3 MINUTE READ
We know all too well the stress injuries can cause. Whether you're running your first 5k or tackling your fifth IronMan, injury means frustration (and often upset).
So how can we minimise the impact of injury, rather than let it take over our lives.
We've caught up with Performance Coach and Founder of Bodyshot Performance, Leanne Spencer to find out how we can use the principles of personalisation to do just that.
Unless you're very lucky, injuries are inevitable. When you're on a roll and feeling like you're getting some way towards your next fitness goal, they can be incredibly stressful and upsetting. However, it's how you cope with injury that really levels up your training.
1.DON’T RUSH BACK AND FLEX THE PLAN
We've all made this mistake. Rushing back after an injury or getting overexcited and overdoing it tends to result in one thing: re-injury. Take it easy and flex the plan – by this I mean go back through your training as though you were starting from scratch, rather than picking up where you left off straight away. Keep doing your rehab exercises, and focus on sleep, nutrition, hydration and a good stretching and flexibility routine to support your recovery.
2.INTRODUCING YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND
Do you have a foam roller yet? If not, it's worth the small investment. If you're not sure what one is - it’s a cylinder-shaped foam object (either smooth or grooved), and is used to roll out muscle fibres using your bodyweight. You can use it on all the major muscle groups, and the edges of the roller can be used to get into the more awkward muscles such as gluteus medius and iliotibial band, and some of the smaller muscles in the lower leg. It’s a bit like giving yourself a massage (albeit a painful one!), and is very portable. You should be using the foam roller on a daily basis if you're prone to soft tissue injuries.
3.COPING AND TRAINING
It can be hugely frustrating if you’ve entered a race and get injured whilst training. The good news is, there are strategies you can use to manage this time-out and maximise your likelihood of being fit enough to race. In any training block, your primary goal should simply to be fit at the start line. If you’re fit at the start line, you’re in a race. If you’re not, you might never finish.
4.FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN DO
Despite being injured, there's usually a lot you can do. It's a great way to flip your mindset and improve elsewhere. For example, when I had my calf tear, I could still do lots of other exercises aside from running and jumping. I could still do yoga, boxing, core work and swimming (carefully, of course). I even safely managed a week’s snowboarding. Mentally, you’re in a much better place if you focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t.
5.SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE
You know that friend who makes every molehill into a mountain? Don’t surround yourself with this negativity, it’s just drama that you don't need. Find positive people to be around, or people who aren’t connected with training or sport. They’ll help you see perspective, and encourage you not to overthink your injury or become obsessed.
6.PRIORITISE YOUR REHAB EXERCISES
This is mistake number one! All too often I see people neglecting to do their rehab exercises. I know they can seem small, tedious and as if they are not having an impact. I can assure you - there’s a reason why you’ve been given these exercises, and if you knuckle down and commit to doing what’s been asked, you put yourself in a much better position to make a full recovery and get to that start line fit and ready. Look at it as a mental challenge! If you’ve self-diagnosed (we all love a Google!), stop! Get advice from an expert and follow their guidance. The internet is a rich source of information, but should not be used for self-diagnosis.
7.WORK ON THE THINGS YOU CAN CHANGE
Use the time to review other aspects of your preparations such as your sleep routine, your nutrition plan, your hydration and mental well-being. These are incredibly important elements to race preparation which need to be considered well in advance, so what better time to review what you’re doing. They are usually the aspects that get neglected in favour of training, training and more training! You can also use this time to plan the logistical aspects of your race such as your kit, travel arrangements, and who may be coming with you.
8.CHANGE THE SCENERY
This can be a mental breath of fresh air. If your weekend usually includes a long run or bike ride, take advantage of the training hiatus and get away for the weekend if you can. A change of scenery can really help take your mind off the race and what training you feel you are missing. It will reward you with a clearer head.