Hello, my name is Nick, and I am an injured athlete.
It’s tough to admit, but we all struggle with the realization that we need to take a step back from our training to address a chronic or acute injury. The quicker we identify as injured and the sooner we recognize what the recovery process will look like, the sooner we will be back to the activities we love.
When we get hurt, the first thought that runs through most of our minds is, “Okay, I will skip my next training session… or maybe just dial it back a bit and then I will be right back on track.” Trust me, I think this every single time because I fall victim to all the same pitfalls I write about. Hell, it’s often why I write about them. Recently I have been battling a toe injury, and despite having experienced many injuries in my time as an athlete and understanding that setbacks are almost always part of the process, I found myself frustrated, disheartened, and hobbling home down the local running path when my return to running didn’t go exactly according to the recovery trajectory I had planned in my head. So why not put out some “do as I say not as I do” knowledge, right?
In this post, we will discuss 5 keys to getting through injury and coming out as a stronger athlete both mentally and physically. The most important thing that athletes don’t understand is that recovery is not a linear process. It rarely happens overnight, and there are always going to be setbacks in your recovery.
Now, I am not going to sit here and tell you exactly how you need to go and recover from your injury because every injury and every body is different. If you are in pain and can’t engage in your normal day to day activities YOU ARE INJURED. You should consult a professional and create a recovery plan to address your specific issues. That said, what I can give you are some key things you can do to help the process along and deal with the frustration.
#1. Are you hurt or are you injured?
“Injury” is used all too often to describe pain, or simply being hurt, but first we have to separate those things and understand when we are truly injured so we can better accept that fact. Being hurt or having pain is not necessarily being injured. Many, many athletes are hurt, many have pain, but this does not mean that they are injured. There are painful experiences we can train through and correct along the way. Being “injured” however is when an athlete can no longer engage in their regular training or their pain reaches a level that affects their ability to perform day-to-day activities.
So, the first step in recovering right is recognizing when you are hurt and when you are actually injured.
#2. Create a plan of attack
If you are truly injured, it is time to creat