Dealing with Setbacks

Wednesday 4 March 2015 by

It’s been a difficult couple of weeks for me in terms of training. I started getting a pain in my hip – probably a result of practising breast stroke kicking. For a while I just ignored it, but then it got so bad that I was struggling to walk up stairs.

It’s not great, whatever challenge you’ve set, to be facing injury. So what can you do to minimise the impact and recover as quickly as possible?

Rest

Perhaps the most important thing, and the thing it took me far too long to do. I just tried to carry on, and this definitely delayed my recovery. Take a few days out. Fully out. As frustrating as it might be, don’t try to do anything exercise related until you can do day to day stuff – in my case navigating stairways – without noticing the injury.

Get Back in to it Slowly

Don’t try to launch straight back into your routine where you left off – do a couple of recovery sessions. For me this has meant swimming without really using my legs – making the shapes in the water, but not applying any pressure. Getting my legs moving, but not really working them. Recovery sessions allow you to test your limits without accidentally making your injury worse again.

Stretch

There are few injuries incurred through exercise that can’t be relieved through stretching. Google your ailment (not recommended in any other circumstance!) and see if you can find some stretches that might help encourage recovery. Every persistent injury I’ve ever struggled with has been alleviated and eventually cured by a combination of resting and stretching. And if you want to really encourage recovery, consider getting a massage stick – full disclosure, they are torturous agony to use, but they do work.

Seek Medical Advice

Finally, if you’ve tried all the above and still aren’t getting results, get yourself to a professional. Waiting lists for NHS physios are long – upwards of six weeks if your injury is non-urgent – so it might even be worth getting your name down before you’ve tried everything else and taking it off again if you feel you don’t need it later. Otherwise you can pay to see an independent physio and get in fairly quickly. I’ve had a mixed bag with physios. One I paid told me the problem was all in my feet – I worked for months on this with no result. The NHS physio I eventually saw for the same issue did two tests and told me it was in my calves (which to be fair to the other physio, probably does have some impact on my feet) and gave me a regime to follow. About two months later, I was practically cured.

A lot of the problem with injury isn’t the pain or discomfort – it’s the frustration that you can’t get out and train, that you feel you’re going backwards not forwards. Remember, there are other ways to train while you recover – work on your core strength and flexibility, do a different sort of exercise that doesn’t impact on your injury as much (runners might want to try swimming, for example) and remember: even if you lose fitness, it’s easier to get it back than it is to get it the first time round!

You can follow Loralei on Twitter: @LAHaylock

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