Whether it’s a strained shoulder, an Achilles tear or a completely broken bone, injuries are bound to happen in sport. The good news is you harness the power to control how you handle these setbacks. Remember: it’s not what happens to us that defines who we are but how we react — and hopefully, rise above.
Here are some strategies to keep fit when you can’t train your hardest:
1. Focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t. For instance, if you suffered a leg injury, work on upper body strength. For arm/shoulder injuries, hop on a stationary bike to keep your legs conditioned. Even though the injury may not allow you to do what you love most, any kind of consistent movement will help you stay sane. Be sure talk to your doctor about all the possible cross-training exercises that are safe for you to do during this time.
2. Take note of your nutrition. Because you won’t be training at the same intensity, your body won’t be expending so many calories. Be mindful of portions and take this time to recognize the foods that nourish your body best. What you eat can have an influence on your healing, so be sure to get enough vitamin C, antioxidants, healthy fats and fiber.
3. Be diligent about your rehab exercises. This is the key to bouncing back and preventing a recurrence of the same injury. And never rush the recovery process, as this can lead to setbacks.
4. Enjoy the down time. Take this opportunity to explore activities that a busy training schedule doesn’t allow. Go to a movie, try a relaxing yoga session or spend more time with family and friends. Doing something outside of your workout routine will make you appreciate your time off from the usual swim-bike-run.
Amy Marsh is a four-time Ironman champion, two-time IronDistance champion, and was named the 2010 USAT Long Distance Triathlete of the Year. Brandon Marsh has been competing in triathlons since 1988, and can be counted on to be a top-10 contender in every event he enters. Got a question about swim-bike-run or sports nutrition for Team Marsh? Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. ‘Like’ them on Facebook or follow on Twitter: Brandon @BrandonMarshTX and Amy @AmyCMarsh.