I didn’t need the current reminder to jot together a few thoughts on this, but now is as good a time as ever. Over the years I’ve been involved in lots of sports. I’ve had the pleasure and pain of playing rugby against future professionals, paddled along coastlines on the other side of the globe, toed the elite start line of the London marathon and pulled on a Welsh team cyclo-cross Jersey. This sporting journey has created fantastic memories, established lifelong friendships and given me experiences I could never have envisaged. But 38 years of sport – I started as a 6 year old – has at times taken its toll and if you’re an active person there is a cast iron inevitability of being injured at some point.
So if you find yourself laid up and start climbing the walls/crying in your beer (often both at the same time), here are my tips for wrestling control of your recovery out of the darker corners of your mind and back into your own hands.
- It’s not forever – Rare is the injury that lasts forever. If the recovery time is 2, 4 , 6 weeks or more, so be it – listen to the advice of medical staff and seasoned fellow riders. You’ll be back soon.
- Find a diversion – Doing an activity that you rarely have time to pursue is an excellent way to recuperate. Whether walking, reading, indulging in photography, painting, cooking, whatever – it’s all good diverting stuff.
- Laying future plans – Few things in life keep us more focussed than a goal. It might be to complete a race, smash a time trial PB, complete some cycle touring, beat your mate up a hill, ride off-road across Wales in a day (oops that’s mine). Name it. Plan it. Date it.
- See your cycling buddies – Don’t shy away from the cycling scene just because you can’t ride. Bring in the environment will help you return to it all the quicker.
- Exercise gently – Push physicians for an indication of when you can exercise, then start back softly. Nothing picks you up more than progress.
- Learn from the experience – What could you do differently? Are there lessons to be learned? If this injury was avoidable or has happened before, reflect on the circumstances that led up to it. A tweak in technique, kit or approach may prevent a repeat.
Being injured is no fun whatsoever, but it does afford the time to take sit back, take stock and lay some decent groundwork for a considered recovery.
Enjoy your riding.