This is a test...this is only a test.
There aren't many things more annoying than the dreaded screeching and psychadellic pinstripe visage that accompanies TV testing of the Emergency Broadcasting System.
But, as an athlete, injuries present a frustration that even the cacophony of the EBS testing cannot rival. Much like these blaring announcements, injuries come suddenly and unannounced—unwelcome interlopers of our "regularly scheduled programming".
In athlete terms, that programming isn't just a few missed moments of Modern Family (my guilty pleasure). It can amount to a missed workout, or race, sometimes even a season. There is the highly unpleasant physical stimuli, of course, but worse still is the acute awareness that we are missing out on a much better experience.
Yet, as unpleasant as injuries may be, they can also serve a purpose. With the right mindset, you can come out smarter, stronger, better balanced, more motivated, and more appreciative of your body's capabilities. So, how do you pass (or at least get past) an injury "test"?
Formulate a Plan and Treat it Like Training
Start by getting an accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan you feel confident in. Consult experts in the field—sports medicine physicians, physical therapists, and other allied caregivers that you trust.
Once you've developed a protocol that can help you get back at it more quickly, commit to it. Treat your icing, stretching, physical therapy appointments, and/or rehab exercises just like your workouts. They should be scheduled, planned, and consistent.
Balance Out Your Table
With all the time invested in training, other aspects of life often become compromised. If we think of the important facets of our life—family, friends, career, community service, and training, for example—as legs of a table, it's easy to visualize how the table can become off balance if one is emphasized more than the others.
Injuries often provide an opportunity to "even out the legs of the table" by setting goals not related to athletic performance. Use the time to spend more time with family and friends, volunteer, or take on a new challenge at work—projects that fall into the "if only I had more time" category when you're training heavily.