By Dave Swoish,
customer service and analytics guru
Regardless of your level of performance, all athletes will be injured at some point over the course of their life. How we choose to handle those situations can help us prevent further injury, as well as allowing us to grow and improve as athletes moving forward.
In June, after some races, and longer weekend runs, I encountered some foot pain in the bottom of my left foot. After resting it for a couple weeks, I didn’t notice any significant improvement and went to see a 'foot Dr.' who told me to simply rest my injury. After a couple more weeks of rest, I realized I had to seek out other options. What follows are my '3 Rules for Injury Recovery'.
1. Align yourself with a professional that understands what your goals are, and is willing to support you in returning to your pursuit of them. Make sure they have an aggressive plan on how to help you heal, and return your body to its pre-injury state. My first doctor told me to rest and that longer distance running may not be something my body wants to do. While this is certainly one hypothesis, it didn't offer me any potential solution. Ask friends in your respective athletic community for recommendations. I did, and was set up with a local practice that was a great fit for me and my goals. They helped me immensely, through diagnosing a nerve issue in my foot and treating it over a period of three weeks. Assuming you live in an urban, or even suburban area, you're likely to be surrounded with various options for treatment, allowing you to find your own 'best fit'.
2. I'm a huge proponent of training your mind, and truly believe it's an often overlooked aspect of success in athletic endeavors. An often referenced review of the psychological factors associated with returning to athletics after an injury, highlights the fact that a positive mindset contributes to a quicker return, and a return that is more in-line with your pre-injury performance levels. Surround yourself with positive people that keep your spirits high and give you energy each day! Maintain a journal, so you can write down, and identify, all of your emotions throughout the recovery process. Practice daily visualization of yourself back doing what you love to do! Most top tier athletes include this in their training programs for a reason!
3. Finally, go try something new! Some people refer to this as 'cross training'. I prefer looking at it as 'something new', as that can encompass a wider range of activities. Try a ballroom dance class, take up chess, do a paddleboard race, try yoga, or pick up a new skill. You know that journal I mentioned earlier? Use it to track your progress in whatever endeavor you choose!
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