This week I am going to continue the theme of injury recovery, whereas last week the focus was on the physical aspects of recovery, this week I want to focus on the mental side of recovery, detailing the struggles and how you can overcome the negatives that are associated with injury.

Let’s get started

Being injured is rubbish

Just like any negative in life, being injured is rubbish. It can potentially destabilase our lives from more than just a riding perspective. If you are self-employed or work a physical job, you may worry about this, you will no doubt be worried about being away from a sport that you are so invested in also. However, just like any negative in life there are also positives to counteract this.

Doctor supervising the recovery of his patient after knee surgery

As I touched on last week, injuries give you a chance to work on your weaknesses and free up some time to re-focus, set new goals and spend more time with your family/friends outside of riding than you previously did.

The first step towards recovering from anything negative in life is acceptance. Simply put, you must accept that it has happened, once you have done this you will then be able to begin planning your journey out of that place.

This takes time, and varies from individual to individual as to how long it takes, so be patient and take some time to yourself to do so. If you are able to, go for a walk and process your thoughts, if meditation is something that resonates with you then spend some time doing this. Listening to podcasts or reading books from athletes who have gone through this feeling of pain can also be helpful when it comes to recovering mentally from an injury.

Once you have come to terms with it the next step is to plan your path out of the negative headspace you are currently in.

For me, it really helps to write down the injury (or any other negative happening) and then close my eyes, think deep and write down the positives. Let me give you an example of this based on the recent things that have happened in life;

NEGATIVE

POSITIVE

Gyms closing due to pandemic

Realising that I can adapt and overcome the most difficult challenge I have ever faced running a business.

Splitting up with my partner

More time to work on myself, stay friends and re kindle our relationship.

Moving in back at home

Spending more time with my family, having their support through lockdown.

Less busy with work due to gyms being closed

Beautiful weather allowed me to spend more time on my bike, and my fitness.

Broken collarbone

More time to build up leg strength and stamina on the wattbike.

 

These positive outcomes are not things that immediately spring into my mind but, they did spring into my mind relatively quickly as this is a genuine belief, I have that every door closes so another one can open.

Just understand that these things take time, and feel free to go at your own pace when it comes to these two scenarios’, don’t lose patience and don’t lose faith in yourself.

What else can I do?

One thing injured athlete’s struggle with is the feeling of dissociation. It can be hard for people to feel involved in the sport if they are no longer around it. So, while initially you may feel like it will be hard to watch races, or be around them if you can’t take part, it can be much more difficult to not even be present.

Rugby players standing together before match at the park

I recently raced again this weekend, it was my first one back since Covid put a stop to everything and it was so nice to see some old faces, people who I only see when I’m at these events due to location. So, try your hand at attending events, or even better. If you have a friend/family member who is attending a race then get involved, go and be there mechanic or support member for the day. Offer to be their chef, or any other role that removes stress from their life for that race and they will no doubt let you.

This is an excellent opportunity to feel involved and also still taste success if your team do well.

Doing things like this will keep you in the sport and make you still feel a part of that environment you love.

Aside from this, remember when you are injured you may still be able to train, and you can definitely train during recovery. This will make you fitter and stronger when you come back, log down you’re training so you get that feeling of progress. Doing this will help you see how much closer you are to achieving your goals of riding again and will also fill you with positive energy.

When it comes to recovering from injury. I am 100% of the mindset that the physical and mental side of recovery goes hand in hand, and you are much more likely to come back stronger if you take care of both of these things.

As mentioned in my previous entry of this subject being injured gives you a chance to assess and evaluate yourself, you can identify your weaknesses and train them out of your game. If your posture is poor, you can work on this. If you have an upper body injury that stops you riding you are still able to use a static bike, wattbike etc so you can come back with stronger, more powerful legs.

Portrait of a handsome man doing push ups exercise with one hand in fitness gym

See being injured as an opportunity to grow, just like all negative scenarios in life are lessons and opportunities to develop yourself.

I hope you have enjoyed this miniseries and can find some useful information to take forwards here.

Ride safe.

Adam.

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