Thursday, December 15, 2016

Training and Injuries

The other day, John Rusin (an American physiotherapist/strength coach that I follow) posted the following comment on Facebook:

"Injuries are not excuse to STOP training. It's the perfect time to IMPROVE training."

Got me thinking.

The reality is that all of us, at some point in our lives, going to be "injured" - the more active we are, the type of sport or recreational activity we participate in, and the type of condition we keep ourselves in during our day-to-day lives all contribute to how we might find ourselves hurt and how long it takes to recover from it.  It could be anything from a muscle spasm in the low back from changing your winter tires, to wiping out while you're skiing and twisting your knee. Regardless of the specifics, a good mental starting point is to look at the injury as an opportunity or challenge, rather than an obstacle or barrier. Is this just a bad luck injury - like missing a step and breaking an ankle? Is it one where you don't know what's caused it, like waking up with a "kink" in your neck? Or is it an ache in your knee that just seems to be getting more noticeable over time?

Generally, I see three types of reactions to injuries: some people acknowledge the injury and find ways to work around it - or better yet, try to find ways to adjust their training to come out even better than before (see Rusin's comment above). Some folks ignore the injury, and try to carry on exactly as they have been - setting themselves up for an even longer recovery and possibly doing damage that they can't bounce back from. And finally, there are those who decide (unfortunately, sometimes as a result of some poor advice, and sometimes because they were just looking for an excuse) to "rest" - or in other words, do absolutely nothing and feel justified in doing so.

Side note: if you're feeling your knickers getting in a twist because you think I'm speaking about you directly - don't. First of all, if I was, I would have told you before I wrote it (ask Jimmy J), and secondly, if you DO feel it's about you, maybe try to figure out why.

For those who have been scanning this because there are too many words to read carefully, here's the simplified version of what I'm saying:
  1. Injuries happen. 
  2. Don't ignore them, but likewise, don't use them as an excuse to do nothing. 
  3. Take them as an opportunity to learn and grow.
If you're dealing with an injury currently - I wish you good luck in your recovery. One caveat I'll throw out is this: don't self-diagnose and self-treat. Find someone knowledgeable who's willing to work with you on this, and learn through them. The good coaches and therapists are always eager to help people, especially those who want to help themselves.

~Guy