Learning from injury setbacks


Broken helmetIt’s always easy to say ‘it won’t happen to me’ but I could never have foreseen a head injury, stitches, and a broken bike, so what can you learn in the face of disaster?

You have to be your own project manager.

If you’re seeing a physio, doctor, coach, surgeon all at once you’re the only one that is part of everything. Don’t rely on them to talk to each other so it is your responsibility to take control, learn about the injury and coordinate your rehab with the assistance of the team around you. Knowledge is wisdom.

Don’t rush the rehab.

Take your time to get things 100% right before you start training and racing again. Set backs will jus delay the whole process and frustrate you more. Do it right the first time.

Maintenance is king.

Regular massage, trigger point, physio and stretching are vital in keeping injuries at bay. It truly is prevention is the best cure, so don’t look at money spent on massage and physio as an expense but rather an investment in your health. Prevention is better than cure.

Look for the positive in everything.

Lying on operating table and thinking to yourself this is not good and worrying about the training you can’t do and how long you’re out for won’t help at all. With a break from training comes a few sleep ins and a chance to focus on other areas of life. It also makes you truly appreciate how lucky you are to be able to swim, bike and run for fun. There are many who can’t and would love to and you only have to go to a hospital ward to see this. Having a break didn’t hurt Alistair Brownlee’s chances of winning races now, did it?!

The journey is worth it.

The process around firstly the treatment and then getting back to 100% especially if it is a major one is well worth it. In these times you’ll learn much about yourself and what you’re made of. Record your journey of successes so you can see the progress when you have a down day.

Set small goals and don’t think too far ahead.

The first goal might be to run around the block without stopping, swim 50m without feeling like you’re going to drown or just ride without pain. These small goals when achieved can give you the push to set bigger ones and can as satisfying as any big race. Don’t get lost and overwhelmed looking at the mountain, keep it small.

If you can’t run, swim and ride.

If you can’t swim, ride and run. Triathlon is great like that in that it is not often you can’t do anything. There’s always an alternative.

Learn from the injury.

Think why the injury or setback occurred. Was it something you could have prevented. Trust me, I have learned all about head injury, the hard way. I am NOT going to be foolish, I wasn’t last time either.

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