How to Deal with Cycling Injuries
with KATHRIN WALTHER
Injuries happen in sports, be it through an accident or because you may have overdone things – sooner or later every one of us will encounter a health problem of sorts. It happens to the best. How you deal with it will largely determine the healing process, the outcome, and future prevention of getting further diverted from your track.
What matters most in performance training is the ability to execute and absorb stimuli, consistently, efficiently, and injury free in order to experience a healthy and long-lasting growth of your skills and fitness. In order to achieve this, the athlete needs to develop the ability to self-regulate and high levels of self-control. In most cases, injuries occur due to lack of awareness or control. At the same time, suffering an injury provides very good hints toward where these self-regulative properties still need development! If you deal with it in the right way, a setback can turn into your biggest teacher.
I suffered a severe injury that resulted in five surgeries due to a traffic accident, which taught me tremendous amounts about sports and life in general. I turned it into my biggest teacher and advantage. Yet, there are certain points to consider when going through the process of healing and adaption.
Karma is a B*tch
Behind every injury or illness, there lies a cause. Sometimes the cause seems out of your control and appears to be solely “bad luck”, other times – most often – it happens due to an imbalance in your system of operandi. It might have been a case of not being disciplined, experienced, or self-confident enough to listen to your body. You might have neglected your nutrition or you might have opted for that final sprint in a fatigued state, even though there was a little niggle in your calf. Or you had a fight with your spouse and approached the session with too much aggression. Whatever it is, there is a cause, and this cause is here to teach you something. It wants you to evolve, and thus provides you with an “individual healing anchor”: your unique opportunity to turn into a stronger, wiser, more efficient, and empathetic champion person and sports performer.
Become the B*tch and Screw Karma
Once you have come to terms with the fact that something is indeed broken, and you went through a natural progression of emotional response – be it rage, disappointment, attack-mode, or the like – it is time to get focused, analytical, and positive. Just because you can’t exercise at the moment doesn’t mean you won’t be making progress in the big picture! Think for yourself what your “individual healing anchor” is, the one thing that will propel you forward and make you even stronger! Take a piece of paper and write down your weaknesses or what you would like to improve now that you have the opportunity. Think it through and be creative. Leave it for a few days, and think again. Do you perhaps want to educate yourself on healthier ways of eating or are the issues with your spouse screaming for a solution? Whatever it is, there is ALWAYS an opportunity for growth. Even in accidents that are not your fault, there lies tremendous potential. This is a fact. The main aim of every knocked system is to regain a state of homeostasis, whilst making you more resilient on the way. Unlocking these individual processes holistically, motivationally and emotionally, holds tremendous potential to speed up recovery and results in unimaginable ways. The body, mind, and spirit together make a self-healing MACHINE!
Create your Timeline
Now it’s time to get specific. Inform yourself very well about positive and innovative ways of rehabilitating your injury, and inform yourself even more about your actual end goal. This is the process of connecting your heart to your brain. I am a firm believer that the mind is significantly stronger than any medical data or statistics, so I do encourage you to be brave in this regard. Work it out, visualize, think and feel it through. It should be your aim to fully believe in the cause and grasp its inherent logic and meaning for you as an individual, even though you might not be able to comprehend every step on the way just yet. I encourage you to work with your very own intuitive and abstract perception and understanding of aesthetics. Your body is more intelligent than your doctor. And as you gain momentum, you will realize that proving doctors wrong can be an enjoyable sport on its own.
It is about setting a clear intention and leveraging a timeline of action in order to develop more self-confidence and thus confirm that you are in fact getting what you want. Breaking things down and setting small goals to uphold focus and fuel motivation is paramount at this stage.
Team Work Makes the Dream Work!
Actively asking for quality help will be one of the most important aspects of your healing journey, and also one of the most interesting ones! I worked with some serious experts in my recovery journey and was probably better staffed than Usain Bolt in the end. This not only fundamentally eliminated my false ego, but also broadened my horizon on the topic of sports, performance, and healing immensely. Plus it makes the whole thing fun. Your timeline becomes alive and you will be held accountable and on your toes in order to keep progressing. Don’t be shy when it comes to asking a top expert in the field that might otherwise only treat serious sports professionals or the like. I can guarantee that if your fire and motivation are authentic and big enough, it will spark over to your therapist as well. If your healthcare team isn't getting you where you think you need to be during the healing process, speak up! You are the best advocate for your own healing journey.
Capitalize on Your Post-Traumatic Performance Wave!
Having successfully overcome a setback will naturally go hand in hand with a higher level of experience, self-awareness, self-regulation, mental toughness, motivation, overall resilience, and thus control to execute in unfavorable conditions. It is like a super-compensation on a systemic level. You have overcome what others haven’t overcome. Now is your time to strike back and show them – and yourself (!) – what you’ve got! Be proud of yourself and enjoy that inner knowing, calmness, and glow of having achieved not only physical or mental improvements against all odds but above all, some invaluable personal gains on a holistic, multi-dimensional level. It’s your time to appreciate and shine now.
Kathrin is a professional triathlete who competes in long-distance triathlons around the world! Learn more about Kathrin HERE. Or, get more information on how to prepare and train for your next (or first!) triathlon HERE!