RECOVERING FROM SETBACKS
As a competitive runner, recovering from setbacks is one of the worst feelings in the world. You set high expectations of yourself and are riding the economic booms of periodized training. But, suddenly, out of nowhere, an injury or illness looms over you. For the past couple of weeks, I've been dealing with lung and chest issues that have put my training to a complete halt and I'm devasted! Here I am, sitting on the sidelines (figuratively) while I watch my teammates race through their track and tempo sessions. The past several days have allowed me time to reflect on maximizing this time recovering. Here are a few things that are helping me recover from this setback.
1. Take a break: It's okay to relax and give yourself time to regroup and recharge. It's not the end of the world if you miss a few weeks of training.
When you "zoom out," two weeks is a blip when you are in it for the long run. In my first week of recovery, I didn't listen to myself and decided to run a 5km time trial! And guess what? My injury/illness worsened and prolonged my recovery period. I've learnt my lesson and I'm ready to move on. I get it! You will find yourself with an extra 2-3 hours in the day but find something to fill that void! Remember, you are not just a runner, you are you! Do the things that you normally don't do - go for a hike, read a book, or start writing blogs (like myself). Now this opportunity to discover more about yourself.
2. Focus on what you can control: As Nick Bare says, "control your controllables"! The goal is to recover and put yourself in the best possible position when your body is ready. So think to yourself, what can you control that will aid in your recovery? The goal is to put yourself in the best physical and mental state possible when it's time to go. Pause and reflect. Take a minute or two and write down a few things you can take ownership of. For myself, it was ensuring I got quality sleep, proper nutrition (adjusting macros to the new sedentary lifestyle), meditation etc.
3. Reflect on what went wrong: Ask yourself, "what is this experience/moment trying to teach me." Analyze the situation and determine what went wrong and what you could have done differently. Reflecting on my case, I pushed myself too hard early on in the training cycle while not spending enough time recovering - way too many intense strength-training sessions coupled with fast track and tempo workouts. I'll write another article on this, but prioritizing is crucial! As a former Olympic Weightlifter, it's hard to brush strength training to the side. It's part of my identity (or was), but going forward, I need to put this in the grave because the new me is an elite competitive runner.
Setbacks are a normal part of life, and it takes time to overcome them. Be patient and kind to yourself during the recovery process, but most importantly, learn from it. Every failure is an opportunity to work on your weaknesses. As the cliche saying goes, "you are as strong as your weakest link."