As athletes we can be extremely hard on our body. Whether you are a body builder, a runner, a soccer player, or a triathlete you are constantly pushing your musculoskeletal system to it's limits.
Competing in your sport brings you an incredible amount of joy and fulfillment, and the thought of having to give that up is scary to some. So when you find yourself with a sore shoulder, knee, ankle, hamstring, hip flexor, you name it, you have to STOP what you are doing and ask what it is that is causing you pain. Typically it is some sort of OVERUSE injury from repetitive stress to the area. Sometimes though (in my case) the reason why you get injured is partially genetic and has a lot to do with how you are actually formed.
Whatever the reason, you can CHOOSE how you react to when you are told you have to shut down for a while. I know, it SUCKS. No athlete that I know is psyched to hear that they have Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis. But what you CAN DO is look at the glass as half full and DECIDE to STAY POSITIVE always. So here are my top 5 tips for dealing with a nagging injury that has you down and out for a while.
1. Know that this is temporary. I've been an athlete since 7th grade track and I don't think I have ever had anything that just flat out won't heal. That is of course barring surgery. (And I've had that too and even surgery stitches eventually dissolve and become invisible.) Healing happens during REST and usually when you are injured it's because that part of you needs a nice break. It's ok to give it!
2. Put your trust in God's perfect plan for your healing. I get totally frustrated that my ankle is still swollen from surgery a few months ago. But it's a LOT less swollen than it was is January. Little by little it's getting better and better each day. Some injuries take a while to heal while others last only a week. It's not really up to you. You only have so much control over how fast something heals. But what you can do is do everything- physical therapy, stretches, foam roll, yoga, etc- that helps move it along in the right direction. That and prayers for healing.
3. Make a list of the things you CAN do! If you have a lower body injury chances are you will be lifting a lot of weights and swimming. If you have an upper body injury then you will most likely find yourself on the stationary bike or walking uphill on the treadmill. You would be surprised at what you can do even when something isn't working properly. Most of the time you can always work on your CORE strength and I can think of tons of workouts right now that could keep you busy for hours.
4. Seek the professionals. I know so many injured athletes that just stay injured because they don't want to go to a doctor or chiropractor. That's just about the dumbest thing you can do. These people have made it a CAREER helping injured athletes like yourself so if you have access to them then take advantage of it. Stop guessing and googling what's wrong and go talk to an expert. You will feel better when you do! Promise. They will suggest a course of treatment and this will make you feel more in control of your situation.
5. Never take your eyes off your long term goals such as races, competitions, or events. That is what will keep you going! Be realistic but never give up. If that Ironman doesn't happen in 2018 then it's probably going to happen in 2019. Stay focused and most of all stay POSITIVE. THIS TOO SHALL PASS!