Injury as an athlete can really get you down. Physically and mentally, it has a massive impact on how you move forward, recover and hopefully get back on track. That is why getting over injury is paramount.
A constant challenge when taking part in training or competition is avoiding injury, especially when pushing the limits of your capabilities to progress or win, and the setbacks of injury are therefore more frightening – particularly for heavily dedicated athletes from all sports.
So how do you get over injury when it does happen? Here are some tips and concepts you should consider if you ever suffer from injury which limits your sporting ability for a period of time and potential influences how you get back to where you were and move forward.
Accept the Results
First thing to do is accept that if you have an injury that you need to take the time to recover properly, as prescribed by your doctor or physio, etc. We recently featured a great article about training through pain or injury – read it, as it explains how ignoring pain or injury and continuing to train through it will only cause bigger problems.
Besides the physical issues, mentally you need to be able to accept the situation, especially when training makes up most of your daily routine and it is a big part of your personal goals. During this time out of training, set yourself new goals – goals which align with the time when you can start training again. Set goals you want to reach to get back to where you were and where you want to be after. This helps you mentally accept your situation, but importantly it allows you to accept that you will come back from it and you have new goals to reach.
Rehab is often dictated by your doctors or physios, etc. See this as an opportunity to push yourself like you would during normal training. Just like training, know your ability, your limits, your goals, and how you can achieve these goals sooner and within reason. Also, keep in mind that often some injuries may only limit training certain areas of your body and you may still have the ability to train other parts of your body or even your monostructural capacity (i.e. cardio). The important thing here, if that is the case, is not to over-train, strain or injury these capable areas.
Use Your Support
Sometimes injury and recovery is a lonesome journey. Don’t let it be, especially if it’s mid to long term, and especially if you feel it’s really getting you down. Speak to your doctor or physio and see what therapy there is for the psychological impact. See how your family and friends can help you psychologically and emotionally. Get out and support the sport you love and those friends of yours who are still athletes and are training and competition – do this so that you don’t find yourself becoming negative about the sport or community which you clearly belong too. Often being in that situation you’ll find that being a supporter is a great way to lift your mood and you can learn so much from observing too.
Get back Into It
Once you have fully recovered and you are ready to start training again, let your coach (provided you have one) help your scale into training. Jumping straight into the deep end may lead to injury again. Likewise, don’t be scared to return to training and to gradually get back to where you were – you will be surprised how quickly you get back to where you left off. During this time, reassess your goals you had set and track your progress. In addition, avoid future injury (the same or unrelated) by working on things like mobility, etc., and better ensure you don’t go through this again.