Tips for Staying Motivated While Recovering from Injury

with Isabella Naughton, Liv Factory Racing

There is never a good time to be injured. As an athlete, suffering through the middle of the race season with an injury is one of the hardest things to navigate.

I hurt my wrist at the beginning of the 2022 season. I was supposed to be competing in a warm up race before heading to Europe for the start of the Enduro World Series, but instead I was sidelined.

After taking six weeks off the bike, I did everything I could to be healed in time for the USA National Championships in July. I made a goal for that to be my comeback race and I was finally feeling confident again on the bike. Then, on the first stage of the race I made a mistake resulting in a broken ankle.

I sat down on the side of the course knowing something was wrong and I just started crying – like really ugly crying. I couldn’t believe it. Again? Already?  The rest of my season was over, in a matter of seconds. I was so upset and frustrated with myself and I really dug myself into a hole of self-doubt. I was at home on the couch while everyone else was racing. I felt like I was losing valuable time, fitness and experience.

Bella Naughton racing at USA National Championships
Bella Naughton after breaking her ankle at USA National Championships

I had to reset and remind myself (with the help of others) that everything happens for a reason and there are ways for me to progress as an athlete without being able to ride. If you’re dealing with an injury that is keeping you off the bike, here are some tips I have learned throughout this year that will help you stay motivated and ready for a strong comeback!

  1. Take time to heal. My number one rule! I have to constantly remind myself to be patient and take the time to heal and don’t push it too hard during recovery. Listen to your doctors and don’t risk injuring yourself more. 
  2. Make mini goals for each week. Give yourself small goals to accomplish each week, like: making it a point to stretch more, doing more yoga, or promising your dog an extra long walk! 
  3. Focus on healthy habits. Don’t let your injury drag you down! Even if you’re not training like you used to, wake up early and get ready for the day. Keep eating well, your body needs nutrients to heal! I’ve been learning new recipes, my personal favorites are from my teammate Crystal Anthony’s healthy recipes. Trust me when I say they are soooo good! 
  4. Don’t stress. Try not to stress over the things you can’t control. Make it a point to instead focus on what you are grateful for (maybe even start a journal and write them down).  
  5. Confide in people you trust. Talk with family, friends, coaches and teammates about how you’re feeling, don’t keep it in. 
  6. Plan for the future. Write down your goals for when you are healed and are able to start riding again. Having achievable goals to look forward to can help give you a light at the end of the injury tunnel. 
  7. When you get back to riding, start slow. Once you’re able to get back to riding and racing, take baby steps in gaining confidence. Follow friends or teammates off jumps, drops or technical sections. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t back at 100% overnight, it takes time!