Keep Your Head in the Game

Keep Your Head in the Game

Some lucky runners will go their entire running lives without a misstep, but many more will face an injury that requires the ultimate sacrifice – no running. No runner welcomes that prescription, but those that grin and bear it generally fare better than those who do not. This is not to say you shouldn’t get upset, because it is completely normal to be disappointed, but do not let it get the best of you.

Research shows that people battling sports injuries tend to have slower or less satisfactory recoveries when they are depressed or distressed. The exact reasons are not understood, but it is suggested that athletes with better outlooks adhere to rehab better. Other studies suggest that depressed moods may generate an immune response that compromises recovery from injury.

Coping Mechanisms:

Perspective – You can adopt a defeatist attitude, or you can ask yourself, “What can I do to get optimal healing?” It’s all about your perspective. Think about things that are purposeful, productive, and focused on possibilities.

Rather than say…”Rehab takes forever. I’m never going to get out running again.” Say…”If I focus on my physical-therapy exercises right now, I can speed my recovery.”
Rather than say…”Why me? What if I never run again? Say…”This injury can teach me to incorporate better recovery habits into my training plan so that I’ll be less likely to get injured again.”
Rather than say…”I’ll never get back to the fitness I had before my injury.” Say…If I use my rehab as an opportunity to develop some new strengths, I’ll come back even stronger.”

Injury Assessment – Get a clear understanding of what your injury is and what rehab entails, and ask about the best-case and worst-case scenarios. Not knowing what to expect can bring about anxiety and can cause you to lose focus during the recovery process.

Positive Behavior – Studies have shown that “psychological intervention” (distracting yourself with positive behavior) such as goal setting can speed recovery. Aim for realistic targets such as increasing your flexibility, getting more sleep, eating healthier, drinking less alcohol, etc. These little victories help you stay positive on the road to recovery.

Don’t let an injury get the best of you. Reflect on what may have caused it, develop a recovery plan and remain positive.  It’s all about your perspective.

Reference: Article adapted by Runner’s World, A Healing Head.

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