Nothing prepares you for injury. No matter how strong you are emotionally and physically, being injured when you’re an active (or hyperactive in my case) hits you right where it hurts. And I’m not just talking about the injury.
Suddenly everything you knew is thrown up in the air to only land on the floor in a crumpled mess. It’s tough, perhaps the biggest challenge you’ll ever face because you’re unable to control what’s going on. Unlike a training plan, where X hours of hills + Y hours of sprints + Z hours of long runs equals a fair chance of doing pretty decently in a race, there is no exact equation to recovering from an injury, and no one will give you a straight answer.
Undoubtedly, you are affected by injury not only physiologically but also psychologically or in three stages as Adam Meakins @thesportsphysio illustrated in a tweet:
This maybe a slightly scientific way of looking at recovery but it certainly shows that there is a beginning, a middle and an end to recovery, which has to be a positive thing. And the only way to make that shift between the stages is to accept that you need to take a step back no matter how angry and upset you are.
As someone who is currently in-between stage two and stage three, I’ve tried (and not always well) to manage my injury emotionally. Thanks to supportive friends around me, I’m not as down as I was about it all and thankfully have things such as a wedding, my work which I enjoy and a partner to take my mind off things. But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy.
Injury over pride
I like to see myself as fairly self-sufficient when it comes to anything physical. Tube strikes never affected me as I simply run or cycle to my destination. From that to having to perilously try to thrust my body weight across the body of moving bus so I could sit down is well a difficult thing to master physiologically. Not being able to give up my seat to an elderly person is also a hard one to swallow. Then there’s watching races from the sidelines…
The fear of starting again
Despite having spent the last goodness only know how long on crutches, I have been slowly trying to keep myself fit. As well as my YouTube videos, I have also started using the outdoor gym and actually going to the gym. But I was slightly nervous about this. Why? Because I was worried about my fitness levels. I was fit. Some would say very fit. To have to start again is a bitter pill to swallow. How would I cope with half an hour on the bike? Would my body give up on me? Should I throw in the towel? The only way to find out was to actually get my bottom into the gym and do it. And you know what? I’m not that bad.
Doing things I’m not that comfortable with
As I said before, I’m not a huge fan of the gym. I’m also not that great a swimmer. But over the past few weeks, I’ve started to find a new routine and I feel all the better for it. My current morning consists of something like half an hour to 45 minutes on the bike, followed by 15 minutes of weights work, finished off by a 20-25 minute swim. None of it I particularly enjoy on its own but when you put it all together, I simply feel thankful that I can move my body again. Honestly, there’s nothing like building up a sweat of moving through water freely to lift your mood.
Recovering from an injury is to some extent very much out of your control. You really can’t put a fixed timeline on it unfortunately, which means you simply have to take it day by day, week by week, month by month. Yes, it’s frustrating but in order for you to regain control, you have to take control of what you can do. At this moment in time, that’s going to the gym, working out in the evening, meeting friends, working on the stuff that I enjoy and planning my wedding.
What have you done to help you through the rough injury times? Let me know below.