Ok I am getting good at this. Throughout my career as an athlete there were a few times where I was injured and had to limit my activities for a few weeks. Upper hamstring, lower back, fractured metatarsal to name a few. Recently, I had to have a surgery on my left ankle to clean up some tendons and ligaments and re-align the bones in my foot. In the words of the surgeon, "that's a lot of surgery". The healing process is slow and the first few times I have walked on my foot it is pretty painful. In fact there are days when I wonder how I will ever walk or run normally again because it hurts so much to even put the slightest weight on it.
Injury SUCKS, especially when you are used to being super active and loving your sports. There is nothing worse in the mind of an athlete than not competing in their sport. So I want to share with you how I am staying POSITIVE through all this. Mindset is EVERYTHING.
1. Spend time reading a lot of personal development books. That's right. Books that fill your mind with EMPOWERING thoughts! There are so many to choose from. I always look in the personal development section at Barnes and Noble as well as online. Right now I am reading Kiss That Frog by Brian Tracy . I just finished What to Say When You Talk to Yourself and Flip the Switch just to name a few.
2. Stop focusing on what limits you and focus on what you CAN do. This makes a world of difference when you see the glass as half full. Although I can't push off the wall at swim practice with full force, I am just happy right now that I can swim. I may not be able to ride the bike hard and fast as usual, but at least I can ease into working out on the Spinner bike.
3. Remember all the other roles you play in your life. Yes, being an athlete is a large part of who you are, but remind yourself that you are other things besides just that. For example, you are most likely a father, a mother, a wife or husband, a business owner, a professional, a tee ball coach, etc. Those roles most likely have been taking a back seat to your sport so now is a good time to focus on them more.
4. Give back to your sport. Have you thought about being involved in your sport other than actually competing? For me, I became more involved in our local triathlon club. I also took on some free coaching clients. You can always volunteer your time at some races or special events. If you have a particular skill that you can donate to your sport that's a great way to give back and still feel you are part of it until you can actually compete again.
5. Take up a new sport or cross train. Since I am not able to run or ride the bike right now I have really been able to focus on my swim. If you have a shoulder injury you can always focus on strengthening your lower body with body weight workouts or strength training. The TRX is a great low impact way to build extreme core strength without impacting your joints. There are tons of workouts out there for those who may not able to bare weight right away. The first few weeks after my ankle surgery I did a ton of pushups, tricep dips, v-ups, crunches, and anything else I could think of to give myself some sort of workout without using my legs. Where there's a will there's a way in most cases.
6. Never stop BELIEVING and working toward getting healthy. Everything heals eventually and God will restore you. I have had many people say to me that I should never run again or that I shouldn't even try to be a triathlete again. Consider the source. Chances are they are not athletes themselves and know nothing about what you are capable of. Go after everything you came for and then some. Think positive thoughts no matter what to get you through your injury.