Working through injuries. At some point in our training we will get hurt. The degree will vary but there will be an ache, pain, strain, or something that is not indicative of normal training soreness. What causes it? How do we adapt around it? Should we quit training until it’s not hurt? I will clarify that I am not a doctor or a trainer, just an athlete that has dealt with injuries and recovered the best way I could to get back on track.
For me, the inclination is to keep pushing forward despite most aches. After several years of multisport training and strength training, I have learned to listen to my body and react accordingly. It doesn’t do you any good, nor help you make progress, to push an injury and do further damage. What might be minor can turn major in no time. The same goes for being sick. Your body is very good at telling you when something isn’t right. We are very poor at interpreting those signs.
Now that’s not to say we don’t train when we aren’t 100%…we do. You must. But there is a difference between training fatigued or a tad sluggish and training with the flu or respiratory infections.
Here are a few things I have learned over the last few years…
- I use a combination of doctor and trainer input. This is not a criticism of doctors, but I have found that if your doctor is not an athlete or empathetic to what we do as athletes, much of the advice leans towards stop doing whatever you are doing…forever. We are wired different than that. The flip side is my trainer Pat is NOT a doctor, so I have to temper his all-out attitude, train until your eyes bleed mentality with some reality.
- This is a good time to get back to basics and refocus goals and try to erase bad habits we develop over time.
- As a multi-sport athlete, cardio is part of the deal…lots of it. But for many, cardio is a chore. Don’t be afraid to keep your fitness levels up with treadmill, elliptical, or an occasional spin class during your recovery. You’d be surprised at how well it helps you to develop from a whole body perspective.
- Sometimes it is ok to ditch a movement for time. Last December I hurt my back deadlifting…devastating for powerlifting movements. So, we ditched it until my back felt ready. I de-loaded my squat weight, eliminated deadlifts and took the time to strengthen everything I could around that. Now my deadlift is close to 75-80% of my max and my squats only suffered a tiny bit. Not a bad trade-off versus having a permanent injury.
- This is a key element in recovering properly. The body is so amazing but it needs help to do the awesome things it does. Proper nutrition gives the body the needed fuel to repair itself and come back stronger. We can’t heal properly on diet sodas and nacho chips.
I know our predisposition to injury is to pout and figure out how to pretend we are not hurt and ignore the injury or sickness. However, listen to your body. Unless you are in your prime physical years, listening to these signs can mean the difference in getting back to your top shape sooner vs later, or maybe never if you really are a bad listener! Help your body help you.
It is hard to not feel guilt with a missed or with less than all-out workouts. But sometimes they happen. We push our bodies to limits and sometimes they break. You get to determine how they heal. Only you know what feels normal or not. Only you know when pushing a max weight is the right thing to do or not. Not every workout is for a PR. There is a lot that goes into pushing through those barriers and we must stay in tune with ourselves to get there healthy and safe.
In competition, there are moments we know we must push hard and ignore being uncomfortable. Racing hurts…not if, but when. The training teaches us to manage that hurt and by identifying the training hurt versus the competition hurt we can and will be successful.
Train hard, train safe, listen to your body.
Previously Fat Guy
We get one body. Treat it well.