For a lot of us, getting over a hiatus and back into our regular training schedule can be one of the toughest endeavors we will take on. The reason for the hiatus plays a significant part in how we pick back up our training.
There are numerous reasons why an athlete may need to take a break, injury being one of the most common. But there are also personal reasons such as family obligations, school, professional career not in athletics, etc. This time period may not mean a complete stop to training, but at the very least it involves scaling down of volume for the sake of time and in some cases, energy.
In this article, we will discuss the one reason that a lot of athlete takes breaks from training: injury. Unfortunately, many of us can relate to this. Whether the injury was sustained from a competition or training or just a freak accident (Watch Out It Does Not Happen to You1), it is frustrating to know that it takes us away from getting better at our craft.
So besides doing what we can to avoid injuries in the first place, what can we do to bounce back when we do sustain one?
How Did It Happen?
First, we need to consider what we do during the time when we are injured. In the middle of February, I suffered a fracture on my right 7th rib posterior laterally.
That was sustained during training and I did not get the x-ray until a month afterwards. It felt like a really bad muscle pull at the time so I stayed away from activities that stretched my ribs, thinking it will heal relatively quick.
During that time, I amped up my back squat volume and intensity to “make up” for the lack of training that I could do overall. So I was training with a fractured rib for a month before realizing it.
What prompted me to get the x-ray was a pain in my upper back and chest after my squat workouts. The pain was excruciating especially when taking deep breathes. I thought it was a subluxated rib so I went to a chiropractor.
Got the recommended x-rays and voila! My spine has a slight bent to it (I suspect the amped up volume of high bar back squats), in addition to the fractured rib.
Not being in the best of condition, I decided to take a break from training at that point. During this time period I almost quit training all together. But looking back now, getting back into training was one of the best things to happen to me; after getting the proper adjustments and okay from my chiro first of course.
Attitude is Everything
I have “re-found” the joy of training, and most of all, my actions were aligning with my goals. And knowing from the start that the end result was me achieving my goals was the number one big factor that helped me get back to my schedule.
I constantly reminded myself of where I want to be, the awesome feeling I get when I train, and all the goals that I believe I can accomplish.
Of course, you do not want to push yourself to the brink of depression like I also did. Thoughts of how we are currently not getting better, or losing progress, or others are getting ahead of us are NOT going to help. So we want to keep a positive mental attitude about it, even when the going gets tough.
Having a buddy (or buddies) for support during those times can be a tremendous help. I personally did not choose to rely on a buddy but I felt it would have made a big difference in my mood if I had. However, I still made it through and so can you if you are in a similar situation.
“…reminded myself of where I want to be… and all the goals that I believe I can accomplish.”
I know what you are thinking. That was a lot of words to convey the simple message of having a positive attitude and outlook even in the face of an injury. But I wanted to highlight how although an injury can make us feel like we are stagnant in our progress when in fact, it is the perfect time for us to reflect on our goals and make sure that we are still on the right path for us as individuals.
Take The Necessary Time and Reflect
I have personally discovered that this downtime is the silver lining from having an injury. In the case we are not sure if we are working towards something that we ultimately want, this reflection process will definitely provide insight.
For those of us who are sure of their goals and methods of getting there (or who thinks they are), this will either confirm or add to what you were already doing.
So what has helped you as an individual bounce back from an injury? Please share in the comments below.
Extra: An interesting study shows that creatine supplementation during rehabilitation stimulated strength and muscle growth2.
- “10 Embarrassing MLB Player Injuries.” CBS Local. N.p., 23 May 2014. Web. 8 May 2016.
- Journal of Physiology, 536.2:625-633, 2001.