The Run Smarter Series

How to bounce back stronger from injury

After just finishing the book ‘Rebound’ I thought I would share some key points I took away from it. Recovery is a mental game as much as it is physical. Studies have shown that athletes with positive psychological responses to their injury were more likely to return to their sport. We must learn to recognize the impact your emotions and thoughts have on your recovery, and then develop strategies to streamline the healing process.

Associating negative stress to recovery

How much negative stress do you subject your body to when you are injured? Chronically triggering your stress response can be detrimental to your healing and can:

  • Delay tissue growth and repair
  • Reduce the function of your immune system
  • Disrupt your sleep
  • Increase your risk of re-injury

Sometimes the stress can arise because you are focusing on things you can’t control such as healing times and race day time frames. When you focus on these aspects you end up having negative emotions and negative experiences, further feeding your stress response.

Instead, rebound & take responsibility for your recovery

Remind yourself you are still an athlete and re-frame your situation so that recovery is now your sport. Let go of old goals and replace them with new ones. Develop a strong belief in your ability to recover with patience and discipline. Instead of feeling like a victim of your injury, see it as a rite of passage! Then take it one step further and see it as an opportunity to grow! Switch from helpless trauma to a rewarding journey.

Conclusion

With that said, I want you to reflect on your past injuries. Are your emotions, thoughts, beliefs, coping strategies and body language truly serving you. What story do you tell yourself about your injury and about your recovery? Once you have done this, craft versions of your injury that build rather than deplete your confidence and strength, re-set your goals, practice imagery and positive self-talk.

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