As with many a weekend warrior and part time athlete, injuries are a common occurrence. And I’m certainly no exception having suffered more than the odd niggle keeping me out of action for weeks and months at a time. So can this be a good thing? Running and cycling might be off the menu but it’s the perfect time to focus on normally neglected areas like core strength, having a crack at yoga to improve flexibility and mobility and numerous other beneficial exercises.
So, is this how I spent the first four months of 2016 while sidelined with patellar tendonosis (runners knee)? Hell no. I was grumpy and as miserable as sin!
Despite the doom and gloom of anticipating all the year’s goals being flushed down the toilet, thanks to sports therapist Chris, some glimmers of hope shone and something of an educational experience began. Disappointingly Chris had no magic wand as I turned up with an injury that doesn’t happen overnight nor will it fix in any rapid time.
As boring as the next few months were doing some of the least exciting strength exercises going, they were an education in both physiology and patience. As with many injuries, the site of the pain is rarely also the cause of it. So a dodgy knee is just as likely caused by tight hips or glute imbalance. And so the work begins on addressing those imbalances and loosening those tight areas. None of it is exciting but when you start to see things improve, it starts to make sense. This is where patience has to prevail. Several times I allowed impatience to creep in and this achieved no more than setting me back days and weeks on the road to recovery.
Now I’m back running and dedicating more time to mobility exercises, foam rolling, regular sports massages and strength work there’s definitely an improvement to be seen. Speed is returning but more noticeably, recovery times are greatly reduced. This in itself has allowed an increased volume of training with no negative impact.
So while injuries are a pain in the neck, or knee, they don’t have to be the end of the world. And when you watch events like the Paralympics, it really is humbling to see what’s possible with all manners of disabilities and why we shouldn’t let small setbacks in our own routines completely derail progress. Use the time wisely to try something different – you never know, it might be a catapult to greater things.