The road to recovery
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost.
Lessons learnt from injury
I have learnt many lessons from my Achilles injury but no more so than what I think is the most important lesson of them all; acceptance. After 5+ months I finally learnt to accept that this injury was not something that would just disappear overnight; this was an injury that I had to truly understand from both a physical and mental point of view.
‘R’ is for rehabilitation
You can’t rush rehabilitation. All you can do is work with it, follow professional advice and listen carefully to what your body is telling you, not what the mind wants the body to hear.
The process of injury goes something like this; denial, denial, denial, frustration, questioning, frustration then acceptance. This all happens over a period of days, months even years but what you have to believe is, you will get through it. The problem with that is, you don’t know when the end will be and this is what makes these types of injuries just so frustrating.
Acceptance accelerates rehab
Once you open your mind to acceptance you are able to listen and digest the information that is thoughtfully, mindfully and professionally being passed onto you, why? Because you have removed all the roadblocks in your mind and created an openness that only acceptance can offer.
Removing the blockages allows you to move forward not live in the past or live in ‘what could have been’. You can drive yourself insane with all your ‘what if’ questions and inner mind conversations, this will not change the situation. Only acceptance will.
Back to basics
After months of visiting sports doctors, podiatrists and physios I decided I needed to simplify my rehabilitation as everything was becoming too noisy, I needed silence and time to carry out my strength exercises in peace. I think it worked.
Instead of driving an hour to an appointment I spent that time in the gym carrying out weight bearing exercises specifically for Achilles rehabilitation. I felt more comfortable with my program, I listened to podcasts talking about how to deal with tendon issues, basically I became more educated (read: obsessed) with my injury and how to manage it.
My weekly training schedule looks very different now to what it did a year ago; this can only be a good thing. I am now concentrating on those 1% exercises, the ones that make the biggest difference – only having an injury could have taught me that.
Starting all over again
Returning back to the exercise that makes me happy has been a bit of a chore. I haven’t enjoyed lacing up and running out the door for a session, if anything I have been nervous and hesitant about taking the first step from walk to run in fear of that reoccurring sharp pain that presented itself around the heel area almost immediately.
I had all the excuses as to why I couldn’t run but eventually I had to stop with the bullshit and just try. I was not going to help my recovery by just sitting around not trusting myself, I had to start believing that I could run. I wanted to run so just run. Geez and here I was thinking racing was a mental game; training is more so.
I also had to accept that at this time I was not going to be running any personal bests or making the podium (well that’s if I signed up to any races) I just had to run for me, for progress and for confidence.
Running has become easier, the first week of proper run training where I had a 5km for example on a Tuesday was super tough, I just wanted it to be over. Was I feeling any pain or was I just struggling to run? Two days later I ran again and it was still as hard, really hard, why was it SO BLOODY HARD? 3 days later a long run on a Sunday, 90mins and I was suddenly starting to run happier. A week later, two weeks later I was running HAPPY. I had more trust, more faith and I didn’t second guess myself upon starting a run, I just ran.
Time really is your friend, not your enemy.
The one less travelled
The last six months I have definitely taken the road less travelled and although not my first choice, it truly has made all the difference. I am more aware of my body mechanics, of my foot placement and of glute activation (must have something to do with all my deadlifts, kettle bell thrusts and squats). When I have learnt this much how can I see this injury as a negative?
This injury has given me more time to understand who I am as a runner and what I want out of the movement that makes me run happy. I understand the freedom this simple movement gives me and I am even more intrigued to find out where my training, motivation and drive can take me. I want to continue to lose myself and grow in an environment that makes me more grounded and assists me to live a more Planted Life.
I am still making a comeback but now I am truly loving the journey because as I learnt a long time ago, it’s not the destination that counts; it’s the journey (and only time can teach you that).
Become a Planted Runner
Are you interested in exploring your running abilities and achieving a goal such as running a sub 4-hr marathon? I would love to help you achieve your goal and help you become a grounded Planted Runner. Find out more here.