A Running Injury Cost Me My Identity (My 2 Big Lessons)
Fun fact, although I'm more into strength and weightlifting now, from 2006 to 2010 I was a runner.
A pretty good one too.
I was part of my local running club, as well as running as part of the county team for cross country.
Finished most 10k's (over some peak district hills) sub 40 min. And in my first year at uni, I remember hitting a 4 minute 30s mile on the same track where Roger Bannister ran the first-ever sub-4-minute mile.
If anyone asked about me, chances are the first thing I told them was that I was a runner - it was a huge part of my identity.
Then comes winter 2010.
I've had a few niggles in my shins and ankles, but I want to keep training so I do what every athlete does and ignore them (real smart)
Until one day, despite literally running in snow and ice, my shins and ankles felt like they were BURNING. It was bad, and as I limped my way home I knew I'd F-ked up.
Turns out my shin splints had turned into full-blown stress fractures. And I was told not to run (and even avoid too much walking) for about 6 months.
No more local club, no more athletics or cross-country clubs.
For all intents and purposes, I was no longer a runner, and I hated it.
So what did I take away from the experience? What were my 2 big lessons?
1) I learnt that you have to PROACTIVELY work to prevent injuries before they occur.
> Track and monitor your training loads > Perform strength work to strengthen key muscles > Plan in recovery sessions > Pay attention to muscle balance and tightness
These are all things that I do with my clients today so that they can continue to perform without getting injured. (And as always, if that's something you're interested in - you can book a quick chat with me here)
2) Fundamentally, though, I learnt that you shouldn't attach your identity to your sport, because if you can no longer do it, you're in for a world of existential trouble.
You're more than your sport.
You've got family, friends, hobbies and interests.
And if you can keep things in perspective, you'll be a much happier athlete and a much happier person. . Til Next Time Alex
MSc Strength & Conditioning Tutor/Educator for British Weightlifting