Written by our KitBrix Ambassador, Hayley Price
Many of us have been there. One minute you’re flying along on your bike, the next you’re on the floor or you’re happily running along and you feel that horrible ‘pop’ in your calf or the roll of your ankle that you initially try to limp on with. Maybe it’s the niggle in your shoulder when you swim that has finally caught up with you....Whatever it is, you know what I’m talking about.
This recently happened to me. I was having an awesome time at Hever Castle for the Castle Triathlon Series. Just over half way through the bike section, after a gloriously fresh swim, I lost a battle with a tight corner, a pothole and a strong gust of wind. As soon as my right shoulder hit the ground, I heard the ‘crack’, felt the pain and when I quickly assessed that I could not lift my right arm, I knew it was goodbye intact clavicle and hello rehab. As a physiotherapist, I knew this wasn’t going to have a quick fix. Once the shock had settled and the gas and air had truly kicked in, the reality of the coming months hit me hard.
Injuries aren’t ideal and they can often feel like the worst thing in the world. You start focussing on all the negatives and beat yourself up about everything you can’t do. Research shows us that athletes can respond with fear, sadness, anger and anxiety. These negative responses can be really problematic for anyone trying to recover and the increased emotional distress can even delay us returning to competition.
So let’s think about things differently... Injuries also provide an opportunity. Here are the key positives I have found.
YOU HAVE MORE TIME
If you’re normally spending hours on the turbo trainer or out on road, you may find you have a lot more time on your hands. But this isn’t a bad thing. This means more time to spend on other things; whether that’s with your family, friends, on self care and development or another hobby.
YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO WORK ON WEAKNESSES
All those little things you normally either ignore or don’t give priority to...now may be your chance to put them at the top of your list. For me, I have been struggling with some lower limbs niggles for a while. But like many of us, when your training schedule is full and work is busy, they often seem to be the bit that gets missed in your normal routine. But with my fractured clavicle, I have been doing these daily which hopefully is going to put me in the best position to get back to normal training when I can. Remember injuries don’t mean stopping movement all together. Whether you can do the smallest of rehab exercises or keep your normal intensity up by cross- training, work on that and celebrate the small wins.
Injuries certainly give you time and reason to think and reflect. Was your injury the result of an inappropriate training plan? Was your recent training plan giving you the results you wanted? Did you have a plan!? How was your performance in your last event? Are you enjoying your current routine? Now you have time to step back from it all a bit, be honest with yourself and make the most of the opportunity to make things better and create new goals with action plans of how you are going to achieve them.
At some point, injuries will happen to most of us. What’s key is how we respond to them, not just physically but also mentally. Stay positive, stay healthy and find the opportunities in the tough situations to come back stronger.