The last 8 months have been a roller coaster ride both physically and emotionally due to an injury most likely brought on by imbalances stemming from a broken toe way back in November of 2009. I think one of the most common questions people ask me is how I stay motivated while injured? People who know me will remember that I pushed through 8 years of training and chasing my dreams while limping around with injury. So, motivation could be my middle name.
I know that my mind goes through some different phases of where to find motivation during a lay off. A little bit of anger at the situation can definitely help with getting out the door for cross training or rehab but I’ve learned not to let that linger for too long. What I’ve found works best for me is to simply stay positive and optimistic about the future. I certainly had my share of meltdowns wondering how much longer it would take before things would turn around, but I always pull myself up and just refocus on the work that needs to get done.
Sometimes I want to stay far away from any of the news on all the running sites and sometimes I feed off of them for a little extra push. Other days I’ll need to do some extra cleaning or organizing around the apartment to take my mind off of things. But being injured does not by any means equal more time on your hands. If anything it’s way more work than being healthy. It means more driving around to the different treatment and pt sites. Scheduling your day around when those appointments are and when and where to cross train twice a day and do all the rehab strength work. Of course all of this is not free and is just another stress while you watch race after race come and go on the calendar. But, I signed up for this sport and have accepted that this is what comes along with it.
While I’m working through an injury I do often feel really good inside. I know that I’ve already hit rock bottom and that I’m only getting stronger. Finding imbalances and correcting them only to be even better when I’m back out there racing can be incredibly uplifting. I also know that mentally I’m going to be even hungrier than ever once I’m back. What it really comes down to is just finding the positives when you’re handed a crappy situation. Finding and applying the mental strength that I’ve gained as a distance runner has been a huge factor in getting through the rough patches.
Believing in yourself is of course crucial but knowing that there are people in your life that also believe in you is another major motivator. My loyal support system of sponsors, trainers and sports therapists, coach, family, friends, high school athletes, co-workers, and my State College community, are always there when times are really tough, making giving up pretty darn selfish.
“Mind is everything. Muscle-pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.” – Paavo Nurmi