Whether you are injured or just burnt out sometimes you need a break from working out. After the denial, grieving and accepting the down time there are an array of other questions that pop up.
Am I going to get fat?
Will I lose fitness?
Will I be bored?
The answer to those questions is NO, as long as you have the right attitude! When your mind, body and soul are used to the physical demands required to cross that finish line it is hard to take time off. There are so many things that come to mind and those creepy little demons start playing games with our minds. If you can change your attitude and think of your downtime as much deserved rest and a time to see your non running friends, read that book you put down years ago or learn a new skill you will find the strength to be happy through your break from running.
Getting fat, of course you won’t get fat! If you adjust your eating habits to match your activity level you will be fine! Don’t starve yourself but don’t go for that second or third helping that you are used to eating. If you are like me and eat chocolate every day then maybe cut back to a couple of days a week. Satisfy that sweet tooth with a healthy low calorie smoothie! I love to toss in some berries, veggies and a healthy fat like Udo’s Oil. Eat more salads, pick up a new cookbook and learn some new healthy recipes! With the inability to get in the high miles and spend as much time in the gym you will find that you have so much time on your hands! Use that time to explore different styles of cooking! Try to perfect a Pad Thai recipe, create your own curry recipe, pick up a new vegetable and give it a try!
Losing fitness, it will happen. Remember that even though you may lose a little fitness it will also come back quickly if you train safely. Don’t jump right into your old miles, start slow! You don’t want to be injured again! Use your downtime to read some books on how to improve your fitness when you return! If you are in physical therapy ask your therapist if there are ways you can maintain strength. Find a swimming pool and learn how to swim, get a weight belt and do pool running. Be creative! Some injuries require bed rest, that one is tough! If you have access to the internet research videos to improve your form, learn a new workout or drill and find new places to recreate! You may even discover a new trail right around the corner from you! The small amount of fitness loss will not be too bad, look at the amount of rest your muscles will get and how much knowledge you will have in your sport!
You will not be bored! Surround yourself with friends, try a sedentary hobby, read. You will be surprised at how much you can do and learn while injured! Time will slow down and you will notice things you never did before. You may finally get to meet that neighbor or go on that fishing trip you always dreamed of! The best part of trying new things is that you will learn a lot and you will return to your sport feeling rejuvenated and ready to get back at it! Sometimes you may even find that you want to focus on a new sport and that is okay! Use your down time to learn about who you really are and what really makes you happy! Maybe even plan a vacation!
Most of all don’t be grumpy. Be truly happy for your friends who are posting pictures of their adventures online. Take the time to call them or have a lunch date to hear about their runs or hikes. Vicariously live through their adventures! It is okay to be a bit sad that you can’t play too but do not be jealous and know that you will be back at it soon enough! Injuries are a true test of patience and can show your true colors. Positive thinking not only makes your downtime more enjoyable but it speeds up the healing process and will keep your friends and family by your side. Nobody wants to be treated poorly and being injured is never a hall pass for being mean.
If you have a friend who is injured make it a point to stay in touch! Understand they are grieving and be patient with them. Remind your friend that they will be okay and that they need to stay positive! You never know when you will be injured and will need a friend to talk to.
Most of all remember that you will be okay and most people experience an injury at some point. You are not alone! You can grieve for a bit but remember to smile! My friend Carolyn saved me this fall when I was having a rough patch during my trip. She had me write down 5 things that were good in my life. It was really hard to change my mindset but as I wrote down each good thing I began to smile more and more and was soon back to my old happy self! I suggest you start your downtime by doing the same. Each week write down 5 new things to be happy for. Feel free to contact me if you need some help dealing with your injury! firstname.lastname@example.org or www.kristinafolcik.com I have 3 more weeks of downtime for my concussion and I am going to spend that time to learn how to master recovering from injury with a smile! I will share my experience through my blog! Happy healing!!! :)