Injuries and illness are more isolating than we might realize. Whether chronic rheumatoid arthritis or a plantar fasciitis flare-up, when your running partner is navigating an injury and no longer showing up at your normal workouts together, you often won’t see them until they have recovered. Yet, this is when they need your friendship the most! When I suffered a concussion, I circled in anxiety and depression while alone in my house for months due to being on disability leave from work. I felt out of touch with my personal identity and my running community.
Can your injured friend walk or bike? Invite them to join you for some gentle cross-training. Need to do your weekly meal prep? Invite them over to cook and send them home with a few ready-made dishes. Going on a long run with your regular crew? Ask if they'd like to join the tailgating after.
Leave it up to them on what sounds fun, but try to avoid topics that could feel upsetting. Talking about running gear or races might be too triggering when we do not know how long an injury or illness will last. Speaking of which - don't make promises you cannot keep. Don't say, "you'll be back on your feet in no time," because you don't know that. But you can remind them of a time they were hurt or sick before and how eventually they healed. Remember that while they are in it, their downtime will feel like it has lasted forever, and it will never end. Be with them in that tough place.