After a fast start to the spring, I ended up sick then injured. However, it gave me time to reflect and remind me of where Ive been the past 18 mo. injuries suck, whether traumatic or chronic. The instinct of an athlete is to lose as little fitness as possible and start training as soon as possible, both of which are usually poor responses. Here are my top two rules:
RULE #1: Take the Hippocratic Oath
Your first rule needs to be to DO KNOW HARM. Objectivity here is often difficult, so this leads to:
RULE #2: Get expert advice
I am fortunate to have some amazing colleagues and friends that I can get awesome advice that is objective. If you’re willing to accept their expertise and follow their advice then you can often recover faster and better.
RULE #3: Tune in, don’t check out!
Skip the pain meds and focus on how you’re feeling and where. Masking pain only fools you, not your body. Movement patterns change whether you can tell or not. As I began to run longer, I focused on quality movement and any small changes, which often means slowing down to stay in touch. Pay attention and cut it short if necessary.
So, after nearly two weeks of steady improvement, I decided to stick with my race schedule and head to the BYB #3 race. While I felt the lack of race rhythm, to coin a Euro phrase, I ran pain free and felt reasonably good. In the end, I was about 40 sec off my time from the fall, but still 2 min quicker than last spring with a podium to match.
So am I back to where I was a month ago? Hard to say, but pain free is the key. No matter how much fitness you have, pain will always hold you back! Train smart.