by Michael FitzPatrick
Injuries can happen to anyone – and the harder we train the more susceptible we become. We’ve likely all dealt with some level of injury during our athletic journey, so stop for just a moment and think back to what you did when you realized something had begun hurting, or maybe just felt “a little off”.
Did you keep going because you only had a couple more miles until you were done?
Did you trudge through because you’re a steadfast believer that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”?
Did you back off just enough to “finish” the workout, albeit with sub-par paces or power numbers?
Did you scour the web for answers to self-diagnose your symptoms, all in effort to avoid a dreaded visit to a specialist?
Chances are you answered yes to many, if not all of the above scenarios. You are not alone. We have all been through the frustrations of injury, and typically we will look for the quickest path to recovery. However, we are not experts (unless you actually are an expert) – we make our decisions based on experience, or sometimes lack thereof.
Now I am definitely not a doctor, but sometimes I play one in my head. As I will admit – I am guilty on innumerable counts of self-diagnosis (just ask my Coach!), and only occasionally do I hit the nail on the head. When I don’t get it right, I spend a whole lot more time wishing I were out there swimming, biking and running, so let’s leave it to our REAL experts to do the diagnosing.
So what are the appropriate steps to treating an injury? Let’s begin by assuming you have onset of pain or even mild discomfort, or maybe it doesn’t hurt, but your gait feels off or different than it has in recent weeks. Now you have a decision to make – let’s refer back to the scenarios listed above. Likely you’ll be evaluating one, if not several of those questions, but the one question we don’t usually consider is this:
“How will my decision affect the rest of my season and goals?”
When confronted with an injury, be smart and sensible. No one ever reached his or her goals by being the workout champion, so slow down, stop, or crawl home. Your coach will guide you through the appropriate steps to recovery. You’re going to get through this, so have faith in the process.
*Stay tuned for INJURIES SUCK, PART 2 – ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING