the corner.