Hey y’all, Mr. Huzzah here, filling in for an under the weather Brigid. While she coalesces with the help of ginger ale and tiny dogs, I figured this was as good a time as any to talk about dealing with illness and injury, especially when preparing for something major. Two quick stories of my own on this point:
What these experiences taught me is that our bodies have a great way of communicating to us when things are going off the rails, and when we’re pushing beyond our limits at a particular time. A few things to keep in mind as you deal with whatever malady has sidelined you:
Respect what your body tells you. If you feel weak, ill, or otherwise off, you need to listen to what your body is telling you and back off. When I got back into my gym routine, for example, towards the end of my workouts I’d get a little nauseous from pushing too hard for my conditioning level. Rather than go over the top and push too hard too soon, I backed off.
Know the difference between being hurt and being injured/ill. As we’re on the precipice of the Super Bowl (Let’s Go Big Blue!), this is a distinction worth noting. We’ve all trained a little hurt, sore, or dinged – it comes with the territory of wanting to do anything great in the arena of physical fitness. This is what NFL players call “playing hurt”. But there’s a difference between the accumulated nicks of a training plan and a legitimate injury or significant illness. Case in point: I was training for a ten miler early in my running career, and I had a nagging pain in my lower right leg. Had I tried to keep pushing, I probably would have done significant damage, but my father and his wealth of experience told me to take a few days off the road. Best advice I got – when I came back post injury, my running was pain-free and more enjoyable.
Take as much time as you need. We’re all afraid of losing our edge when we take time to let our body heal, and yes, you will lose some of your conditioning depending on how long you’re laid up. But you’ll do more harm than good if you try to come back prematurely than you will if you take an extra day. The one thing that won’t wane is your work ethic and motivation to be fit, and those two elements will quickly overcome whatever layoff you’ve had to endure. Yes, when I got back in the pool post-appendectomy, my wind sucked, but after a couple of weeks my only reminder was the gnarly scar on my abdomen.
The bottom line is listen to your body. It may not always tell you what you want to hear, but it’ll always tell you exactly how things are and whether you need to cool your jets and let it recover.
QOTD: How do you deal with being injured or ill during a training period?