No matter the sport or the level of athlete, something that everyone will have in common is injury. Whether you are trying to prevent it or recover from it. It’s an inevitable part of sport and training and an experience that most athletes will have to go through and overcome.
No two recoveries are the same and the road to recovery can be bumpier and often longer than planned. One of the biggest parts of recovery is being able to stay motivated and retain a level of fitness. This is quite often a challenge and will really rest your mindset however in the long run it will help form mental toughness.
Whilst recovering from an injury, it can be quite normal to feel like you have lost a part of your identity. It can change the way you view yourself and how you compare to your training buddies. Obviously, it’s important to focus on the physical side of injury recovery however the emotional and mental side of injury recovery is just as important.
Once injured, it’s easy to be all consumed by the fact you can't train, here are some questions to ask yourself at the start of your recovery journey that can help keep a positive mindset:
- What do you enjoy doing outside of training?
- Do you have a good support network? Friends, family, training buddies.
- What are the things you can control whilst you are injured?
- What can’t you control whilst injured?
Once a positive mindset is in place, it then makes moving forward with maintaining fitness much easier. Changing training plans, expectations of training, and the routine of training is often the hardest part of the recovery process. Although recovery can often seem slow, there is plenty that can be done when recovering from injury, it’s just important to remember that the approach is a completely different process to pre-injury.
Listen to professionals. Doctors, Coaches and Therapists will all be working towards the same end goal as you and will help you plan and understand what is safe for you to do whilst injured. Remember to be patient, injuries rarely follow a straight line and just because someone else has had the same injury doesn’t mean your recovery will be the same. Manage your expectations from the start. Be prepared to be flexible with your training, new routines and exercises are helpful and will keep you motivated. Set new goals, it may be different to your pre-injury goal but it doesn’t mean it’s not achievable and it will give you something positive to keep working towards.
Injuries are the most difficult thing for anyone to overcome, they will disrupt progress and often happen at the most inconvenient times. Who’s been injured just before a comp?
Look at your recovery plan as a new training plan and set goals. It is possible to come back from injury stronger, like with any training, you just have to be prepared to put the hard work in!