Perhaps the most demoralizing "bump in the road" for any triathlete is the season-ending injury. This unfortunate reality is challenging and requires thoughtful management.
Here are eight tips to help you through the process so you can stay positive and emerge from the experience as a stronger athlete.
- It could always be worse. Keep your injury in perspective. It isn't the end of the world. There will always be other races, so don't worry about the one you're going to miss.
- Follow your doctor's exercise restrictions. Trying to do too much, too soon can delay a full recovery.
- Ask your doctor about alternative exercises. You may be restricted from weight-bearing exercises, but deep-water pool running or upper-body strength training may be fine.
- Utilize traditional physical therapy along with alternative healing methods. Give treatment options like Active Release Therapy, massage, Rolfing, acupuncture, dry-needling and chiropractic services a try. With an open mind, they can aid in the healing process and speed up your recovery.
- Turn a negative into a positive. Often a "forced" rest is just what your body needs. When you resume training you will be rested and eager to get back on track.
- Focus on other activities that you enjoy. Now is the time to get after that stack of books, clean and organize your training gear, spend more time with your family and do something with one of your non-athletic friends.
- Target a "comeback" event. Once you are cleared to resume your regular training schedule, target a "stand-alone" event (open-water swim, master's swim meet, an organized group ride or 5K run) to get back in the groove of competing.
- Train smart. Don't risk re-injury by training too aggressively. Rather, ease back into your training with a plan.
Remember, every door that closes can be associated with the opening of another. Triathlon is all about preparing for success and making the best out of dire circumstances. So stay positive!
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